Review and photos by Keith Perks
France’s Gojira has come stateside once again and brought its unmatched metal sound to the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg, Pa., on Oct. 25.
I shot the band at Knotfest 2019 in Scranton for the first time and that’s when I truly fell in love with its sound. It’s huge. The band’s stage presence and performances are just as big in size, and I was wondering how that would translate to a smaller theater setting compared to the large stage of an amphitheater. Well… Gojira, along with openers Alien Weaponry and Knocked Loose, damn near left the Sherman in shambles. We all left hot, sweaty and tired after the pummeling.
Alien Weaponry are a band to watch out for. To me, the band is similar to Sepultura with their tribal beats and rhythmic guitars. The group is a “Te Reo” metal band from New Zealand. Many of the songs it performs are in the members’ native language Te Reo Maori.
The band’s debut album, “Tū,” has brought it significant worldwide acclaim and is considered to be one of the best young metal bands out there. Its new album, “Tangaroa,” is elevating the band to the next level of metal dominance.
For only three guys, they destroyed that stage and they gained many new fans that night, including me.
Knocked Loose, a hardcore punk band from Kentucky, hit the stage next with its trademark energy and intensity. Bryan Garris, the band’s singer, prowled back and forth screaming his distinct and recognizable vocals while the band performed its blend of metalcore and hardcore punk, similar to Comeback Kid with some Slayer and Code Orange thrown in the mix. They’re sort of tough to categorize, but what you get is an earful of slow-tempo breakdowns and crushingly thrashy guitars and machine gun-like drums.
The band’s new album, “A Tear in the Fabric of Life,” was released recently and is one of its heaviest albums to date. The band is known for being uncompromising and challenging, and each song it performed that night was the equivalent of being in a car crash. I’m not aware of what the band was jacked up on during its set, but I want some of it.
Headliners Gojira brought a third and final beating to the almost sold- out venue and its set with “Born for One Thing” from its new, highly anticipated seventh studio album, “Fortitude.” This album has been getting tons of great reviews from all over the world, setting the band up to be a fresh new face of metal. The precision in which this group plays is amazing. I’m a fan of each of their skills, but as a hobbyist drummer myself, I pay great attention to the drummer Mario, who publicist Amy Sciarretto of Atom Splitter refers to as “Mariojira.” They are each part monster and part robot. They must be, based on the way they perform, full of monstrous sound and technicality.
Their set weaved in and out of the band’s catalog of albums, giving fans many favorites, such as “Flying Whales,” “Hold On,” “Grind,” “Silver” and “L’enfant Sauvage.”
They closed out the night with not just one encore song, but four. “Amazonia,” “Toxic Garbage Island,” “The Chant” and “Vacuity” were killer songs to end the night.
As a photographer and also a fan, I count myself extremely lucky to have been at this concert. Not only is the music of great importance to the metal scene, so is the band’s message of humanity and our environment.
Fortitude is what we all need right now, both musically and internally.