In the quest for the heaviest metal in the universe, it might not occur to most folks to look to France, which is known more for heavy foods than heavy music. But it would be unwise to ignore Gojira, the Bayonne-based quartet that packs more monstrous mass per minute into its stateside debut than any element in the periodic table. By blending melodic, prog, death and half a dozen other metals into a stinky, steaming alloy, the four-piece renders all subgenres meaningless, creating its own fiery brand of extreme metal and delivering one epic pummeling after another. Fans of Mastodon, ISIS and Neurosis will find plenty to love in this leviathan's ambitious sonic palette, thunderous presence and time-shifting grooves. You'll have to forgive Gojira's D&D fantasies (revealed in song titles like "Unicorn" and "Where Dragons Dwell") and the fact that its name is the Japanese moniker for Godzilla. After all, even the mighty Zep had its Tolkien-esque moments -- and still swung the hammer of the gods.


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