On their seventh album, French prog-metal stars GOJIRA take a very different lyrical tack than the one they explored on their previous album, Magma. “There was a lot of pain and grief attached to that album, from the whole experience of losing my mom back in 2015,” vocalist and guitarist Joe Duplantier tells Apple Music. “With Fortitude, we had the desire to fill the album with more joy, even if it doesn’t come across as joyful music.” With its themes of civil disobedience and environmental awareness, Fortitude takes Magma’s inward gaze and turns it outwards. “Magma was very personal and intimate,” Duplantier offers. “Fortitude is more oriented toward the world and politics.”Below, he comments on each song. “Born for One Thing” “This is about facing the fear of death. At a certain age, there’s a consciousness in all of us, a clock ticking—a countdown to the great unknown. It’s a reflection based on some books I read when I was younger about Buddhism and these philosophies that teach how to be at peace with oneself and meditate on the essence of being. That’s something we’re losing a little bit in society. Instead, we worry about the things that we want to hold on to in case the world goes to shit.” “Amazonia” “The intro and outro riff sound very much like Sepultura’s ‘Roots Bloody Roots’. We don’t hide from the fact that we are huge Sepultura fans—our first show was mainly Sepultura covers, believe it or not. They’re a Brazilian band originally, and they also were working at raising awareness about the Indigenous cause. So the proceeds from this song are going to launch Operation Amazonia, as we call it, where we’re going to ask our musician friends to donate instruments for an auction. The money will go to an NGO based in Brazil called APIB—it’s the largest Indigenous-owned NGO—to support the Indigenous peoples and protect the rainforest from big corporations.” “Another World” “We wrote this song in one day, whereas some of the others on the album took three years. The lyrics come from a feeling that the world is completely screwed, so I feel sometimes that I want another world. The video we made for it is supposed to be ironic and funny—four dudes that play in a metal band build a rocket together and travel through a wormhole to the future. It’s sort of a funny remake of Planet of the Apes. But the animation was so well-done and classy that it somehow lost a little bit of the humour that was intended.” “Hold On” “It’s one of the last songs I wrote for this album, and I was struggling to come up with lyrics. I had already written about things that really matter to me, like civil disobedience and the Amazon. But I really loved the music for this, so I absolutely wanted it on the album. At some point, I was really depressed and about to give up and I decided to just fucking let it out. I was feeling overwhelmed by life, and I had this vision that life is like an ocean and we need to hold on to something because waves are crashing on us. Then it started to flow and I found my voice for this song.” “New Found” “For this, I had the title before doing the lyrics. But the main thing I wanted to talk about in the song is finding the thing that gives a new meaning to your entire life. Having kids is a big one. When you understand something about yourself deeply and think, ‘Okay, this is who I am,’ you get to know yourself a little better.” “Fortitude” “Fortitude is the underlying idea throughout the whole album. It’s a mantra. It’s something that is addressing the universe and the stars and the planets when I sing, and maybe an alien consciousness or whatever there is up or down there—spirits, guides. It’s like a prayer. It's the thing that sums up the entire album, but very personal. The more you’re honest with yourself, with your heart, the more people are going to feel it.” “The Chant” “This is a leap from the metal songs to a weird, Indigenous type of rock song. There’s a change of tonality also. The beginning of the album is a G, and then towards the end it’s a C. As the intro to this song, ‘Fortitude’ is something that orients your ear towards another field of notes, so it’s preparing the brain to make room. When ‘The Chant’ hits, it feels two times harder and stronger than it would be if it was directly after another song. It’s a mantra with an intention of unification through peace and strength, something that the human race needs a lot.” “Sphinx” “There’s a lot of our roots as a death metal band coming through here, and a little bit of a Metallica vibe at the beginning with the build-up on the toms. So it sounds old-school but also modern, because we have these intricate things with the whammy and all that stuff. Lyrically, I’m very fascinated by the Sphinx. Some Egyptologists say that the Sphinx is actually pre-Egyptian, that it’s much older than we think and was maybe built by a different civilisation. So I wrote a song about how the Sphinx is witnessing the rise and maybe the fall of our civilisation, and it’s surviving us all.” “Into the Storm” “This is about civil disobedience, a subject that is very dear to my heart. If you're a good citizen and you believe in communities and in people, you have to disobey sometimes. We have to bend the rules because some of the rules are ridiculous and unfair. We are creating the rules and laws of this world, not the other way around. Of course, I'm not calling people for a riot or whatever. What I'm saying is that it's important to question things and to realise that it's not because society is telling you to do something that you should necessarily do that.” “The Trails” “It’s like a blurry dream—a poem with soothing music. We always have this toward the end of our albums, because we can’t help but experiment. I could easily do a side project or a solo career to express some of the stuff that is not metal, but I choose to focus on the band and turn GOJIRA into a weird beast that has several faces. I think ‘The Trails’ is a more subtle side of us, but it’s actually very technical. It’s maybe the hardest song to play on guitar on the entire album, but it’s also the calmest.” “Grind” “Of course, we love to grind. I don’t know if there’s anything better in this world than playing a riff with a drummer, just grinding it. Lyric-wise, I’m talking about transcending ourselves and overcoming our problems. We have the power. We can change things. We can bend laws. We can break walls. But we also have our routines—wake up, wash the dishes, go to work, make money. You have to surrender to that clockwork grind in order to find freedom. So do your dishes, motherfucker. You’ll suffer less tomorrow.”

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