97. Gojira, 'From Mars to Sirius' (2005)
Gojira emerged in the early 2000s – a time dominated by black-metal purists and emo-metal crossover scenesters – with a guts-meets-brains combo of rock, thrash and death metal. The group was based around brothers Joe Duplantier on vocals and guitar and Mario on drums. The pair drew inspiration from early Sepultura (and its Cavalera brothers), and the band crafted a sound that owed a debt to the sludge and string scraping of later Morbid Angel. Their third album, From Mars to Sirius, also had a message as heavy as its music: "Ocean Planet" and "Flying Whales" address ecology, and sea metaphors and themes of marine-mammal preservation rounded out the band's massive, natural sound. An immediate hit in their native France, the band soon became spokespeople for environmental causes and Joe became the country's first bona fide guitar hero in decades. Their success led Gojira to the world stage: The band has become a frequent stadium opening act for Metallica and cracked the Top 40 of the U.S. albums chart with their recent releases. "I cannot imagine the career of the band without this album," Joe Duplantier told EQPTV of From Mars to Sirius. "It would be science fiction, almost." I.C.