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Gojira’s Joe Duplantier: My 10 Favorite Metal Albums

Guitarist-songwriter on classics including Machine Head’s ‘Burn My Eyes’ and Metallica’s ‘Ride the Lightning’

Gojira's Joe Duplantier: My 10 Favorite Metal Albums

Gojira frontman Joe Duplantier picks his 10 favorite metal albums, which include Machine Head's 'Burn My Eyes' and Metallica's 'Ride the Lightning.'

Andrew Benge/Getty

For more than two decades, Gojira have explored new ways of sounding heavy. The metal group, which hails originally from Bayonne, France, has experimented with death metal, prog and the sort of loose, powerful grooves that became popular in the Nineties on records by Metallica, Pantera and Sepultura.

They sprung onto the radar of U.S. metal fans in 2005 with their heady, ecologically themed epic From Mars to Sirius – which ranked among Rolling Stone‘s recently published list of the 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time – and slowly built a following through gigs opening for Metallica and Slayer. Their latest, last year’s Magma, subsequently made it to Number 24 on the Billboard chart and Number 10 in their native France.

Since Gojira have become successful while representing a diverse palette of influences, we reached out to the band’s frontman, Joe Duplantier, for a list of his 10 favorite metal albums to get his perspective on the genre. Here’s what he emailed us, in alphabetical order, with a few words from him on each pick.

Death, ‘Human’ (1991)

Human was recorded before the whole ProTools era, and you can actually hear the performance of the musicians on the recording. This album reinvented the rules of death metal – it pushed the boundaries and brought modern metal to a new level at the time. 

Death, 'Symbolic' (1995)

Death, ‘Symbolic’ (1995)

This is a masterpiece. The first time I heard this album, it was on a tape that a friend of mine re-recorded from a CD. The compression of the tape made it sound so unreal and intriguing. I became addicted very quickly, and started to discover Death’s previous releases. These songs totally helped shape my phrasing both lyrically and rhythmically. Chuck Schuldiner is a god that I worship every day.  

Machine Head, ‘Burn My Eyes’ (1994)

Machine Head brought their own feel to the scene with Burn My Eyes. I remember being totally blown away by the guitar sound and every single harmonic-infused riff on this record. They showed everyone how it’s done. 

Mastodon, ‘Emperor of Sand’ (2017)

I am simply addicted to this album right now. The four of them are real musicians, and super talented songwriters. This is a new era of metal, rooted in good old rock & roll. These guys are already legends.

Metallica, ‘Master of Puppets’ (1986)

This album to me is the definition of what metal is. It has perfect songwriting and perfect sound, and it’s the perfect length. 

Metallica, ‘Ride the Lightning’ (1984)

This is the album that got me into metal and the album that got me through high school. “Fade to Black” was the first song I learned to play on guitar, and it brought me from classical piano to heavy-metal guitar.

Morbid Angel, 'Domination' (1995)

Morbid Angel, ‘Domination’ (1995)

This album would be the closest to our sound when we started as a band. The guitars sound like they’re underwater, chanting anthems from another dimension.  

Rage Against the Machine, ‘Rage Against the Machine’ (1992)

This one should be self-explanatory. Rage basically created a new league with this album. These guys came out of nowhere with a sound unique to them and them alone. It’s the most brilliant example of fusion within genres. The lyrics were powerful, and politically engaging. This album has truly stood the test of time, and will continue to do so forever.

Sepultura, ‘Chaos A.D.’ (1993)

To me, this was the beginning of a new wave of sound. I think this album gave birth to the whole nu-metal scene. [Producer and mixer] Andy Wallace absolutely nailed the mix. Our first gig in ’96 was 70 percent Sepultura covers.

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