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Voivod - Phobos CD (album) cover

PHOBOS

Voivod

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

2.95 | 41 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars One big song?

My first encounter with the band, Phobos is a very strange album in a lot of ways. It is very much progressive in a lot of senses. It uses long compositions with strange timings and most of the album is a seeming concept of monstrous proportions. Not to mention they cover a prog classic right at the end of the disc.

Unfortunately, all of the promising points on this album are ultimately let down by a couple of things. The repetition of theme and (sometimes well used) spacey sound effects makes for an album that sounds almost like one incredibly long and drawn out song. The screaming vocals are also not likely to be everyone's cup of tea, especially people more into classic prog.

This is not to say that the album has no redeeming features. Indeed, the previously mentioned spacey effects sometimes give off a very Hawkwind feel as though the band is trying to make an extreme prog crossover into Space rock. There are also a couple of very good tracks on the album, the title track (PHOBOS) being one of them. It's quick and chunky riffs soar through the drums and well brought off vocals (even for people who might need some getting used to the extreme vocal style) to make this track very much worth listening to. The opener RISE is also a standout, this one being one of the few tracks that doesn't get eaten by the Wall of Sound effect that kicks in right about the time the third track ends.

Seemingly divided into two pieces just by the use of text on the back cover, the tracks between the bookending CATALEPSY tracks all seem to fall into one big epic, with the other two tracks beyond it being their own entity. As a whole the seeming epic doesn't really work that well, unfortunately. The wall of sound soon takes over and it's not long until you're simply trying to make sense out of a barrage of heavy metal. However, its very fortunate that they tacked those last two tracks on the end. Sounding nothing like anything else on the album M-BODY is a welcome and quirky abrupt stop to the same-ity that is the rest of the album. A welcome standout as is the cover of King Crimson's 21ST CENTURY SCHIZOID MAN. Though the cover would never be able to compare to the original version, the band succeeds well in adding their own spin on the track and giving it an even darker and even more evil feel (would that have been deemed possible before this record?). Beware, though, the jazzy insanity of Giles, Fripp and co is very much absent as Voivod replaces just about everything with heavy metal guitars to play the parts. Good if you like that kind of thing.

Perhaps not the best way to start with the band I'll still buy Nothingface if I ever happen to find it in stores (although I never seem to be able to and I freaking live in Canada - where they're from!) as the good points on the album definitely show potential. But in general - this is a pretty weak disc with a couple good songs that gets 2 stars ultimately. Enjoyable by fans and metal heads... but best avoided by the average progger.

PS - Is it just me or was the cover a twisted recreation of King Crimson's In The Court Of The Crimson King? Or am I crazy?

Queen By-Tor | 2/5 |

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