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Voivod - The Outer Limits CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.15 | 129 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars One original member less, and a slight ratcheting down from their previous four albums, 'The Outer Limits' still deserves acclaim as yet another trip into superb sci-fi prog-metal. The most immediate difference from predecessor 'Angel Rat' is the bright production. Cavernous, tech-y and full of echo, where 'Angel Rat' is compressed, dark and focused, the sonic difference between these two is quite literally night and day. Away's drums are a little too click-y on the toms and bass-drums, a hallmark of bad '80s metal productions and a hangover into the '90s in this case. But Piggy's shimmering guitar sounds benefit greatly from the production (credited to Mark S. Berry.who?). His use of open chords and upper-neck chord-inventions reaches a peak on this album and, as on 'Nothingface', he takes center-stage on many of these tracks.

The wide variety of approaches heard on 'Angel Rat' continues here, with straight- forward drivers ("Fix My Heart", "Wrong-Way Street"), gloomy numbers ("Le Pont Noir"), a 17-minute epic ("Jack Luminous") and tech-y cyber-metal ("The Lost Machine", "Time Warp"). While leagues different than 'Nothingface', there are some similarities: the cold technical pulses of "The Lost Machine" and "Time Warp" recall what many fans probably expected the album after 'Nothingface' to sound like. And the similarity does not end there, as we get another Pink Floyd cover, this time with the obscure "The Nile Song" (from Floyd's 'More' soundtrack). I've never warmed up to this version, it plods along despite the beautiful sonic canvas it's laid out on, and it doesn't reach any kind of climactic point. On the plus side, we get theatrical tale-telling in "Le Pont Noir", led by one of Snake's most dramatic vocal performances. And Voivod gives fans what they wanted all along, a long, sprawling, progrock-inspired epic, all 17 minutes of "Jack Luminous" traveling through the cosmos with a wide dynamic span. Total success. And, from a band that offered some of most warped chords and time- signatures ever heard, we now get an exercise in minimalism with "Wrong-Way Street", with one prominent, upbeat bassline pumping along for 99% of the song's 3:50 duration. I wonder if it was an intentional 180-degree turn away from exhausting previous track "Jack Luminous"?

Remaining songs "We Are Not Alone" and "Moonbeam Rider" aren't filler, each works its own special magic to give the album that much more depth, but they're not highlights either. The absence of bassist Blacky can be felt immediately. There's no remarkable bass presence on this album, the performance and tone being fairly nondescript (done by session member Pierre St-Jean). I suppose Piggy had his hands full, but it seems like he could've/should've performed the bass tracks.

While it's not their final album, 'The Outer Limits' finalizes the natural and uninterrupted growth of Voivod, completing the most fascinating evolutionary string of metalworks since Black Sabbath's '70s output.

slipperman | 4/5 |


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