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Voivod - Voivod CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.10 | 69 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars After two full-length studio albums with a truncated lineup, Voivod returns in mighty form with the reinstatement of original vocalist Snake and weighty addition of Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica), who has long championed this Canadian cult. The music continues in the vein of 1993's 'The Outer Limits', the final album with Snake before his departure. The sound is now beefed up a few notches thanks to Newsted's rumbling bass, making the instrument prominent again in the band's sound for the first time in over 10 years.

'Voivod' is a triumph, in that it pushes the band back on course to continue the natural evolution that was derailed in 1994. Songs remain rock-based, moreso than their earlier thrash and tech-metal efforts, but the progressive mindset is there, as always. Piggy's guitars come uncannily close in tone and chord voicings to 'The Outer Limits'. But the revitalized rhythm section pushing the momentum forward with a semi-chaotic ferocity is the key element that brings a smile to the face of any longtime fan, even moreso than the return of Snake at the mic.

Opener "Gasmask Revival" embodies the energy and pride of this refreshed lineup, a song similar to 'Angel Rat's "Panorama". But the most welcome tunes are the more eclectic ones, with "Divine Sun" sounding very much in the 'Angel Rat' vein with its shimmering psychedelic rhythms and Snake's introspective touch. "Facing Up" is another high point, offering a sobering reading of the state of the world given serious gravity with a mid-paced groove, melting into a crescendo of frantic paces. One of the best moments on the album comes at 2:33, where Piggy's open chords offer a wonderful cyclic melody, with Snake singing the bridge ("Too many problems of science involved...") in phrasings reminiscent of the 'Nothingface' era. "Blame Us" is similar to "Facing Up" in pace and vibe, evolving into a gorgeous ending sequence of psychedelic gloom. Moments of "I Don't Wanna Wake Up" are inspiring, going from the sensitive opening to choppy dissonant rhythms and awesome chord choices from Piggy. "Reactor" and "Rebel Robot" are balancers, offering a more crushing attack than anywhere else on the album...fear, chaos, anger, paranoia and environmental questions coming back into the band's realm of concerns.

The production is magnificent, every musician's character given greater life thanks to the clear and punchy recording. It's Snake who would've benefited from less presence in the mix, his voice spiking out way too far, covering up the music and doing no favors to a voice that is an acquired taste to most (even I, a diehard fan, have a hard time listening to his wailing on "We Carry On"). But for a continuation of the true Voivod evolution, this is one hell of a start. Further, the hidden "song" (according to drummer Away they call it "California") hints at the experimentation Voivod are currently promising for album #11, due in early 2006. Bring it on.

slipperman | 4/5 |


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