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Voivod - Dimension Hatross  CD (album) cover

DIMENSION HATROSS

Voivod

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.19 | 126 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
4 stars This isn't your dad's thrash metal, or maybe it is but it's nowhere near the norm of what thrash sounded like back in the days when men were men and used dinosaurs as vacuum cleaners and flew by pterodactyl. The influences of space-rock were more than creeping into the band's thrash roots at this point, resulting in one of the most significant metal and progressive releases of 1988. Gone is the throaty hoarse delivery by Denis Belanger (not using his "Snake" nickname at this point), replaced by a somewhat alternative rock vocal that bounces between detached and sneering. Guitar rhythms and melodies are at this point all about tritones, utilizing all six strings in chord progressions as opposed to muted power chords, and there's a fair amount of dissonance that interestingly enough doesn't sound ugly whatsoever. The riffs in abundance here have a sweeping, vast and arching tone, combining a wall of sound approach with strong lush melodies that fit well with the sci-fi themes running rampant in this release. These themes convey futuristic dystopian societies with a little cyberpunk thrown in. Drums and bass provide a strong and absolutely necessary backbone to the music, keeping things aggressive and even furious at times.

The first three tracks are just about flawless in execution with a wide variety of everything that's unique and exceptional about the band. There's a plethora of time signature changes and bizarre chord sequences, but there's also some cool bluesy little solos that pop in here and there to add a bit of coolness to the proceedings. Track 5 is another sheer winner, powerful, monstrous yet inventive, melodic and damn catchy while being very much progressive. Brain Scan starts of brilliantly, but does get a bit goofy at times, although the jazziness of it all is rather appealing in retrospect.

I'll never be able to give this album a perfect score due to a few flaws concerning Denis' vocals on certain tracks. The "WE'RE GOIN' NOWHEEAAAAARRRE" sections of "Technocratic Manipulators" are sung with an incredible whine that rivals Billy Corgan at his most ridiculous. I always found that "Psychic Vacuum" had some intersting ideas but as a whole seemed rather sloppy, and the final 'real' track has that hilarious robot voice blabbing about psychic power that throws me right out of the music's atmosphere. The Batman theme song was tacked on much later by distributors or whatnot, and really has no place in this album, although it's kind of fun in an ipod shuffle or something.

What I like about this album most, and what sets it apart to me, is how successfully the band utilized the studio, limited keyboard effects and enthusiastically odd songwriting to capture such a science fiction resonance while not sacrificing their speed and heaviness. To this day it remains one of those metal albums that's strange enough to appreciate but few have tried to emulate.

Prog Sothoth | 4/5 |

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