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Voivod - Negatron CD (album) cover

NEGATRON

Voivod

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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1 stars after Snake left the band Voivod decided to play heavier more industrial and Negatron is fine proof of lack of desire to play. new frontman Eric Forrest is simply annoying trying to yell like the Snake did on first Voivod albums, but that new guy has no power in his voice and has no charisma. the best song on the album is Nanoman which would be very good with the other singer the rest is simple poor, very poor and annoying, what happened to my Voivod?
Report this review (#33892)
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
slipperman
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Here's where Voivod's fascinating evolution went slightly off track. Having gone from muddy apocalyptic nuclear black thrash to adventurous progmetal sci-fi brightness over a string of 7 amazing albums, the modern aggro-churn of 'Negatron' seems like not only a poor step back, but it feels like a legendary band slumming. Shifts in direction are par for the course with this band, and you could expect this would happen when vocalist Snake left after 'The Outer Limits', leaving only original members Michel "Away" Langevin and Denis "Piggy" D'amour to carry on the Voivod name, but something just doesn't feel right here.

I have to admit a huge admiration for Piggy's work on this album. He carves out yet another intriguing facet of his style on what is the most aggressive album they'd offered since 1987's groundbreaking 'Killing Technology'. His alien chords and cold tone certainly leave you with no doubt as to what band you're listening to, but unfortunately the rhythms feel a little stiff and the clicky bass-drum sounds are horrible. The biggest disappointment, however, is the vocal approach of new member Eric Forrest (also bassist, the band opting to continue as a trio). Sounding like a fish out of water, his aggressive tone doesn't convince. His monotone robotic voice is a nice attempt to capture Snake's trademark vibe, but it's quite clear the master has been replaced by a mere apprentice.

There are certainly worthwhile moments on this album. It's hard to dislike the huge open spaces created on the intro of "Nanoman". "Bio-TV" is appropriately spacey, exuding the slower, more hypnotic energy that follow-up album 'Phobos' would offer 2 years later. Highlight here is easily "Cosmic Conspiracy", a sprawling journey with some satisfying spacey tones and signature drum work from the always consistent Away. But again, Forrest's vocals sound like an affectation. It wasn't really surprising to find out he wasn't a huge fan of the band before he joined. You can hear that he doesn't quite understand what's going on here. (In all fairness, I think his performance on the next album was worthy, and he certainly carried his own weight in the live setting.)

Many of these songs are forgettable at worst, interchangeable at best. I've listened this album quite a bit, because there are bits and pieces worth the effort, but I still can't distinguish "Project X" from "Planet Hell", and I really don't have any feeling for "Meteor", "Insect" or "Reality?". Things are not helped with the tacked-on final track "D.N.A. (Don't No Anything)", which sees the band collaborating with Foetus man Jim Thirlwell. It's an excursion into industrial music, an unlistenable mess that would've been better relegated to a B-side or rarities album.

As of this writing, Voivod have released 10 studio albums. This one, their eighth, is the only one I cannot highly recommend, but it does have enough redeeming moments to save it from being a complete waste of time. The band were definitely hit by two key original members leaving in the 3 or 4 years previous to its creation, and they would eventually rebound brilliantly, so call this one of those uncomfortable "transitional" albums, and go for 'Phobos', 'Nothingface' or 'Angel Rat' instead.

Report this review (#33893)
Posted Monday, March 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Negatron is, with Phobos, a gorgeous speed/thrash album. But probably other VoiVod fans prefer to listen to Angel rat or Nothingface, that are still very good albums but have defeat on power. With Eric Forrest in my opinion the band has moved into the real VoiVod power, without any remorse and the result is a full dark sound album like a blade in the flesh. VoiVod has made great albums since the beginning, there is not one of them that is bad for me, but the early destroying sound of Roaaar and War and Pain has only two valid technologic sequels: Negatron and Phobos! VoiVod fans, I suggest You to buy this album and listen to it for many many many times, cause its sound is not simple (that is the reason why VoiVod is great, cause the sound is original like no other metal bands). Great!!!
Report this review (#47526)
Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Negatron" is the 8th full-length studio album by Canadian progressive/thrash metal act Voivod. The album was released in December 1995 by Mausoleum Records. Lead vocalist Snake left the band after "The Outer Limits (1993)" and as original bassist Blacky had left the band a couple of years earlier (the bass on "The Outer Limits" was handled by session member Pierre St. Jean), Voivod recruited Eric Forrest, who would handle both the lead vocals and the bass playing on "Negatron", making Voivod a three-piece for a while.

Eric Forrest is more of the angry shouting type frontman as opposed to Snake who had a more melodic and punk influenced style and as the music has also taken on a more aggressive thrashy direction the sound on "Negatron" is a far cry from the more progressive/alternative sound of the last couple of albums. There´s a "back to the roots" vibe on the album, but ultimately "Negatron" doesn´t really sound like the early thrash metal releases by the band either. "Negatron" features elements from quite a few music styles including thrash metal, groove metal, industrial metal, alternative metal and some progressive leanings too.

The 11 tracks, 57:24 minutes long album starts out really strong with the opening trio of songs: "Insects", "Project X" and "Nanoman". The latter being the melodic highlight of the album and one of the only times Voivod sound slightly like they did on the last couple of albums. But from there the tracks become harder and harder to tell apart and remember. It´s not that the rest of the tracks are of poor quality or anything like that and listened to one by one they are actually quite enjoyable and powerful material, but as a whole they don´t stand out enough from each other). The closing track "D.N.A (Don't No Anything)" is not easily forgot though and that´s not in a positive way. On that track Voivod goes all the way into industrial territory and fall flat on their face in the process. It´s not a good way to end an otherwise decent album and I find that I have more fond memories of "Negatron" when I simply stop the album before "D.N.A (Don't No Anything)" and imagine that "Drift" is the last track on the album.

I guess my review came out a bit more negative than I had intended, because I actually enjoy "Negatron" quite a bit, it´s just overall a release with very few highlights, one awful track and a too long playing time. It´s grown on me over time and I enjoy the album much more these days than back when it was originally released but I still can´t give it more than a 3 - 3.5 star rating.

Report this review (#146872)
Posted Thursday, October 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
1 stars Second's Out. I never would have thought that the departure of vocalist 'Snake' would have had such an impact on Voivod's sound. The style change after 'Blacky's earlier departure on Outer Limits was a lot smaller actually. But maybe the personal changes weren't a decisive factor at all, maybe Negatron was the trajectory that guitar mastermind 'Piggy' wanted to steer Voivod into anyway. It's a direction that would take Voivod back to their thrash beginnings, entirely forsaking melody and their grown progressive standing.

There's absolutely nothing here that reminds us of the stellar, multidimensional music that Voivod had written before. Negatron is a mechanical sounding death metal-inspired thrash album that has a lot of power but that is completely devoid of interesting riffs and melodies. The vocals are gruff and tuneless throughout and will surely be repelling to everybody that is not into some or other form of extreme metal.

But it's not the change of style as such that disappoints me; it's the uninspired song writing and the low quality execution. This is generic metal fluff with a faint Voivod after-taste, a hint of what this band used to be capable of that is frustrating rather then appealing. In fact, to me this sounds like Pantera on a bad hair day. A Voivod release that is better avoided.

Report this review (#265056)
Posted Tuesday, February 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars After several line-up changes, Voivod continued as a trio and explored a completely new territory. From a warmer and progressive rock sound, they went to a cold and industrial sound which is very uneasy to listen to. Heavily shredding and dissonant guitars, heavy weight drums sounding like thunder and an aggressively roaring base guitar create the new musical universe of Voivod. The more physical and technical the creature Voivod becomes in the lyrics and stories, the more industrial and artificial becomes the sound of the band. Alongside with this comes the voice of the new singer E-Force which is more shrieking, more aggressive and more desperate than the voice of their previous and actual singer Snake. I would say that the voice of E-Force fits perfectly to the new sound of Voivod and he is doing and appropriate job.

All those changes are very interesting and innovating but the fact that pulls this album down is that is very uneasy to listen to. It is very depressive, very intense, but it is always repeating itself and after some really good songs in the beginning, it gets annoying and dumb to listen the whole time to this heavy and weird stuff. The listener needs a little break, a little change of style, a little time to breathe or think, but Voivod don't show any mercy or pity and continue always in the same style. The album slowly pulls you under in a parallel universe or even directly in hell , literally and musically.

Songs like "Cosmic Conspiracy" have many breaks, are very strange and they only grow on you after you have listened to them at least several times. Some songs like the very dumb "Planet Hell" or "Project X" are even more strange and difficult to listen to and I don't get an approach to them. That is really frustrating, because I've spent a lot of time on those songs and listened to them carefully.

The highlights of this album are the straight and fresh sounding opener "Insect" which introduces you directly to the new universe of Voivod, the atmospheric and epic title track "Negatron" and "Nanoman". This last song is somehow the "hit" of the album, he is very straight, very diversified and has a very simple, but intense chorus and an amazing guitar solo. I got directly addicted to this song and it is without any doubt one of my favourite ones of the band.

In the end of the album, there are sadly some filler songs that are really just disturbing, annoying and dumb. With a few breaks and one or two easier songs, this could have been an even more diversified album, but as it is today, this album finds rarely its way in my radio or music centre. With their next effort "Phobos" Voivod had corrected their mistakes and created a really disturbing masterpiece while this album was their first try, the experimentation towards a new kind of sound and universe.

Sure, there is a lot to discover here, but it's really heavy and weird stuff that you can't listen to very often.

Originally published on www.metal-archives.com on October 6th of the year 2010.

Report this review (#383279)
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'Negatron' - Voivod (4/10)

For whatever reason, there came a point in Voivod's career where everything went to hell. up until 'The Outer Limits', Voivod were releasing album after album of classic, engaging, and even groundbreaking material, turning the thrash metal world on its side with a spacey, forward-thinking approach. Sadly, Voivod's vocalist Snake Belanger leaves after an impressive tenure with the band, and in comes his replacement, Eric Forrest. Not to mention that Voivod is just a three-piece at this point, the band has all but split up for all intents and purposes. What is left is a hollow shell of a band that once created some of the best albums metal has ever seen. Although the band would eventually pick themselves back up with Snake's return, 'Negatron' and its follow-up 'Phobos' represent the darkest period of Voivod's career.

AWhile band members have changed, so has the style. The music here would be completely unrecognizable from Voivod's signature prog-thrash sound, were it not for Piggy's distinct style of playing. Incidentally, Piggy's dissonant edge is the best thing about 'Negatron'. As for the rest, Voivod has gone down a fairly lo-fi avenue, throwing away their growing sense of melody in exchange for aggression and noise. In a sense, it is quite like Voivod's two earliest albums, but as all 'back-to-roots' albums usually end up, it doesn't possess the same power. Eric Forrest's contributions are the biggest disappointment. Although some of his vocals manage to get a strong aggression across, he usually sounds like he is trying to scream parts that should have been sung by Snake. Perhaps this is just a fan's bias, but the music feels the loss.

'Negatron' is a darker album than much Voivod work, and that does work to its benefit. I think that the style they chose to go in here is not inherently bad, but the uninspiring songwriting and lackluster ideas lead the album down a path to mediocrity that is best left forgotten by Voivod and their fans.

Report this review (#623722)
Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2012 | Review Permalink
Tapfret
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team
1 stars In my review of Voivod's The Outer Limits I equated the big sell on the packaging to seeing an ex and running off to the sack for a romping revisit to the glory days that ultimately was a little different, but satisfying. Well, as it turns out, I was drunk, and went to bed with The Outer Limits, but then I woke up with Negatron. Now, before I get beat up too much for my analytical objectification of what you are correctly assuming is the analogy of a female, be aware that I am self-delegating an appropriate punishment. Yes, I am actually getting drunk and climbing back into bed with Negatron, again. This time I am looking her in the eye. And you know what? This was a terrible idea.

First off, lets do just that, look Negatron right in the eye. By the eye, I mean the cover. See that robo-ant. Even the ant has no idea what's going on. That robo-ant (it occurs to me, that robo-ant *is* Negatron) with its shizzlebytes of memory and espialagogahertz of processing power is still oblivious. Seriously, look closely at the attached picture of the cover. He is absolutely doing this guy:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

And what is more metal than an "I-dunno-shrug robo-ant"?...oooooh, wait! I just got it! I dunno=Negative response=Negatron.

Well, its entirely possible Negatron the robo-ant doesn't know what is going on because he is receiving his verbal instructions from new Bassist/Vocalist Eric Forrest. Now here is a guy with some big shoes to fill. Both Denis "Snake" Belanger and Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault replaced by a single robo-ant confusion specialist. With his two screaming volumes of "on" and "more on", he is impossible to understand at times, and impossible to not understand the rest of the time. Mostly, he's just impossible.
The sci-fi approach so familiar to our favorite Canadian cyber-punk-punk-metallers is obviously there. Negatron the I- dunno-shrug robo-ant is not just sexy, he's sci-fi, and he is metal. That much we can re-assure him of. Its how he's drawn.What we can't reassure him of is that anything about the music conveys the sci-fi theme. It is 90% straight forward metal. There are moments of Denis d'Amour's sinister dissonance, but it misses the mark on pushing the sci-fi agenda. Any lyrics from emo, to black metal, to gangsta rap to country and western-tear-in-the-beerisms could be thrown in, it would make just as much sense. Other confusion ensues with the drum recording. Through much of the album it sounds like the drum track was lifted straight from the master tapes of Metallica's ...And Justice For All. Bass drums are not supposed to go "click-a-click-a-clickity-click". Oh outrageous fortune! Is this the harbinger of the band's eventual attempt of fixing everything by adding Jason Newstead 5 years later?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It is hard to understand how things went so wrong, so quickly. The session bass player on The Outer Limits was proficient and didn't degrade the the presentation at all. Its unfathomable that Denis "Snake" Belanger was such an important force in the character of the band, but it is the only variable outside of the producers and studio. Whatever the case, what occurred on Negatron applies some perspective on Angel Rat, another of my least favorite Voivod albums. There was at least an understandable logical progression to that point. Negatron is like a Star Trek transporter accident. The matter is just randomly scattered on arrival. It earns the coveted 1 star. And I've earned 600mg of ibuprofen.

Report this review (#1696174)
Posted Thursday, February 23, 2017 | Review Permalink

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