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VOIVOD

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • Canada


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Voivod biography
Formed in Jonquière, Quebec, Canada in 1982 - Still active as of 2018

VOIVOD formed in 1982 as a fairly straitforward metal band, favoring the British Metal end of the spectrum. After a few years their sound took a major turn to the progressive side, incorporating futuristic imagery and unified concepts for albums. Two of the four founding members (bassist Jean-Yves Theriault and vocalist Denis Belanger) left Voivod in the early 90s; the band continued as a trio in the late 1990s with new member Eric Forrest handling both vocals and bass guitar. Forrest was badly injured in a car accident in Germany in 1998, and Voivod briefly disbanded in 2001 before Belanger returned to the band. Since the death in 2005 of Denis D'Amour (guitars), the current incarnation features two of the four founding members: Denis Belanger (vocals), and Michel Langevin (drums) along with Jason Newsted (of Flotsam and Jetsam and Metallica) on bass guitar. They rank alongside DREAM THEATER as pioneers in the development of progressive metal in the 80s, but tend to favor a heavier and more sparse musical style more akin to QUEENSRYCHE. Keyboards (or any other instruments besides vocals, guitars, drums, and bass) are almost non-existent in the music.

Their first truly progressive album was "Killing Technology" (1987), followed by "Dimension: Hatross" (1988) which is often considered their most innovative work. "Nothingface" (1989) continued on the science fiction theme, and featured a cover version of PINK FLOYD's "Astronomy Domine" (They also covered PINK FLOYD's "The Nile Song" on their 1993 release "The Outer Limits"). "Angel Rat" (1991) is also well-regarded in progressive metal circles. They continue to record and tour, and have been seen on the Ozzfest roster a few times.

If you like your music heavy, dark, and cold with a pronounced sci-fi flavor, VOIVOD is essential. They are worth checking out for the PINK FLOYD cover songs alone.

James Lee, USA

VOIVOD Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy VOIVOD Music


The WakeThe Wake
Century Media 2018
$13.59
$12.23 (used)
RrroooaaarrrRrroooaaarrr
Noise Records 2017
$13.77
$16.06 (used)
NegatronNegatron
Linus Entertainment 2005
$11.09
$13.25 (used)
NothingFaceNothingFace
Universal 2018
$16.37
Outer LimitsOuter Limits
Universal 2018
$12.46
$12.69 (used)
War & PainWar & Pain
Metal Blade Records 2018
$11.54
$14.62 (used)
Angel RatAngel Rat
Universal 2018
$9.95
$12.34 (used)
Dimension Hatröss (Deluxe Expanded Edition) (2CD/1DVD)Dimension Hatröss (Deluxe Expanded Edition) (2CD/1DVD)
Noise Records 2017
$18.55
$26.37 (used)
Killing Technology (Deluxe Expanded Edition)(2CD/1DVD)Killing Technology (Deluxe Expanded Edition)(2CD/1DVD)
Noise Records 2017
$19.97
PhobosPhobos
Linus Entertainment 2005
$11.35
$13.25 (used)
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VOIVOD discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

VOIVOD top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.04 | 84 ratings
War And Pain
1984
2.58 | 78 ratings
RRROOOAAARRR!!!
1986
4.05 | 153 ratings
Killing Technology
1987
4.26 | 193 ratings
Dimension Hatross
1988
4.26 | 284 ratings
Nothingface
1989
3.83 | 137 ratings
Angel Rat
1991
4.16 | 140 ratings
The Outer Limits
1993
2.40 | 65 ratings
Negatron
1995
3.04 | 64 ratings
Phobos
1997
3.09 | 64 ratings
Voivod
2003
3.11 | 66 ratings
Katorz
2006
3.16 | 52 ratings
Infini
2009
3.89 | 89 ratings
Target Earth
2013
3.94 | 65 ratings
The Wake
2018

VOIVOD Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.17 | 17 ratings
Voivod Lives
2000
3.29 | 12 ratings
Warriors of Ice
2011
3.80 | 5 ratings
Live At Roadburn 2011
2012

VOIVOD Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.49 | 16 ratings
D-V-O-D-1
2005
4.25 | 4 ratings
Tatsumaki - Voivod Japan 2008
2009

VOIVOD Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.44 | 10 ratings
The Best of Voivod
1992
2.11 | 17 ratings
Kronik
1998
4.20 | 5 ratings
To The Death 84
2011
4.50 | 2 ratings
Build Your Weapons (The Very Best of The Noise Years 1986-1988)
2017

VOIVOD Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 4 ratings
Anachronism
1983
4.00 | 3 ratings
To The Death
1984
3.33 | 3 ratings
Morgöth Invasion
1984
4.20 | 5 ratings
Thrashing Rage
1986
4.50 | 6 ratings
Cockroaches
1987
5.00 | 2 ratings
Astronomy Domine
1989
5.00 | 2 ratings
Into My Hypercube
1989
4.67 | 3 ratings
The Lost Machine
1993
5.00 | 2 ratings
Fix My Heart
1993
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Nile Song
1994
4.33 | 3 ratings
Nanoman
1996
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live at MusiquePlus
2000
4.00 | 2 ratings
Voivod
2002
3.00 | 1 ratings
We Carry On
2003
4.00 | 2 ratings
Mechanical Mind
2012
4.00 | 2 ratings
Kluskap O' Kom
2013
4.50 | 2 ratings
Forever Mountain / Phonetics for the Stupefied (with Napalm Death)
2015
4.29 | 7 ratings
We Are Connected
2015
4.50 | 2 ratings
Fall / Gospel Of The Horns (with Entombed A.D.)
2016
3.63 | 18 ratings
Post Society
2016
4.50 | 2 ratings
Silver Machine
2017

VOIVOD Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Wake by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.94 | 65 ratings

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The Wake
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars Like any great band that has been around for well over three decades, Quebec's best progressive thrash metal export VOIVOD has gone through its own ups, downs and serious changes ever since they emerged in 1982 out of the frigid northern Canadian city of Jonquière. Haven taken the metal world by storm in the late 80s with their unique blend of dissonant progressive punk laden thrash that forged a new strain of sci-fi based metal with classics like "Killing Technology," "Dimension Hatröss" and "Nothingface," VOIVOD created its own distinctive style that has literally slinked by through the decades with no other band even coming close to emulating. VOIVOD in effect created their own mini-universe that found the perfect mix of dissonant King Crimson inspired guitar riffs and Pink Floyd inspired psychedelia dished out in an unduly Motörhead meets Venom belligerence all the while wrapped up in conceptual tales of cyborgs and futuristic dystopia. In effect, VOIVOD was and remains one of a kind despite all the trials and tribulations of weathering a multi-decade career. And well into the 21st century is back with the much anticipated 14th studio THE WAKE. The cryogenic slumber is over.

While VOIVOD's history includes the usual melange of music biz woes such as members coming and going throughout the years, perhaps no blow was as devastating as losing one of the founding members whose signature sound literally defined the band from a mere pluck of a power chord. Denis D'Amour or better known as Piggy practically trademarked VOIVOD's anarchic and experimental thrash metal idiosyncrasies more than any other members so when he succumbed to colon cancer in 2005 at the tender age of 45 years, it was indubitably a painful time for the band and easily could've spelled the ultimate end of the road for this classic unparalleled metal band. However instead of making any rash decisions during the mourning process, founding members Michel Langevin (Away) and Denis Bélanger (Snake) took some time to honor the memory of their fallen guitar hero with a couple albums of material that had already been written with guitar parts already recorded by Piggy and waited to see how it all played out. Two albums, "Katorz" and "Infini" found posthumous releases of Piggy's guitar playing which the band recorded as a tribute to Piggy's legacy but in order to sally forth into the next chapter, a new guitarist was essential. How could a band continue when their signature member was no more?

With Piggy's art-metal riffage as his primary driving force to become a guitarist and musical innovator, fellow Quebecker Daniel Mongrain (now Chewy) of Trois-Rivière luckily grew up as one of VOIVOD's most rabid fans and early on learned how to play the band's entire canon of music. Having become the seasoned tech metal guitarist in blistering bands such as Martyr, Gorguts and Capharnaum as well as boasting a degree in jazz-interpretation from the University of Montreal, Mongrain proved to be the perfect gift from the gods to give VOIVOD the chance to fill the unfillable shoes of the great Piggy. While armed with that secondary degree in VOIVOD-ology, Mongrain, um Chewy that is, was also the band's biggest fan and in a respectful fashion forged the perfect marriage of marrying Piggy's legacy with the next chapter that would propel VOIVOD into the 21st century. While his debut performance with the band began with "Target Earth," he wasn't exactly given free reign yet to unleash his magic. After that album's lackluster performance, the members agreed that something needed to change to make this transition gestate to the next level and what better way to honor the great Piggy's legacy than to honor the period that most suited him, namely the progressive thrash era of the late 80s that found their most successful album "Nothingface" catapulting VOIVOD onto the world's stage.

The new VOIVOD was born in 2016 with founding members Snake and Away at the helm and Daniel Mongrain, now Chewy in charge of the future direction of the guitar. Along for the ride was newbie bassist Dominque Laroche who was christened as the fledgling Rocky and together this new incarnation recorded and released the EP "Post Society" which was an advertisement of VOIVOD's long lost return to progressive form with thundering dissonant guitar riffs that would make Piggy proud, chugging interstellar beats, progressive meanderings into time signature rich frenzies that all conspire to take post-punk detours into psychedelic dreams and of course Snake's distinct, now classic vocal rampage through the technically infused thrash metal domain. With unprecedented almost unanimous praise, the lauded EP begat the next phase of VOIVOD's triumphant return to form. Two years later we arrive at the magnificence of what is called THE WAKE, which in the footsteps of "Post Society" successfully takes the progressively fueled sci- fi journey back into the cosmos and dishes out VOIVOD's best album since 1989's "Nothingface." A whopping 36 years after their humble inception, VOIVOD are back on top of their game!

Right from the first sound effects of "Obsolete Beings" that breaks into a galloping wallop of thrash dissonance, it's clear that VOIVOD have crafted a winner with THE WAKE. With the classic elements all having fallen into place, the band build upon their progressive thrash phase with more adventurous compositions, more daring ventures into quieter moments and even the unthinkable terrain of classically inspired orchestral moments with six guest musicians adding touches on violins, viola, cello, extra percussion and even bones! However don't be mistaken for a minute that VOIVOD has mellowed out. These extra touches provide atmospheric touches above and beyond the psychedelia and thrash outbursts that dominate THE WAKE. Don't forget that "Nothingface" contained many riffs that were inspired by Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite Of Spring." Likewise THE WAKE implements classical and jazz techniques that supplement the main metal framing and are secondary to the majestic classic VOIVOD sound that has become so utterly irresistible. Each track is unique and utterly anthemic in that the eight compositions highlight the classic sound while evolving it into a whole new reality.

With their musical chops brought up to date, VOIVOD also relaunch their sci-fi fueled lyrical fantasy world with tracks like "The End Of Dormancy" narrating the tale of an underwater alien craft that is resuscitated after millions of years of dormancy and once reconstituted immediately begins to destroy the entire human race. The musical accompaniment is in sublime tandem with the lyrical output as the segments highlight the emotional response and one progressive unit segues into the next. It's hard to come up with a standout track because the fact is that ALL of the tracks stand out as each is intricately crafted to carry the maximum amount of variations allowed by law. Never before has VOIVOD generated so many disparate ideas and musical elements into their works. THE WAKE is by far their most progressively infused offering to date and easily surpasses their best works of the 80s in terms of complexity and adventurous ambitiousness. In fact, THE WAKE is like the soundtrack to a sci-fi battle where the music itself narrates the dramatic exchange of fire with the lyrics merely defining the context.

While every track is unique and tells the tale of this VOIVOD inspired apocalyptic multiverse, the highlight is saved until the end where the multifarious "Sonic Mycelium" provides a progressive jazz metal reprise of the entire album's creative stampede with one incessant curveball after another. In an age when classic metal bands are entering their multi-decade existence, very rarely does a band match the creative prowess of the heyday especially after the loss of the prime move and shaker that made them stand out in the first place, but VOIVOD has crafted the unthinkable late game masterpiece that is actually more creative, more dynamic and more labyrinthine than any other album of their career including their previous peak of progressiveness of three decades prior. It seems that VOIVOD have been given the gift of a perfect chemistry of the cast members as this album is utterly flawless. The chemistry of the musicians is absolutely divine and the band interplay is impeccable. THE WAKE is a multi-faceted masterpiece. It not only has the hooks to sink deep into your skin upon the very first listen but has the chops to allow the listener to burrow ever deeper on subsequent listens to decipher the unfathomable trenches for exploration. So profound is THE WAKE that i do believe this is my unquestionable best metal album of 2018!

 The Wake by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.94 | 65 ratings

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The Wake
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by khonepius

5 stars "As soon as I started listening to 'The Wake' by Voivod, I was enthralled. They have created a multiverse of musical ideas both lyrically and sonically. 'The Wake' is the fourteenth studio album for the band and first full-length release with bassist Dominique Laroche ('Rocky'). Rocky and guitarist Daniel Mongrain ('Chewy') planted the seeds for the new music which germinated under the combine forces of vocalist Denis B'langer ('Snake') and drummer Michel Langevin ('Away').

'The Wake' tells the story of the demise of the human race at the hands of a terrible force unleashed from under the seas. The story swirls with lysergic intensity like such classics as 'Naked Lunch', 'War of the Worlds', and '1984'. Reality is questioned in a chaotic maelstrom shaped upon a sonic canvas that only Voivod can create. Snake's lyrics provide a vast palate for your imagination to run wild.

What makes 'The Wake' a masterpiece is the beautiful cinematic weave of music throughout the album. Each song creates a scene which fade in and out of each act to move the story forward. The story begins with 'Obsolete Beings'. The swirling miasma intro breaks into a looping gallop of drums and bass with chunky guitars and elegant arpeggios. Soon we hear one of many wonderful guitar solos by Chewy. He makes his guitar sing with lyrical beauty. The ethereal break near the end of the song changes up the timing as Snake croons 'Is there some use for mankind?'

The military cadence of 'The End of Dormancy' presents the catalyst of the story of 'The Wake'. The bass tone is menacing as it affixes to the drums creating dramatic tension. This song showcases the brilliant mix on the album. All instruments are clear and present. The special effects of acoustic guitars sprayed into the front of the mix provides a dash of color. The final splashing gong ends the scene before 'Orb Confusion'.

Voivod - REVIEW: VOIVOD - "The Wake"

While the album is a concept in total, you can pull apart each song to enjoy on their own. One standout song is 'Iconspiracy'. The opening of the song features chunky metallic riffs before upending the song in the middle with a sharp staccato riff accented with a string section. This phrase accelerates into a shredding guitar solo that is hammered home by the frantic pulse of drum and bass. The final encore of 'Sonic Mycelium' encapsulates all the phenomenal musical subthemes that constitute The Wake within a single song. Just as the word mycelium evokes the definition of 'more than one' and imagery of a complex web of interconnected life, so does this song. This isn't simply a re-hash of prior parts of the album, but a complete restructuring. The joy and elegance of this tune shines with the Floydian chords from 'Always Moving' giving way to a majestic string ensemble. Put this album on repeat and enjoy the rest of the year listening to the genius of Voivod.

'The Wake' by Voivod is musical perfection of the highest order. On this record, the band has created a cinematic progressive metal masterpiece which yields a twisting tale of mankind's demise. Few bands have spent their entire careers ingeniously creating art that is as compelling and provocative as Voivod. 'The Wake' stands at the top of an impressive catalog of musical endeavors that will intrigue new and old fans until we vanish beneath the seas." (Chuck Marshall.Metalwani.com)

 Nothingface by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.26 | 284 ratings

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Nothingface
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars Farewell, thrash my love... for I now am progressive: 9/10

Beginning with the simplicity of speed metal, the Canadian band VOIVOD developed a lot through its musical journey, being able to output something as complex as NOTHINGFACE. It is certainly less abrasive than its predecessor, DIMENSION HATR'SS, yet, simultaneously, harbors a much more technical style. This happens because NOTHINGFACE is more equally balanced on its progressive and thrash metal proportions, differently than its predecessor which visibly weighs to the latter's side.

In fact, this is VOIVOD's most significant release for the fact it demarked the band's entrance into progressive metal properly. Easily observable materialistically: fluid shifts of time signatures and intricate rhythms permeate the album; experimentative usage of dissonant chord progressions - which have always been the band's watermark - is intensified; a crystallization of VOIVOD's unique storytelling, coupling it with unusual song structures; there is even a track influenced by the Igor Stravinsky's THE RITE OF SPRING. Technicality? Check. Experimentation? Check. Unconventional song structures? Check. Classical influence? Check. Objectively, NOTHINGFACE is progressive.

Departing from this satirical "objectivity" analysis and going to more subjective waters, I'd say that VOIVOD in certain aspects reminds me of MEGADETH. Both initiated their trajectory as speedy and abrasive bands; both developed - especially on a technical level - astoundingly and were important enough to be part of a "Big Four"; both have two magnum opuses (PEACE SELLS/RUST IN PEACE and DIMENSION HATR'SS/NOTHINGFACE) where the first is rawer whereas the second is more polished and widely revered as superior, and both bands kick ass like hell. I consider both bands' first magnum opus better (I like their crude aggression). Both vocalists have pretty similar timbres but, unlike Mustaine, Denis B'langer actually knows how to sing (not like this makes him better, I love Mustaine's sloppy and ducky vocals) and in many moments seems to mimic the American thrasher. Both second magnum opuses offer legendary and catchy riffs but, unlike MEGADETH, VOIVOD's have an absolutely lackluster amount of solos and when they happen are weak (it sounds like alternative metal at best, Denis. Where's DIMENSION HATR'SS' shredding and spectacular harmonic pinching?).

Aside from the scarce amount of solos, another complaint I found whilst listening to NOTHINGFACE is that, in a certain way, the songs sound a little too similar. I think the issue lies in melody because rhythmically/structurally/lyrically they are individually unique and easily distinguishable from each other.

But hell even this wasn't enough to prevent me from headbanging vigorously to NOTHINGFACE's several anthems like I didn't do in a long, long time. If you're looking for quality, slightly eccentric, technically impressive (impressive, not mind blogging) and mildly extreme metal, look no further. NOTHINGFACE, which lies in the frontier between progressive and thrash, will suffice to appease your thirst - and make you headbang like a nut.

 Killing Technology by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1987
4.05 | 153 ratings

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Killing Technology
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The elixir that Voivod concocted in the late eighties might be rejected by some for being distasteful, too caustic, too alkali to swallow. For others, however, Voivod's three releases between 1987 and '89 are an intoxicating brew. Hailing from Quebec, a bastion of progressive music in the seventies, and being fans of hardcore punk and heavy metal, Voivod created their own unique sound in heavy metal. While bands were becoming darker, heavier, faster, more technical or more polished and slick, Voivod smartly sat upon their own vision of sound and dropped "Killing Technology" in 1987, a very surprising follow up to their speed/trash sophomore album, "RRROOOAAARRR".

From the first song, the title track, the band flies right in the face of metal expectations with a high-toned, garage band guitar sound and speedy riffing that resembles a chicken clucking. Though there are heavy chords and passages to be found on the album, guitarist Piggy (Denis D'Amour RIP) often chooses to go for a higher-tone guitar sound rather than blast us away with doom and thunder. Given that much of the song themes are about science fiction, this metallic sound sits very well. In fact much of the music is easier to imagine being played inside a cramped and unkempt, scavener/pirate type space vessel than seeing the band perform back here on the good green earth.

Denis "Snake" Bélanger delivers the vocals of a hardcore punk singer in a speed metal environment but there's a human side that is screaming through the mechanical environment of the ship's interior pictured on the cover. He packs such energy in his delivery and simultaneously infuses that human punk theatric in his barks and bellows. I really find his vocal work entertaining.

The song lyrics often sound like a B-grade sci-fi movie. I guess it can't be helped as the band members are all francophones and doing their best to write songs in English. But then again, maybe that B-grade sci-fi impression is what they were going for. It does give the album a charm and appeal.

One of the incredible things about this album though is the prog element. When I heard this in 1987, I had no idea about progressive rock. I knew only metal. But these songs were doing so many things differently and some of the weird chord changes, time signatures, tempo changes and what not captured my attention even if I didn't understand it. It sure doesn't sound like what you'd normally expect when you think of prog metal from the eighties or from any time for that matter. Voivod are unique to be sure.

I love the bass! Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault always gets his bass feature on at least two songs during this period of Voivod's career and you can hear it abruptly jump in on "Tornado" and "This Is Not An Exercise" and open "Overreaction". The drumming is overproduced and the production unpolished, but again it works to the benefit of the atmosphere.

Favourite songs of mine are "Order of the Blackguards", "This Is Not An Exercise", the title track, "Ravenous Medicine", and "Forgotten In Space", each of which have something in them I love to hear even 30 years later. The vocals, the themes, the outlandish guitar chords and riffs, the bass, the drumming, they all make this a memorable album for me. I'd personally rank this a full five stars but it's true that not all the songs are out-and-out winners and so I'll temper my excitement and give it four.

 D-V-O-D-1 by VOIVOD album cover DVD/Video, 2005
3.49 | 16 ratings

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D-V-O-D-1
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tapfret
Special Collaborator Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team

3 stars This DVD is a pretty typical retrospective compilation of concert footage and music videos. It has a little good, a little bad, and a lot of nostalgia. Released approximately 2 months after guitarist Denis d'Amour lost his battle to cancer in 2005, it is comprised primarily of material from the band's progmetal pinnacle 1987-1991. There are a couple of purely thrash era videos, but the focus era is clear.

The good (I suppose this is the nostalgia part as well): As already stated, the target era is what most prog fans of the band consider the sweet spot. The largest single section of live material features 4 songs from Nothingface performed live at Montreal's Musique Plus. Oddly enough, the cover of Astronomy Domine, though the music video is featured later. Five additional of full songs from three other concert clips are featured. It gives an excellent cross section of the bands evolution from thrash band to scifi progmetal pioneers. Also included are six music videos with three included sets of footage from the video shoots and recording sessions. One of the included music videos is Psychic Vacuum from Dimension Hatross. Prior to seeing this DVD I was unaware of its existence. A very surprising MTV era video due to its extreme dissonance.

The bad: A sadly predictable drawback of the era featured is the technology used in the live recording. At the time Voivod was not a big budget act. It is unfortunately reflected in the quality of the sound. The weird part is the DVD has a 5.1 mix. If they did clean the sound up, I shudder at the thought of the source quality. In all fairness, most of us around that time were lucky to even have stereo sound coming from our TV's, so little would be noticed if these were recorded on the most cutting edge equipment of the day. The other aspect is the videos are themselves a bit campy when the music does such a fine job of imagery creation in its own right.

As a Voivod fan, I consider this an essential retrospect. Even for someone who is a progmetal history aficionado DVOD-1 would be an good addition to a video collection. For everyone else, its probably not a good starting point for Voivod's work due to the lacking sound quality. Fun nonetheless. So legitimately, good, but not essential. 3 stars.

 Phobos by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.04 | 64 ratings

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Phobos
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tapfret
Special Collaborator Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team

3 stars "I just picked up Phobos, its just like Negatron!"
"Thanks for the warning."
"What do you mean by that?"
"..."

Despite the warning, something made me go ahead and purchase it from the $3 used rack. This was after the abomination that was Negatron, knowing that the line-up had not changed. Well, I'll be honest. The key selling point was the 21st Century Schizoid Man cover. Having heard them cover 2 Pink Floyd tracks that I didnt really care all that much for as originals, I figured the chance of hearing what Piggy could do with a true prog anthem was worth the $3. I was not disappointed.

I cannot put my finger on it. Either it was the overall music structure that made Eric Forrest's vocals more tolerable on Phobos, or perhaps he settled in and chemistry improved. Pound for pound, his vocals are really no different. There appears to be a slightly different approach to recording him than on Negatron. That is, he appears to be mixed thin. Most of the time he sounds like he is singing through a transistor radio. And...it works! Consider communication on any moon in our solar system, such as is Phobos. Likely to be radio communication, right?

Where Negatron was just an amorphis, chunky pile of metal, Phobos actually moves in different directions in an allusory manner. And the ubiquitous sci-fi themes now have symbiosis with the music. The recording lacks clarity for sure, but it is largely made up for by the interesting song structures and ominous textures. And the drums no longer have the clicky bass.

Finally, we arrive at the coup de grace, the cover of 21st Century Schizoid Man . I have heard complaints that Voivod does nothing innovative with the song. Well, sometimes you just play the song, you play it well, and that is enough. And Voivod does, very well. Not a streamlined, watered-down radio edit. They rock it. And if that was ever a time that Eric Forrest's vocals shined, it was on this cover. This is an album that I rather enjoy. I understand that it does not carry the sound quality that would keep many listeners happy, and while I find Eric Forrest's voice to work much better with this album, it would likely still annoy others to no end. Therefore, 3 stars. Good, but if you think it sucks, I understand.

 Negatron by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1995
2.40 | 65 ratings

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Negatron
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by 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.

 The Outer Limits by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.16 | 140 ratings

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The Outer Limits
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tapfret
Special Collaborator Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team

4 stars Following the lackluster descent to Angel Rat from the twin crowns of Dimension Hatross and Nothingface, there was, in this writers opinion, nowhere to go but up. The sci-fi-prog-punk-space-metal band from Quebec had seemingly gone to great lengths to "normalize". There was now a shift to recapture there stellar form. Still without a full-time bassist, and now without all-world producer Terry Brown, they seemed to have their work cutout for themselves.

The first time I picked up this album at the record store shortly after its release, I was dubious. I had been so disappointed with Angel Rat I didn't see how the band would redeem themselves. The first impression was amusement at the 50's era b-movie poster cover art and logo, then intrigue when I noticed the sticker on the outside wrapper that said "3d glasses inside". Ok, this fish noticed the bait, could they set the hook? That's when I turned the CD over. I read to my buddy standing next to me.
"Hey, Jeff?"
"Yeah?"
"Jack Luminous, 17 minutes..."
Hook set. I mean really, to the 23 year-old self-assured seasoned progger a 17 minute song was a slam dunk, right? Well, whatever the case, the joy was back with Voivod. The Joyvod if you please. It was like seeing an ex out in public and seeing how amazing they are doing and suddenly wanting her again. And I got her home and undressed her and it was amazing...I mean...uh...I got the CD home and unwrapped it. The package was as advertised. Cardboard 3d glasses and a 3d drawing for each song. Drummer Micheal Langevin, as routine provides the art. And the music...well...

That's where you start to realize why you broke up with your ex in the first place. The opener, Fix My Heart, had a moment in the intro with a soaring, reverbed out guitar part that set the familiar Voivod space-metal tone. But the substance of the song was very reminiscent of Angel Rat, if a bit more driving.
[Blank stares] "Ugh, I need a beer!"
"I'll come with you"
"Damn, it was too much to ask for them to redeem themselves."
"I guess, so."
"I brought this movie called 'Profondo Rosso', I hear its pretty cool."[Track 2 - 'Moonbeam Rider' starts playing]
"Yeah, lets watch it...actually this sounds ok, lets give the rest of the album a shot"
The album then begins to take a much more progressive, contrasting feel that was lacking on Angel Rat. And Denis d'Amour's reinserts his sinister high register unorthodoxy, albeit still not dissonant as was his earlier trademark. But certainly haunting. Particularly on the quite parts of Le Pont Noir. His verse parts took on a renewed heavy drive, not to the extent of the bands genesis, but in start opposition to the ultra-restrained tone of the previous album.

Voivod appeared to be back, their ubiquitous sci-fi themes in tow. Complete with stories of space travel, alien society saboteurs, media hypnotism, and unseen stalkers. The big hook that was the 17 minute long Jack Luminous was a good piece sound wise, but as it turns out only had the story as the unifying theme. The song actually felt like four different songs with no recall or codas to tie it together. The real gems of the album were the haunting Le Pont Noir and the driving, sinister Lost Machine. Additionally, for the second time in their career they through in a Pink Floyd cover, Nile Song. And once again, not one of my favorite as an original, so I can take it or leave it.

The Outer Limits was a huge improvement over the disappointing Angel Rat, but nowhere near the epic masterpieces that Dimension Hatross and Nothingface were. This is an essential album to my collection, your results may very. I will ere on the 4 star side given the hideous next 15 years or so for the band.

 Angel Rat by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.83 | 137 ratings

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Angel Rat
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tapfret
Special Collaborator Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team

2 stars Continuing through Voivod's discography we suddenly drop off dramatically from the pinnacle of the band's development that was manifested in their masterworks, Dimension Hatross and Nothingface. All the signs were there for a knockout release: An amazing concept album that was matched in quality and intriguing direction shift by it followup which actually saw the band acheive a degree of popularity. Then the band hooks up with producer Terry Brown, who produced the classic era of prog royalty and fellow Canadians, Rush. With continued major label (MCA) backing the stage was set for something secial. But the magic was not to be. Bassist Jean-Yves Thériault left the band prior to the release, which should have been a warning sign

The product ended up being a very bland output. Shorter songs, pedestrian beats, and a sudden shift toward a very generic chord use and song structure. The only growth that was readily noticeable was the most melodic vocal output from Denis Bélanger to date. But it was not enough to prevent a very uninteresting, lackluster album. Voivod's core story-lines of sci-fi and intrigue was still the motif, but the abandonment of the ritualized dissonance and obtuse rhythm changes distanced the music from the story. The entire project came off as an attempt to be more "accessible" to the alternative college radio crowd that had helped the band achieve the degree of popularity seen on Nothingface. If anything positive could be said of the project outside of Snake's melodicism, it was that the recording quality was top- notch. But it was at best only as good as Nothingface, and if it was in some regard better, it was not so much that one would say, "thank god they hired Terry Brown to achieve this amazing quality".

Angel Rat isn't a "bad" album. It just isn't a good album in the context of what might have been for Voivod. And things would flounder as the years went by with ok, to not so ok, to downright bad albums. It would be 22 years before the band would produce anything close to what they accomplished with Dimension Hatross and Nothingface. There are many who hold Angel Rat in very high regard. I am not one of them. 2 stars.

 Nothingface by VOIVOD album cover Studio Album, 1989
4.26 | 284 ratings

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Nothingface
Voivod Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Tapfret
Special Collaborator Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team

5 stars After going full frontal prog with the outstanding concept album Dimension Hatross, Voivod took another opportunity to tweak their game. Keeping up with the sci-fi theme that had served them so well to this point, they would break almost completely from their thrash metal roots. Well, at least the thrash part. The new formula would lead to the widely acclaimed Nothingface, their most popular release and resident of US college radio top 40 charts in late 1989-early 1990.

From the word go it is obvious Voivod had a far better budget for recording. The thrash sound of the 2 previous albums was accompanied by heavy reverb. Nothingface pulled the sound closer to the listener. The thrashy beat speed is evident on the opener, The Unknown Knows, but gives way on the rest album to a very eclectic rhythm library that play more junctional beats to the overlying guitar riffs. Dennis D'amour's guitar playing, while remaining unorthodox and routinely atonal, tends to be more melodic, arpeggiated and exploring broader chord extensions than at any other point in Voivod's discography. Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault maintains his "blower bass" style, but sounds more defined within the recording. Vocally, Denis "Snake" Bélanger continues to bring what I call his "apocalyptic town crier" vocals to the party, this time appearing a bit less monotone than before.

The overall impression remains high energy, but presents a much more sophisticated instrumental interplay than other Voivod material. The highlight for many, otherwise a sidelight to me, is the inclusion of Pink Floyd cover, Astronomy Domine. This was likely the piece that propelled the album to the heretofore unseen mainstream popularity. As I was not a particular fan of the original, I can take it or leave it. That being said, it was cetainly a more than proficient rendition.

Nothingface and its predecessor, Dimension Hatross, will always stand out as game changers in the prog metal scene. And game changers for the band themselves. While so many rising stars from the thrash metal scene were flaming out, Voivod was carving a niche for themselves as true progressive metal originals. Nothingface is the second consecutive (and last) masterpiece for a unique band among their contemporaries. 5 stars, absolutely essential.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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