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Voivod - Negatron CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

2.43 | 76 ratings

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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 His monotone robotic voice is a nice attempt to capture Snake's trademark vibe, but it's quite clear the master has been replaced by a mere apprentice.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.

slipperman | 2/5 |


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