without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
This very last album with Piggy on the guitar is one of the most diversified albums of the band and though there are some interesting science-fiction conceptual sound samples which connect the songs, this albums has somehow the mood of a compilation album.
It is a very good compilation album without any doubt. Spacey and weird guitar notes during the highlight "Global warning", diversified changes of styles and interesting elements in "Volcano" or straight rock influences in "Treasure chase", this album has it all. It is maybe the best album for the newbie’s if they want to get introduced to the world of Voivod. There are thrash and punk elements which are connecting to the early works of the band, progressive rock and metal elements which connect to their albums from the end of the eighties and beginning of the nineties, industrial elements and even grunge influences from the mid-nineties and dirty rock and roll influences from the more recent albums.
The only problem is that the album doesn't have its certain own style and uniqueness and there are sadly a few fillers on the album like "Destroy after reading". If you are ready to accept the cut-to-pieces compilation style in regard and honour to the integration of Piggy's final works, you will discover a very easy to listen "best of" from a great band and a final chapter of another big episode in the world of Voivod.
But don't think that this was the last thing the band has to say. I spoke to the members and they want to continue with the new guitar player “Danimal”, they are already trying out some things in the studio and a new chapter may begin.
As I sit here listening to what is likely the last Voivod album ever released, I find it somewhat difficult to be objective. This is the 2nd of the posthumous releases after the death of Denis D'Amour, and again I feel the tug of heartstrings. Piggy was simply one of the most creative and consistent guitar players in the history of metal music. This is a band I have followed through all of its journeys, far more often blown away than offered even a hint of disappointment (well...I had my foibles with Negatron but it's not a bad album per se).
Piggy lives on at least for the 12th studio full-length. Like it's predecessor, Katorz, the album uses original takes that D'Amour recorded before his unfortunate passing. Style-wise, this is familiar territory if you've heard Katorz, the two albums cut from a strikingly similar cloth, though Infini branches out ever so slightly more. A simpler fusion of thrash, punk, and prog metal with Voivod's sci-fi pulp/noir invention intact. Unlike the band's mind-altering classics Dimension Hatross or Nothingface, the recent releases follow basic rock rhythms and riffs. Infini is a little bit more spaced out than 2003's s/t album (where the trend started) musically, and you can hear more elements of albums like Hatross creeping back into the sound (not that they ever really left).
"God Phones" feels like two tracks conjoined, the first a thrashier number picking up where the last number left off, the latter half erupting into punkish Motorhead velocity. Snake is quite good here, he continues to add a gritty gravitas to his voice which works wonders amidst the industrial grime conjured by the band's dark riffing. "From the Cave" builds a hard groove with a very Hatross bridge riff and melodic chorus hook. The post-chorus guitar melody is great, and the track takes you straight back into the neurotic nostalgic conjured by the band's best material. "Earthache" has some plunky bass and a shimmery dis-chord like something you'd find on Angel Rat, with some quirky and catchy vocals. "Global Warning" is one of a few tracks here that enters on a bit of stellar ambience, it's also one of my favorites, and another of the proggiest bits. "A Room With a V.U." once again starts with a touch of ambience, before crawling into its creepy, spidery pace. "Destroy After Reading" isn't one of the best songs on the album, but it does conjure a trippy haze not unlike a Voivod interpretation fo "White Rabbit".
The latter half of the album is stronger in my opinion than the first. "Treasure Chase" hops along with a traditional freak out fringe riff sequence, lots of upper strings struck just for the tone while the power chords bludgeon. "Krap Radio" flows with a twisted take on a common blues hustle, anchored in Away's powerful battery. "In Orbit" is my favorite track on the album, a slow and moody piece with Snake's very Nothingface/Angel Rat clean vocals, and an immersive quality to the riff pattern. "Deathproof" is another rocker, almost mediocre save for the vocals which save it. "Pyramidome" is another great track, once again rooted in a bluesy foundation, but the blues of psychedelic science fiction strata which haunt the back of your mind like those pulp novels from the library you read as a kid, that influenced you forever but you can't remember. Okay, not that YOU read as a kid, that I did. "Morpheus" again indulges us with some scintillating, creepy ambient atmosphere, and it's one of the gloomiest and strongest tracks on the album. "Volcano" is probably the closest track to something off Hatross or Killing Technology, a total headbanger and a great way to close the album.
The band still sounds fantastic as they always have, in all iterations. The bass is phenomenal, thick and syrup like lines which always drive the tracks. Away is a perfect rhythm machine, and Piggy's guitars sound like he had a lot of foresight, as if he's producing the sounds from beyond the grave. Snake in particular has really stepped up the game on this and the previous album, his voice now a powerful combination of all the prior shifts in his voice through the band's catalog. As far as the material, I'm not sure if this and Katorz were planned separately, or if they picked what they thought was better for Katorz first. There are two or three tracks here on Infini that weren't as tight for me as the remainder, so I enjoyed it somewhat less than its predecessor. It's still a great Voivod album and it should resonate with fans of the band, and as a swan song, it's more than acceptable.
Most true fans of thrash are aware of the impact Voivod has had with their unique style and the coo of gaining former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted. They are also aware of the passing of Denis "Piggy" D'Amour. This is a collection of the last recordings with Piggy and it feels like they've saved the best for last.
The riffs that are evident are a blend of traditional thrash metal mixed with speed and in some instances you will notice the punk sound that is strangely similar to Motorhead. Having all this diversity between the riffs not only shows what a talented musician Piggy was, but also makes this album a pleasure to listen to.
The vocals are the other strong point on this album . They seem to be a driving force in some songs, while at the same time making you want to just sit back with a few cold ones and groove along. With this mix of styles the vocals provide a very upbeat positive feel to the album and I feel that is the best way to honor Piggy's memory.
Piggy may be gone and thus Voivod may have released their final full length, but no one will forget the legacy both Piggy and the band has left and finishing with an album like Infini is the best way they could end it.
And so it ends; the final chapter in Voivod’s long, tragic and overlooked career. Some thought that the band was on the verge of a breakthrough after their masterpiece, "Nothingface", sold surprisingly well. For whatever reason, this never happened, and Voivod quickly faded and subsequent releases became almost as obscure as the releases from the mid 80’s. Before succumbing to cancer, guitarist Piggy D’Amour recorded dozens of guitar ideas onto a hard-drive. As a tribute to their fallen band-member, the other members of Voivod have arranged those parts into songs and added all the necessary instruments, vocals and lyrics.
This is the second album that has been released in this format, following up 2006’s "Katorz". On bass for this album is none other than former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted. Even though he receives partial writing credit for most of the songs, he doesn’t really do anything interesting on bass, mostly just playing along to the guitar parts. I was surprised that this album wasn’t marketed with Newsted’s name prominently displayed in order to get the notice of some of his fans from the Metallica days.
The sound of this album isn’t too different from the previous two. It’s pretty far removed from the thrash of the first couple of albums and even farther from the progressive metal that almost made them big. The sound here is basic rock with some slight metal and punk influences. One might call this garage-rock. There are one or two riffs per song, most of which are very basic, that serve as the foundation for each song. There may be a simple solo included as well. It’s the same thing for every song. A couple of times, like in "Global Warning", it works well. Most of the songs, however, suffer from the songs all being relatively similar.
I understand that this is the best that could be done considering that they only used Piggy’s guitar parts, but they’ve shown that they’re capable of so much more, so it’s hard not to be disappointed when listening to "Infini". The band claims that this will be their last album, but we all know from experience that these claims aren’t true 95% of the time. Why not write some new material with the guitarist who is currently touring in order to add something to their sound? If this really is their swansong, is this the sound that the band wants to be remembered by? The worst part is that there are no vocal hooks to be found, so this album fails even as a rock album. Snake Belanger sounds a bit like Lemmy of Motorhead, but with less catchy vocal lines.
Voivod has had some great albums in the past, but even though I respect them and am sad about Piggy’s death, I cannot give this album a good rating. Maybe if you liked their previous two albums then you might rate this higher, but this is probably weaker than even those. For die-hards only.
(Originally published at www.metal-temple.com)