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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)