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in 1280 x 960 resolution
Everyone knows the age old argument that comes up if you’re talking to a hardcore fan of a band or album, and you say you didn’t like it. They’ll say you don’t get it. You don’t understand it the way they do. In most cases, what isn’t being understood is the fact that as people we’re allowed to have different tastes in music, and just because they like something, that doesn’t somehow make it inherently ‘good.’ However at a certain point, consensus does become pretty powerful, and this album certainly has a large fanbase. But I’ve tried many times to sit down and hear what most people seem to hear in this album, and I simply don’t. And in this case, maybe it’s entirely possible that there is something I just don’t get.
The guitar sound is cold and sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, and the riffs are dissonant, maybe even out of key. The vocals are neither offensive nor impressive. They merely do what they need to do. None of this is inherently bad, and actually the ideas make for a cool sounding idea for a sci-fi concept album or something. But the music just isn’t performed in a way I’d consider interesting. There are a few moments, that are cool, but they don’t often last very long before going into another psudo-prog off key palm muted repeated powerchord verse or repeated machine-sounding squealing riff.
The majority of the interesting part of most of the songs is the choruses, many of which are actually pretty catchy, but also mostly very short. There is clearly talent here in the band. Unfortunately technicality doesn’t always equal good music.
A few compliments are in order though. I do find that for each song there will be a few individual moments I wish go on longer, so there is definitely some good on this. Unfortunately it’s buried between forced progressiveness. The Pink Floyd cover of Astronomy Domine is pretty true to the original, while adding a few original moments and it’s actually very cool, speaking as a fan of Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Missing Sequences has a fabulous moment of beauty before it’s awkward rap moment (“Down. Down. Far Underground…”), which is actually followed by a cool thrash piece, which is then quickly ended in favor of yet more faux-progression. The first part of Into My Hypercube is fantastic, and I was so sure it was going to be that one song that I loved. But as it drags on, it loses its melodic strength to continue the albums overall feeling of mechanical oddity.
I’d say that the biggest problem with the album is that it tries very hard to be strange and progressive. Not bad qualities in and of themselves, but I feel as though the album tries too hard, to the point that the sound is forced. I’m not at that “this is the worst thing ever, and it has no musical value” point here. I’m merely underwhelmed by a choice by Voivod to purposely make such an album, as though they wanted to be The Residents of heavy metal. It seems someone in the band decided that dissident atonal riffs instantly made music sound progressive and cool. I’m sorry, I disagree.
I’ve tried pretty hard to like this album, probably four or five times, but it’s just not my cup of tea. If you love this album, then fantastic, more power to you. I found it overwhelming and not nearly worthy of the praise it deserves. Maybe one day I’ll get it, but until then, I’m just going to stick with Katorz.