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Very technical and diversified - 89%

kluseba, October 6th, 2010

This album is Voivod's progressive metal masterpiece and maybe their most diversified and technical album. Every fan of this band that I know considers this album as a brilliant masterpiece and one of the top three album of the Quebeckers and so do I. It is a shame that this album is not available on CD nowadays and I hope that Away's promises will come true and that he will rerelease the old albums with some bonus material.

The album is somehow divided in two parts: A very catchy and easily appreciable first part and a more technical and complicated second part.

The first half starts with a very floating and dreamy atmosphere that makes you travel on the waves of space and time during the short introduction and the first song "The unknown knows". This song is progressive but still heavy and straight and has an amazing chorus and is like nothing you have ever listened before. There are more details in this song than other progressive or science-fiction influenced bands put into a whole album.This high level continues throughout the next songs. I have to mention the Pink Floyd cover song "Astronomy domine" which is even darker and eerier than the original version. I doesn't appear as a cover version at all and is perfectly integrated in the whole album concept. This song is what I would call "space metal" if such a genre exists and it is an eternal classic in the band's career. This song addicts you the first time you listen to it and drowns you in a really special mood. This song is simply out of this world!

The album is very technical and not always easy to approach in its second half though. A good example for this is the song "X-ray mirror" which is as strange and bizarre as its title. You really have to take your time to discover those songs of the second half and understand all the changes and details within them. But I think that Voivod sadly concentrated too much on the technical and conceptual aspect in some of the songs and forgot about the eerie and floating catchyness of the first four songs. Some songs like "Pre ignition" are really uneasy to listen to and destroy the interesting flow which the first songs elaborated. From a technical or creative point of view, there is not much to argue about though.

All in all, there are the four first perfect songs that make you lose your sense of space and time and travel through a diversified and strange galaxy you have never heard about. The second part is less intense but may impress you with its technically perfect and somehow very intellectual approach.

This album is also a turning point in the band's discography and the beginning of their progressive years. This album leads logically to "Angel rat" which is my favourite album of the band and redefines the definition of progressive rock.