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Strange Album, But Rewarding - 80%

Shadoeking, May 3rd, 2009

This one is a little weird. Voivod is a progressive thrash metal band from Canada, Quebec that is. It is a fairly recent addition to my tape collection. I just picked it up off of ebay for fairly cheap. Voivod in general, and this album in particular, seem to be a love them or hate them type of band. I have seen opinions from individuals who absolutely hate Voivod, and I have read one noteworthy blog post that stated that this album was one of the greatest albums of all time and he didn't seem to understand how anyone could think otherwise. Well, I'll answer that question, this album is strange.

I have been familiar with Voivod for quite some time. I have two compilation albums with a Voivod track on them, I have a dubbed tape from the radio when they had the Power Hour on, one track from this band was dubbed, I also have their 1995 album Negatron. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from this band. One of the songs on this album was even on one of the aforementioned compilation albums. But I was wrong, this album is very odd.

Voivod has always centered their lyrics around science fiction, and this album is no exception to that. This can definitely be seen in song titles like "Astronomy Domine" (actually a Pink Floyd cover) and "Into My Hypercube".

Musically, Voivod definitely shows that they have chops. They often use strange song structures, there are no verse-chorus-verse structures here and Voivod is no pop metal band. The songs often extend longer than they feel like they should. This causes the album to drag in places. The music is not radio-friendly due to the difficulty level of getting into them.

The music is driven by the bass. The guitars are mostly rhythmic instruments with the bass leading the way. The guitars come crashing in at times with staccato riffs that seem to come out of nowhere. The drummer is technically proficient, filling in where necessary.

The vocals are where the problems lie. The singer uses more of a spoken or shouted hardcore type of vocals, they are definitely not thrash vocals. It's not that the vocals are bad, they are unexpected and can be a bit abrasive at times.

Altogether, the atmosphere of the album fits in with the science fiction nature of the lyrics. The album sounds futuristic and spacey. It comes across well, but it did not age very well. At the time, this was probably a landmark, ahead of the times album, now it seems a little cheezy. It is not a bad album, but it is strange and challenging, once the challenge is met however, it is a rewarding album. It is very well-written and a fun listen.