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Build your weapons! - 90%

Brainded Binky, November 9th, 2014

Voivod is a band with a truly remarkable sound. They really put themselves on the metal map by creating a style that is unmatched by any other band, mixing punk, thrash and progressive styles in their work. They did, however, start out as a thrash metal band, and that meant showing some of the trademarks of thrash, but, since this is Voivod, we're talkin' here, this thrash album has a bit of a twist.

As the band's sophomore effort, "Rrröööaaarrr" shows plenty of trademarks of a typical thrash metal band, but Voivod, particularly guitarist Denis "Piggy" D'Amour, decides to spice it up a bit. The e-note rhythm, a common trait of thrash metal, is present on the album, but when paired with unusual chord patterns, the thrash on the album is anything but typical. An excellent example of this is "Thrashing Rage", one of my personal favorite tracks. While it does start off with a chugging e-note and some basic power chords, it kicks into the first verse using chord patterns not found in songs from other thrash metal bands. If you remove these chord patterns, however, you'd just end up with a song that you would expect to hear from another Bay Area thrash metal band, cos they're basically the only thing that separates the sound of "Rrröööaaarrr" from albums from other bands. These chord patterns would eventually give way to diminished and augmented chords as the band's career went on.

The vocals of Denis "Snake" Belanger are almost typical of thrash metal too, but those would gradually change with the band's albums as well. In every song on this album, Snake uses a growling, gruff voice with a more aggressive tone, somewhat like Dave Mustaine's. Needless to say, his gruff voice could be another trademark of thrash metal bands, as most of their vocalists seem to share this aspect. Snake's voice would get less and less gruff, and more and more smooth to accommodate the band's ever-changing sound as the years passed.

Also common with thrash metal is the few number of time signatures that usually take up each song. On "Rrröööaaarrr", each song usually consists of one to two different time signatures, and "Thrashing Rage" doesn't really change its time signature until the last few seconds of the song. Again, the bizarre chord patterns are what made "Rrröööaaarrr" a more unique thrash metal album. Some songs, like "Slaughter in a Grave" have only one tempo, another factor that proves that Voivod was yet to reinvent themselves. Though there might be very few different time signatures in each song, that doesn't mean that these tempos can't be complex. The band proves that with "Korgüll the Exterminator", where in the chorus, the drummer, Michel "Away" Langevin, uses a odd drumbeat. This also proves that Voivod was unlike any thrash metal band around at the time, which would only aim to play as fast as possible and completely disregarding how complex their time signatures should be.

Even though "Rrröööaaarrr" isn't as complex as any album that came afterword, it does still have some aspects that differentiate Voivod from other bands. That odd, crunching guitar playing of Piggy, the gruff vocals of snake, and the odd tempos of Away are all present on this album. In the years to come, however, their talents would be even more prevalent, as the band shifted its focus away from thrash metal and towards progressive metal, putting in many different musical influences along the way.