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War and Pain's less inspired cousin - 71%

_MyNameIsShotgun_, June 20th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1986, 12" vinyl, Combat Records

My hopes for Voivod's second endeavor were pretty high, considering what a maniacal thrash masterpiece War and Pain was. Sadly, they were not (entirely) met.

Now, don't get me wrong here. I love the hell out of Voivod, they're easily one of my favorite bands of all time, any genre. Every member of the band plays their heart out on this record. Somehow, it just doesn't come out right as it should. Piggy's dissonant playing is here, Blacky's intense distorted bass is heavily present, Snake's devilish howls and growls make their peace, and Away's thunderous drums beat along to the sound. Some songs are absolutely phenomenal (e.g. Korgull the Exterminator, Build Your Weapons, To the Death!) but some flop terribly (the somehow highly aclaimed Fuck off and Die, Slaughter in a Grave, Thrashing Rage) Unlike War and Pain, this album fails to inflict the absolute rawness and sheer power onto its victims. It just seems Vod took some fabulous songs, realized they didn't have enough and kind of threw together some generic thrash (with Voivod's unique touch) And the whole thing seems vocal based, having probably the most vocal lines of any Voivod albums. This would be okay, but the vocals on almost every song seem flat, uninspired and drag on while you're waiting for an actual quality riff or some soloing. Snake is a great vocalist but he must have hit a rut here in writing lyrics. He also sounds particularly like a rambling drunk, but it doesn't really do the same as it does on RRROOOAAARRR's predecessor.

Lets cover that too, riffing. It almost seems Piggy didn't show up for most of this album to write any good riffs to build a song around. Korgull the Exterminator, easily the best song on this album has several quality riffs that kick serious ass and crazy frenetic soloing, but other than that song, off the top of my head, I can't remember any memorable riffs. Horror has a fantastic solo that is basically the reason for that song to exist, kind of the same for the rest of the songs on here. Several songs in here just have open e chugging for verses with some random little riff tidbits and a solo and then it's just over. The production on here is also shit. It's sludgy, dull, and the vocals are way louder than anything else; when you want to hear the good riffs, they're covered by Snake's loudass screaming.

Enough negative shit, lets talk about the absolute kickass parts of this album. The two really quality songs on here are "Korgull the Exterminator" and "To the Death!" (oddly enough the opener and closer) The prior opens up with some cool effects that sound like the gigantic tank thing on the cover rolling over the post-apocalyptic lands that most of the song's lyrics are about. It opens with a whammy dive and a chuggy riff complemented by Blacky's harmonic bass bits. Then we open up into a simple, great powerchord riff and some growling by Snake. His lyrics on this song are actually great, reminiscent of War and Pain:

"There's a new killer in the line
Of the host
He catches his victims and let
Them fall into decay
It's the law of the jungle
One or the other must die
Awaiting unavoidable death in the hole"

We get a couple verses and choruses and then a fabulous solo by Piggy, followed by a lyric bridge, then the best part of the song where Snake howls, "HIS NAME IS KORGULLLL!!!" and Piggy leaps in with some dissonate riffing laid over the main riff. We have the final verse and the song fades out with the same effects as the intro. Another positive here is the insane album art courtesy of Away. It features Korgull in some sort of giant tank thing covered in spikes, arms, torture devices and a giant laser cannon thing on top. In addition we have the new and improved Voivod logo above Korgull, used in the albums to come.

All in all, this album really isn't that bad, it's just mostly boring thrash with Vod's touch. I would still listen to this over many other bands but Voivod has other albums and tracks that offer more than this album.