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Stunning progression - 90%

kluseba, June 16th, 2018
Written based on this version: 1992, CD, Noise Records

A look at the cheap cover artwork makes it obvious that Noise Records simply wanted to cash in here. However, Voivod's records are pretty tough to track down and until today, there hasn't been an extensive compilation that represents the French-Canadian band's stunning career accurately. This release introduces the listener to the band's first six albums and its first ten years.

The band's early album offer raw thrash metal that even flirts with speed, death or black metal stylistics as can be heard in the mean ''Korgull the Exterminator''. However, it was already obvious back then that the band stood out with its stunning musicianship. The raw vocals surprise with a unique pronunciations of dystopian lyrics, the drum play is chaotic and steady, the bass guitar sounds like an angry bumblebee and the guitar riffs are disharmonious and unpredictable. Those who have never listened to Voivod thus far might need some time to appreciate the wild style of the band's first two or three releases that is obviously inspired by bands like Raven and Venom.

The band shifted towards more and more progressive extreme metal sounds. The melodic riffs and vocal progressions in ''Psychic Vacuum'' are still surprising but the musicianship sounds much more fleshed out and ambitious. Voivod slowly unfolds its musical genius in such a song. The band develops a sound that can be compared to what bands like Coroner or Watchtower did around the same time.

Voivod's progression certainly didn't stop there as the group's sound became mellower and more intellectual as can be heard in the atmospheric, floating and harmonious ''The Prow'' that closes this album. The band's admiration for groups such as King Crimson and Pink Floyd is quite obvious on the records released in the late eighties and early nineties.

This release retraces Voivod's unique, stunning and entertaining development really well. It's a great release to get to know this band that changed its sound so progressively that listening to a few distinct records wouldn't be enough to understand this band's essence, spirit and style. Twelve songs with a running time of fifty-three minutes are perfectly fine. If there were less songs, it wouldn't be enough to fully understand this band's progression. If there were more, it would be too tough to digest. Obviously, one or two exclusive songs for such a release would have added some value for fans and there also a few selections regarding the material that I find debatable. However, this is a great introduction to a great band overall. If you like the material on this release, you might as well purchase all records Voivod has ever released.