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“When the Voivod Awakens…” - 99%

bayern, April 9th, 2019

“When the Voivod Awakens…”; to those who haven’t happened to read this ancient legend, I can tell you what happens right now; first, the Voivod will kick Kraken’s ass, this ridiculous over-hyped mythical monster; and then… the album here will happen. And that’s pretty much it but I know you can’t be disappointed cause where can one possibly go from here? Literally?

Exactly; just when you thought that the band hit their ultimate target with “Target Earth” comes this marvel to make you think again… I mean, how many times can a band re-invent themselves? Once, probably twice… well, it turns out that in the Voivod camp the wheel never stops spinning, and it seems to me that the inertia it has accumulated at present would suffice to not only awake the mere mortal, but to also bring him/her to the threshold of full illumination…

I’m sure Piggy (R.I.P.) smiles widely from somewhere up there, infinitely content with the upward trajectory his comrades have been riding as of late… and to think that the guys are just waking up. A tidal wave… sorry, wake is witnessed here, showing the band in all their dissonant spacey glory to which there can be no better summation than "Obsolete Beings", a belligerent lively march, vintage late-80’s Voivod with the edgy thrashy guitars, the psychedelic walkabouts, the dissonant rhythmic bounces, and the obligatory stylistic surprises like the excellent quiet balladic exit. More restless quietudes (the semi-balladic hypnotizer "The End of Dormancy") can be come across later, but the latter can only be a side-dish with more futuristic aggression served by the “Dimension Hatross” leftover "Orb Confusion", and by the jumpy neurotic thrasher "Iconspiracy" which even has the temerity to throw in an operatic keyboard-infused passage at some stage, a very unexpected but truly stylish touch.

Yeah, anything is possible in the Voivod camp including the introduction of a nearly 8-min patiently-woven doomy dirge ("Spherical Perspective"), and a totally unexpected rude awakening smacked in the second half of it to bang all the heads around. A wide smile on everyone’s face after this contrasting but totally compelling delight, one that would probably become bigger once the jumpy jazzy "Event Horizon" has passed, the immaculately-polished machine moving on with "Always Moving", an eclectic spastic thrashorama interrupted by bouts of lyrical atmospheric poignancy, all nuances compatible and disparate rolling into one big "Sonic Mycelium", the 12.5-min encyclopaedic closer which deftly sums up the preceding parade with hard psychotic thrashing, jazzy/funky digressions, labyrinthine configurations, more quiet etudes, and more… much more.

The always reliant Serpent… sorry, Snake behind the mike doesn’t twist and turn in all directions but emits his dispassionate, clinically articulate antics with his staple equanimity, pitching it authoritatively here and there, but only when such more attached interference is absolutely necessary. Stunning, stunning stuff and listening to it makes me even guiltier for denouncing the band early in the new millennium as the first three outings didn’t quite rock my boat with the docile rock-ish vaudevilles the guys had settled on those. Certainly, I knew that the time of the negatrons and the phoboses was over, but I couldn’t believe that they had fully depleted their arsenal of killing technologies… but then they rose, hitting a target after target, unflinchingly, determinedly, dealing with the naysayers in a calculated methodical manner… until the time was ripe for this grand sophisticated, civilized awakening… boom.

Did the scene really need it? You bet it did; with the old school resurrection movement slowly but surely switching on autopilot, long since having reached its zenith, something had to occur in order to stir the gradually subsiding spirits and to show them that no, it’s not over yet, and there are some veterans out there who still have a few tricks up their sleeves, solid time-proven psychedelic dissonant, spaced-out tricks that would carry the audience away until every single fan joins this cosmic magical dance, sometimes swaying in quiet unison, sometimes headbanging in reckless abandon, sometimes nodding vehemently in awe-inspiring appreciation… and sometimes looking hesitant at these psychedelic mushrooms tucked away on the shelf up there:

“Shall I take some of those to enhance this already fairly mind-bending trip? Nah, no need really; I guess I’ll give this wonder one more spin instead; then one more, then one more… in fact, I’ll skip work today so I can fully enjoy this gift. Such gifts simply don’t come easy nowadays…” Exactly.

Back to the guys’ homeland, first to congratulate them for the richly deserved Canadian Grammy Award they received for Best Metal Album of 2018 (Yeeeaaaah!), and second to wrap it on with an excerpt from a song by their compatriots Triumph from their album “Surveillance” (1987), this brilliantly cheesy and infectiously memorable piece titled “On and On”:

“On and on it goes
Where it stops nobody knows
On and on it goes
Round and round and it won't slow down.”

A perfect summation; and it can’t be any other way now that the Voivod has awakened… where the next chapter from the Voivod saga will take us that nobody knows; and nobody really cares… we will march along, trusting and confident, with brave assured strides…

on and on and on.