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Voivod - War and Pain

1984 Metal Blade Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-14

Voivod, arguably the best cybermetal band in existence, has lived a 14+ year career in relative obscurity. Each album broke new ground in the metal community and displayed the highlights of one Denis D'Amour, the most creative guitarist in metal, bar none. They were just kids when they recorded this, and already here Piggy is a guitar god, and Blacky (who had just learned the bass!) shows great promise... Things start off with a bang on War and Pain, which holds a greater resemblance to Motorhead and Black Sabbath than what we are used to hearing from them today. Even here though, one can find the trademark digital delay effects and punchy bass lines which would drive future recordings. This is primitive metal however. Snake sounds like Dan from Die Kreuzen, and Away just pummels "away"... The production is poor (hey, it's 1984!) by today's standards, and after all this, War and Pain is a must have for any music lover looking back at the roots of modern metal. This, along with Kreator's Endless Pain, and Celtic Frost's Morbid Tales, opened the door to the metal we hear today. The first album from one of the most original bands out there.

Voivod - Killing Technology

1987 Noise Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-14

Killing Technology is the first album where the "cybermetal" begins to show. This is an incredible album which plays as a demented science fiction soundtrack of incredible depth. Piggy shows that he is just a guitar god, for I've yet to hear anyone rival his chord progressions for originality or in sound. I bought this album sophomore year of high school and it is still one of my favorites. I was blown away then and listening to it again, I still am. Snake's voice begins to have it's trademark robotic feel. This whole album is very mechanical. The foundation is set by the rhythms, which are driven by Away's steady drumming and Blacky's bass, which always has a very distinctive sound, very prominent. Of course, this is all nothing without Piggy's guitar lines, which are truly genius. Killing Technology was the first real step for Voivod in voicing their vision of metal, and is an incredible album which doesn't lose any impact over time.

Voivod - Dimension Hatross

1988 Noise Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-14

Voivod continue the brilliance of Killing Technology with the addition of newfound technical confidence and increased production. This is the last album for Noise, and the last truly "raw" record that they would record. As with Killing Technology, the force that drives this record apart from any other is the guitar work of Denis D'Amour. He created lines that were so complex that he complained of the concentration required to play them live. Fortunately for us, they were recorded, and Dimension Hatross finds Voivod in prime form. I can't begin to convey the effect that these songs have, they are truly incredible. Listening to the album transports you far far away, to a place that is truly mechanoid in nature. This album is what "industrial" bands wish they could play, and shoudl probably be listening to for inspiration. Snake's voice has continued to evolve into the agonized machine that was at it's apex on this and the next albums. There is not one weak spot on this album, again, it is in the same vein of Killing Technology, but better and more technically advanced. A stunning achievment.

Voivod - Nothingface

1989 MCA Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-14

Nothingface was the album which was to break Voivod out of their "obscurity" and show the world what they were missing. It almost happened. They signed to MCA Records for this one, and I remember when it was released it received good press, and people dug the Pink Floyd Cover, but it didn't seem to help them too much. I for the life of me cannot figure this out. Nothingface is absolutely brilliant! I know that I say this about each of their albums, but I can't stress enough that they are, and each is perfection in it's own unique way. Nothingface continues the mechaniod approach, and was recorded completely in digital, with perfect production due to the increased budget for recording (my guess). The result is a very effects laden but cold, album. Each instrument is heard perfectly in the mix for once, with special care given to accentuate the bass, a very positive move! Some of their best stuff is found here, the cybermetal structure of Killing Technology and Dimension Hatross is here, but there is a new element, almost a sadness present. The album produces feelings of almost loneliness and despair, while the previous two provoked paranoia and held a level of agoraphobia. The main improvement here is that the bass and drums are given the sound required to allow them to produce a very dynamic rhythm section. This is Voivod's most mechanical album, and much like a machine, is flawless in it's execution.

Voivod - Angel Rat

1991 MCA Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-14

After recreating the face of metal with Nothingface, Voivod chose to change direction completely and release one of their most accessible albums to date. The biggest change here is in the vocals. The robotic drones are replaced by actual singing, albeit lighter and less powerful. The overall feel is much warmer than Nothingface, and this is due to a return to analog recording, and the use of Terry Brown (Rush, Fates Warning) as producer. While fans screamed sell-out, what really happened here is that Voivod managed to write personal metal edged rock songs that still hold the technicality apparent in each album. Piggy again breaks new ground with mixes of mechanical crunching riffs and solos that just float over the rest of the music. Unfortunately, Blacky decided to leave the band during/after this recording, and while the liner notes credit his work, he is not placed here as a member of the band. This comes at a time where his playing is really recognized, standing strong behind the guitar melodies. Away's drumming has improved here again, and he always plays what is necessary, allowing the song to come through. While this album was an initial disappointment to myself and many longtime fans, after years of listening, it has grown to be one of my favorite albums by them, very sad and personal. Another crowning achievement.

Voivod - The Outer Limits

1993 MCA Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-14

After Jean-Paul Theriault left the band, everyone was wondering what direction Voivod would go. Angel Rat was light years removed from their previous releases, a seminal pop-metal album for the masses. While this was an awesome album, I as well as others were hoping for a return to the cybermetal offerings of the past. How lucky we are, for The Outer Limits is an excellent combination of the two styles. The juggernaut power of the mid-career albums is paired with the sharp songwriting skill of Angel Rat in 54 minutes of brilliance. The theme here is obvious from the cover, aliens aliens aliens, but the tone (unlike say, Hypocrisy's Abducted)is in a campy, 50's vein. The guitar is heavily delayed and full of effects, and once again is allowed to venture outside the song due to the strong, thick bass sound. The production is excellent here, every note is clear, showcasing the musical talent involved in the band. Snake's vocals, while not the robonaut he was, are closer to the past than Angel Rat. Another positive point here is the variance of style which is always present. The songs span horizons, there's no bleeding of material here. Case on point is the album's highlight, the 17 minute Jack Luminous, which flows smoother than most 3 minute pop songs. Voivod have done it again here, and with the exception of the recent Phobos, this may be my favorite Voivod album.

Voivod - Negatron

1995 Mausoleum Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-14

After the release of The Outer Limits, longtime vocalist Denis Belanger decided to leave the band, which left essentially half a band to decide what to do. Considering retirement, Denis D'Amour and Michel Langevin decided to "hire on someone who could actually sing" and reform Voivod from the ground up. They found this singer in Eric Forrest, who was hired on to fill in on both bass and vocals. The result is Negatron, a return of sound from the late 80's period, much, much heavier than the last 3 releases. Everything is here, the power guitar chords, the frantic double bass drumming, the tortured vocals, unfortunately, it just seems like a step backward for the band. The album ends up being a mishmash of sounds. I understand that the band wanted to go back to their roots, to create more aggressive music, and that's exactly what happened here. What confused me, and still does, is that here the vocals switch between screaming and a spoken word style that sounds exactly like Snake. I think that the band needed time to work together, because they managed to produce one of their best albums to date after this. So, while possibly the least favorite Voivod album, there is still enough interesting pieces here to warrant a listen.

Voivod - Phobos

1997 Hypnotic Records :: Reviewed by rofreason on 2005-07-14

It would figure that one of the best albums of 1997 would also be one of the hardest to find. I finally tracked down a copy of Phobos in my home town of Philadelphia, and it was the best $22 I have spent in a long time. This album is nearly perfect in every conceivable way. Every past style of Voivod finally comes together into one recording. This is just a monumental album with the space walk feel of KT, DM and TOL, mixed with the pure aggression of Negatron. Eric Forrest has come into his own here, and adds a new dimension to the vocals and bass. The guitar is, as always, the focus, but this time the drumming af Away comes to the forefront, as it appears rawer and more powerful than on past recordings for some reason. As intended, listening to this album makes you feel as though you were floating endlessly in space. I read Ender's Game while listening to this album (over and over) and it just seemed to fit perfectly. Phobos is a return to form from one of the greatest bands to ever play.