Review Summary: A spectacular end (?) to an era.
With their previous album, Angel Rat
, Voivod presented a more straightforward rock aspect of their music, while they managed to surpass the “curse of perfect albums” (what is Nothingface
?) with relative success. Despite its admittedly great artistic merit, Angel Rat
’s failure to meet the commercial success of Nothingface
and the ongoing interference of MCA records in the band’s artistic portfolio, brought moderate internal conflict between band members, resulting in the departure of Blacky. In the light of the above, the band set itself on hiatus mode, while searching for a proficient substitute to fill Blacky’s shoes. Eventually, session bassist Pierre St. Jean took replaced Blacky and after a year of composing and recording sessions, Voivod are finally letting their new album, The Outer Limits
, out in the open, an album that feels like a spectacular end (?) to an era.
Comparing The Outer Limits
with its predecessor, the caliber of its presentation has been significantly amplified. The first thing to hold guilty for this substantial enhancement in Voivod’s post-Nothingface
style, is the superb sound production. Piggy’s lead/rhythm guitars have been heavenly textured, while the ever floating rhythm section of Away and St. Jean never sounded so rich within its low frequency realm. Yet, the biggest amelioration of the sound production lies in the perfect highlighting of Snake’s s-u-p-e-r-b vocal performance. With reference to the actual structure of the songs themselves, the majority continues to move along the straight/prog rock n’ roll pattern first introduced in Angel Rat
, however the subtleties that characterize them, are processed to perfection. That being said, the music in here sounds far less clinical. The superb fluency and originality in melodies, riffs and rhythms and their mutual bonding, brings in mind albums like Dimension Hatross
, yet The Outer Limits
album stands in a substantial distance, with respect to the dystopic feeling its aforementioned predecessors transmitted. The exception that justifies the rule, lies within the 17-minute long song “Jack the Luminous”, with its lyrics and complex structure bringing in memory the ethics realized in the aforementioned past albums. The primary drive in Voivod’s new effort, is that of an avant-garde metal band playing a rigorous majestic/pompous rock concert, at a venue situated in the outer limits (sic) of the galaxy.
In closing, The Outer Limits
is nothing short of an apt Voivod record and a fine addition in the line of superb albums given by this band in the past. Despite the partial dissolution of the line-up core, due to Blacky’s departure, remaining original members perfected the band’s new style, while they discretely included – consciously or unconsciously, it makes little difference – nearly all the trends and obsessions that characterized Voivod during their fully developed era. One cannot help but think that this album signifies an incredible end to an era, however only the unknown knows enough to give a reliable answer to this stated uncertainty.