Review Summary: There's a new killer in this line, and it's rrröööaaarrring quite loudly.
Canada is fertile ground for heavy metal. A mixture of greenery, cold weather, and awesome accents make the Great White North home to some of the best metal bands ever. But outside the natural side of Canada, come Quebec born and bred Voivod. Formed in the borough of Jonquière, the members were surrounded by industrial factories, and you can see that influence in their music. Need proof? Their "mascot" is a robotic looking fellow, an obvious ode to their hometown. Musically, Voivod progressed from thrash to serious progressive wizards in few years time, mostly due in part to now deceased guitar god Piggy. He was influenced by jazz, and his playing was always just a little off the norm. Actually, the whole band was. From Snake's French accent, to the title of the album, the band were just a little to the left of normal, and that's what made them unique.
"Rrröööaaarrr", pronounced "Roarrrrrrr", is the second full length album by them. After 1984's "War And Pain", they took the same thrash metal roots, but it was just so different. In my time, I have listened to an obscene amount of thrash metal. Sadly, there are some bands who'd rather be like someone else than be something new, and Voivod certainly broke this mold. From the opening of "Korgull The Exterminator", to the chaotic speed laden drive of "Ripping Headaches", this album is focused on speed in a way most bands were not at that time. This, again, is heavily due in part to Piggy, whose guitar playing was eccentrically magical. Take for example, "Horror". The drum rhythm is fast, as is the norm in thrash metal, but the guitars are just a little behind them in the beat. It's almost like free jazz thrash, like if Charles Mingus and Dave Mustaine made music together. This decision to be just a little bit off works so well, as perfection and metal have never gone that great together.
Snake, real name Denis Belanger, is one hell of a metal vocalist. You can barely understand what he's saying most of the time, but he is just so convincing. Sometimes, that's more important than sheer skill. His thick, thick Frenchmen speaking English accent actually makes his vocals better, almost the same way Max Possessed, (Max Cavalera), sounded back when Sepultura started out. Metal is not just a British or American thing. It's global, and almost every single country on this planet has some sort of metal scene. I love it when a band has their own inflections and culture, and imbed it into the music itself. On top of being a unique vocalist, he is a great lyricist. "You can't resist it's thrashing rage, In the labyrinth I run to see the end, Mirage of death as long as infinity, Living dying in this deep misery". Not bad for someone whose first language is not English.
In conclusion, "Rrröööaaarrr" is a seriously talent filled album, with great musicianship all across the board. If you're looking for technical thrash metal, or progressive thrash metal, look no further than Voivod. In a non-pretentious way, "Rrröööaaarrr" exudes technicality, ability, and skill, all while purveying a thrashing good time. Many bands love complacency, and more of the same. But Voivod shows one thing is true. Sometimes it's good to be weird.