Review Summary: They’re gonna see I’m not from here.
Once they’ve left this futile world, acclaimed artists tend to attract even more attention; Bowie’s swan song album debuted at No. 1 of the Billboard 200, whereas Lemmy’s passing was taken into account by media with no relevance to rock n’ roll whatsoever. Voivod are not as popular as the aforementioned rock stars, but the untimely death of Dennis D’Amour (aka Piggy - RIP) and the broad coverage it received by metal media, somehow prompted fans to remove anew the band from the undeserved obscurity in which it lied, for a good part of its career. This increased level of attention, combined with the more-than-effective recruitment of guitarist extraordinair Dan Mongrain, rewarded the 2013 Target Earth
album with the right amount of merit.
Voivod’s departure from obscurity was also expressed in terms of live performances on both banks of the Atlantic Ocean; joint tours with acclaimed extreme metal outfits took place, which in turn, brought special releases of a handful of split singles as corresponding tokens of commemoration. Moreover, additional material was composed and adapted by the band off and on the road, which kept the band in shape, in terms of composing. With a new album on the works for a 2016 release, the French-Canadians are serving us an EP compilation of the aforementioned material, in partial ease of our ever growing anticipation for their new work.
Upon the release of the split singles, band members stated that they gravitated towards merging all the styles devised in their career. This statement is partially true, as the raw period of the first two albums, as well as the industrial/nu-metal days of the mid-to-late ‘90s, have been left out of the pot. What’s in store here is Voivod’s triumphant psychedelic/progressive rock era, seen through the band’s custom speed/thrash metal looking glasses. Excluding the cover on the Hawkwind tune “Silver Machine” which is tailored to the band’s standards, yet it is partially successful at transmitting the orgasmic vibe of the original tune, all songs will sound pleasantly (and perhaps too) familiar to long-time fans. After all, the sudden changes in tempo, the dissonant guitars, and the weird vocal work narrating (not only) sci-fi themed stories, have been the band’s bread and butter for quite some time now.
The new members sound seamlessly integrated into the fold; Mongrain continues delivering the wonderful work that highlighted Target Earth
three years back, whereas Rocky’s bass is a delight to listen to, as he is no short of talent complementing Away’s drumming, or regarding any of his predecessors. As for Snake’s vocals, they are sounding deeper and deeper with time, highlighting anew his already established styles. His vibratos on “Post Society” and “Forever Mountain”, combined with the adaptation on the bluesy structure of “Fall”, stand as testament of the aforementioned assessment. In view of the upcoming full-length album, a proof of the band’s good shape was not in desperate need, but with this EP compilation, Voivod prove that they are still fighting the uphill battle.