Voivod
The Wake


4.0
excellent

Review

by Madbutcher3 USER (89 Reviews)
September 27th, 2018 | 48 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Voivod decrease the thrash and amp-up the progressive elements again, and as a result The Wake is their best album since The Outer Limits

To be fair to Voivod, all the ingredients have been there for a successful, truly great album like this. Daniel Mongrain's guitar work in Gorguts and Martyr gave a sizable hint that he was fully capable of contributing to Voivod's unique dissonant, sci-fi metal sound. Perhaps the absence of longtime bassist Blacky would muddle the equation, but thankfully it seems to have nevertheless balanced out with a pleasing result.

The Wake doesn't quite take off from where the Post Society EP left off, although tracks like Forever Mountain wouldn't necessarily sound out of place on this one. The thrashier aspects of the band's sound aren't necessarily gone, but are now a bit more contained, with a shift to nimble higher-register prog riffs and punk-rock chords. This highlights one of the big reliefs regarding the lineup: Blacky's replacement, Dominique Laroche (Rocky), is fully up to the task. Throughout the album the bass takes a pretty substantial role in leading several passages, such as in Orb Confusion, and thanks to the nicely balanced and clean mix it's fully audible at all times.

A big selling point this time around is variety, with the songwriting varying well between riff-exhibitions like Orb Confusion and Iconspiracy to slower, more deliberate and expansive tracks like The End of Dormancy and Spherical Perspective. On balance, the latter are probably the slightly stronger parts of the album, as the band gets to better show off their dynamic writing style and introduce more complicated orchestration at times, but there's not much of a difference in quality either way. A big strength is that every track has a moment which really feels like "crunch time": Obsolete Beings has probably one of the best and most ethereal guitar solos of the band's whole career; The End of Dormancy enters what feels like a launch sequence and really ramps up the tension with some great vocal work; Orb Confusion hits one of the catchiest and most sinister riffs of the album at its mid point before launching into a typically excellent solo; Iconspiracy brings in a huge string section for its climactic lead-in to the solo, and so on and so forth. To go on would labor the point, but TL;DR, every track feels like a highlight due to at least one or two standout moments.

The Wake isn't quite perfect (not every riff hits home, and the production is a bit lightweight), but it's an astonishingly good album for a band this far into their career, and signifies yet further progression from one of the kings of progressive metal. Regardless of your familiarity with Voivod's earlier work, this is an album worth your time, and is certainly a good challenger for the title of metal album of the year.



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user ratings (177)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
PsychicChris (4.5)
Thinking of The Wake as Voivod’s best album runs the risk of hyperbole, but it is easily one of th...


Comments:Add a Comment 
lalchimiste
September 27th 2018


1099 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review and from early listens it really felt like their most ambitious work since TOL or nothingface w/ Snake's craziest performance and Mongrain almost out Piggying Piggy! I read that's its a concept and story based record and it shows in both the grandiose feel and the impecable flow of the record. Aoty contender agreed



Pos!

bloc
September 27th 2018


56534 Comments


Never really got into these guys

Digging: UNKLE - Psyence Fiction

BigPleb
September 27th 2018


59067 Comments


Bet this weirds hard.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
September 27th 2018


8377 Comments

Album Rating: 3.6 | Sound Off

Great (as in 3.5+) album, though I won't deny that the first listens were a bit blurry.



Voivod have a legacy for churning out full-length growers (slow for the most part), and that's the case for The Wake too.



My "complaint" here, is that they try to blend all their styles (save for industrial) - punk, prog, tech metal - in one album, but no song, however savory in its own right, reaches the climax of either legacy material and/or the best songs in the previous album, also due to sound work texture, mentioned in the review.



That said, I tend to like Post Society and Target Earth better.





PS: May write something for this album in the future (bought mediabook CD version that has Post Society as bonus disc). POS.





Edit:



Snake's vocals are getting more awesome over time.

4th album in the trending releases, that's so great to see.

Digging: Norman Shores - De L'Ombre Surgit La Lumire

Madbutcher3
September 27th 2018


2331 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeh i got the same version.

it's kinda unfortunate that you go back and compare the post society production to this and it's so much meatier but i think this album is a bit more overtly proggy and not as focused on being metallic so idk how much i care. also the really low gain tone does kinda work for that breakdown in Always Moving and for Orb Confusion, so idk

vermillionZ
September 27th 2018


234 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Love the album, could use some more speed here and there though.

sonictheplumber
September 27th 2018


10414 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so could i :D

MetalMarcJK
September 27th 2018


143 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pos, Butcher...solid review!



OH MY VOD! THIS KICKS ASS! Our boys Voivod getting all proggy on us, but in a great way. Solid, kick-ass, weird-ass metal...and some of this stuff is downright catchy, but not in a 'Max Martin helped us write songs' kind of way.



IMO, this is their best since Nothingface, which I view as their best album. The songwriting is top-notch, the band is rockin', and the production is great. I wish there was a little more distortion on the guitar, but that's just me. "Sonic Mycelium" is the PERFECT way to close this album. I can think of no better way to end a work like this.



Mongrain has truly shown his worth with this album. He has really stepped up to the task, and the music is definitely a continuation of the Voivod legacy as solidified by Piggy, but it also breaks some new ground. Piggy would be proud.



Classic, middle-era Voivod with some prog excursions. Get it NOW, PEOPLE!

Digging: Sam Cooke - Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963

WatchItExplode
September 27th 2018


6896 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This is awesome. First time in a long time I heard something that threw me for a loop like this. Song structures and actual sonics that microwave my brain like tinfoil.

Space Jester
September 27th 2018


6777 Comments


Album is awesome as expected. Dunno why people are failing to mention how great Target Earth was though

ChaoticVortex
September 27th 2018


804 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, fantastic album. If Target Earth was a 21st centrury version of their Killing Technology/Dimension Hatröss sound, than this record is like a twisted stepchild of Nothingface's progressive approach and the experimental psychdelica of The Outer Limits. Iconspiracy and Sonic Mycelium are as good as anything in the Voivod catalogue, the musicianship is creative and dynamic, although I agree the production could've used just a little bit more dirt.

InFlamesWeThrash666
September 27th 2018


8994 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Iconspiracy riffs so hard

Digging: The Cure - Disintegration

Metalrain
September 27th 2018


605 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Last few minutes on End of Dormancy is cheesy in the best way possible.

sonictheplumber
September 27th 2018


10414 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

test

DePlazz
September 27th 2018


1501 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Absolutely loved it on first few listens, let's see if it lasts. Mongrain is rediscovering his tech side, it seems.

Digging: Chemical Breath - Fatal Exposure

Space Jester
September 27th 2018


6777 Comments


He already had it down on Target Earth man

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
September 27th 2018


16295 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I gotta get on this.



Hell, I gotta get into Voivod in general.

Digging: Lingua Ignota - Caligula

Space Jester
September 28th 2018


6777 Comments


Voivod is awesome so yes, you do!

sonictheplumber
September 28th 2018


10414 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

mongrain has a lot of holdsworth in him

sonictheplumber
September 28th 2018


10414 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Best possible piggy replacement



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