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Review: Voïvod - Katorz

Label: The End Records
Year released: 2006
Duration: 45:05
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: July 10, 2006
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
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Rated 4.17/5 (83.45%) (29 Votes)

Three years ago the self-titled Voïvod album marked the return of Snake on vocals, and now Katorz marks the departure of Piggy after his untimely death last year. For those who have been living under a rock, Piggy had recorded the guitar parts and the band was able to use them for the album. So while Piggy died before the album was recorded, it's still him playing guitar on it.

"Katorz" sounds like the French word "quatorze", which means "fourteen". Yes, you guessed it, this is the band's 14th album. My first introduction to the album's material was over the phone a few months ago while I was chatting with Adrian Bromley from The End Records. At the time he made me listen to excerpts of two or three songs, and my instant reaction was that it sounded like a mix of 70s classic rock with a heavy dose of punk and some Motörhead-ish moments, all the while retaining some of the Voïvod signature sound. After listening to the final product several times, I can say that I was pretty much right on the money. You get a little of all of that in every song on the album and Snake's vocals while a little too much "uniform" for my ears manage to add a bit of a mix of angst and melancholy to music that is a bit on the slow side, with the occasional speedsters.

Those who found the self-titled album too tame may like this better. Personally I found it much more interesting to listen to - there's a lot going on here even though the first impression is that it sounds rather simple. This is not an album to be dismissed after one or two listens - give it time to sink in. Once again those that are more into the speed and chaos of early Voïvod (such as myself) will not find full satisfaction here. But in the end, it's still Voïvod: Unpredictable. I'm told the album shares some similarities with Nothingface and The Outer Limits, but these happen to be the two albums missing from my collection so I can't vouch to that.

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Interview with vocalist Denis "Snake" Bélanger on December 1, 2018 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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