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Review: Voïvod - Voïvod

Label: Chophouse Records
Year released: 2003
Duration: 65:34
Tracks: 13
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: April 11, 2003
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating

Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (28 Votes)

After fighting with the digipak to get the CD out (I swear I thought the CD would break before I could get it out - worst digipak ever), I finally got around to hearing Voïvod's 13th studio effort which is marked by the return of Snake on vocals and the addition of Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica) on bass. Voïvod is one of these few bands that are pretty much unclassifiable as far as genre goes - you never know what the hell they're going to come up with next. This album follows that same strategy. I still remember the first time I heard "War and Pain" (still my favourite) in the mid-80s, and this new album is about as far away as they can get from their debut while still playing metal. If this were any other band, I'd probably be screaming "sell-out!" since this is so much more accessible than their earlier stuff - at least the albums I have myself. Those looking for some form of Thrash of proto-Death or whatever they've been called over the years are in for a deception: The music here is essentially a mix of punk, alternative rock and heavy metal. Many bands have attempted mixing these genres without much success, but Voïvod pulled it off, although it's closer to punk and alt-rock than it is to metal, unfortunately. This is not exactly radio-friendly (the stuff here could make it to some alternative-rock stations, however), but much more accessible with a good groove and clean vocals from beginning to end (I had no idea Snake could pull this off.) While some of the songs are kind of upbeat, overall the mood of the album is dark with a slightly depressive edge. Despite its lack of "extremity" (...) the songs are loaded enough that you'll find yourself discovering something new on each listen - just like most of their material, this is in no way some dumbed-down material and it requires the listener to be quite attentive to really take it all in.

Some bitching about the last song: It ends on 2-3 minutes of silence followed by some kind of sci-fi sounds. Totally useless and fucking annoying.

This latest Voïvod will not please people who are into the more extreme stuff, but should please the ones who like the band for its unpredictability. Snake's voice and the distinctive guitar sound make this unmistakably Voïvod. The material on the album is accessible enough to bring in people who are into more "commercial" metal. If in the past you stayed away from Voïvod because you found them to be too extreme for your taste, you may want to give this one a try - you'll be surprised. Oh, and they didn't lower the bass on the album. :)

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