VOIVOD - Voivod
March 17, 2003, 15 years ago
Strange days indeed. Who woulda thought that bassist Jason Newsted’s career would take him from being on top of the ol’ metallic heap to present day jack-of-all-trades (Voivod, Ozzy, possible Flotsam And Jetsam reunion), indie label connoisseur. And to see Denis “Snake” Belanger peer out of the woodwork (literally) and rejoin his old mates (after leaving ten years ago) at the same time is damn well mystifying. But indeed the cat was out of the bag months ago and the hype machine kicked it into first gear as Newsted promised a true-to-life metal record for Voivod fans left in the lurch. And for the most part the four-piece have delivered in the same manner as their latter-era work - Nothingface and Angel Rat, albeit a tad up in the intensity levels. However, this trip ain’t no Dimension Hatross, those old time, youthful dark energies and content have been replaced by a band that’s matured for a decade and a more personalized outlook on life has crept in. Cutting to the chase, Voivod is redeeming after the Eric Forrest era, led by drummer Michel "Away" Langevin's backbone and guitarist Denis "Piggy" D'Amour’s underrated precision. Newsted compliments Away’s driving tendencies without adding anything eccentric from his past (read Metallica) repertoire. Opener ‘Gasmask Revival’, ‘Rebel Robot’ and the pounding closer ‘We Carry On’ see the band in a full-on frame of mind - heads down with one mission in mind. You can see dust gathered on the brooding ‘Real Again?’, Voivod pulling from their unsettling past, whereas ‘The Multiverse’ (once the title track) is that spacey piece of majesty we’ve all come to know and love. The top-notch ‘Divine Sin’ begins with Piggy’s so recognizable axe-echo until Snake’s smooth vocal prowess is drug induced. If this track is any indication of the future, Voivod haven’t missed a beat during Snake’s departure. Ironically, the one strange element that rears it’s head is the singer’s overbearing foothold on the mic. Not out of tune or out of place ... it’s just the recognizable frontman is up in the mix as his punky elements dominate. But his fire is so evident. In all, Voivod signifies a commitment to past glories and to a certain degree the band’s 2003 rejuvenation is full of prog-filled, pent-up aggression. Most importantly, their futuristic functionality remains untouched.