Review: Voivod

(Chophouse Records)

I can barely remember ‘Nothingface’.  The bands seminal and probably best know work.  That was a long time ago (1989).  They had many albums previous and post, but that was the album I was turned onto them.  They toured with Soundgarden and Faith No More around that time (just to show the level of respect the band was commanding during that period).  And I get this new stuff, with a signed letter from none other than Jason Newsted.  Seems Mr. Newsted has thrown down with the new incarnation of Voivod that now features once departed, but now returned original vocalist Snake.  C’mon, you know you are a born to be a rock’n’roll frontman when you can pull off a name like Snake.  And this album is so much more rock than this previously dubbed ‘metal’ outfit.  It’s a driven, painfully lean rock.  Like the Jesus Lizard rock.  Taunt.  Disturbed.  Ready to snap.  Punctuated but not aggressive and maintaining a steady forward momentum that has more to do with a rock swagger than any metal speed.

Not a lot of ground is explored however, as much of this in steadily interchangeable.  But none-the-less enjoyable if not slightly distracting from what I had associated with this bands sound.  Granted, there catalog is 9 albums deep (about 6 albums more than I’ve ever listened to), so maybe they’ve been growing towards this, which is actually a stripping down and stepping backward on the experimental level that their album “Dimension: Hatross” displayed (that set up to the “Nothingface” release mentioned previous).

13 songs here rather overdoes it, as the formula gets repetitive.  But still an almost awkward surprise to see such tense rock vibe displayed from a unit with such an extensively progressive catalog.  I need to listen to more Voivod to figure out where they ended up here.  And this is what Jason Newsted is doing?  What about Echobrain?  Ahhh, I can’t keep track.  This is the kind of album that if I say ‘check this out’, half of you will thank me and half of you will wonder what the fuck I was talking about.  So test the waters and make your own call.  (like you would go listen to it just cause I said to.  You would?  I bet you have the best musical taste among your friends, doncha?)