RRRRÖÖÖAAARRR, KILLING TECHNOLOGY, DIMENSION HATRÖSS Part of Canada's Big Four, Voivod were one of the first Canadian thrash bands to achieve international acclaim. Thirty four years after they formed they are still together and they have a new album due to be released in 2017. The band, who have recorded eleven studio albums, have now reissued those they made during the Noise years, on vinyl (for the first time in thirty years), digital and a CD/DVD sets.
Their speed metal roots are evident on their second album Rrrröööaaarrr with tracks such as Ripping Headaches sounding like Motörhead on acid. Fast and furious this early album clearly owes a lot to the punk movement, vocally (Denis "Snake" Bélanger ) and in terms of the violent crashing of the instruments. The guitar chord patterns (Denis "Piggy" D'Amour) and drumming (Michel "Away" Langevin) on Slaughter In A Grave sounds like some of Iron Maiden's early work - again a throwback to the influences of thrash. Horror teases at the supernatural and scientific elements that would become more apparent in their work later on.
Killing Technology is where the band start becoming more progressive adding in a variety of soundscapes. Snake's vocal style has also shifted accordingly, making use of his vocal range and using his voice as an instrument. The guitars are more discordant, playing with time signatures and variations - again hinting at the development of their distinctive style. That thrashy punk sound is still very much at the forefront of the album with tracks like Overreaction and Too Scared To Scream being more speed orientated than industrial.
Their fourth album, Dimension Hatröss released in 1988 is very much the sum of what they have been working towards for the last three albums. The opening track Experiment is aptly named, the guitar work is very much in line with modern progressive rock and metal music. The use of electronic sounds that were only touched on in earlier albums, add to the atmospherics and come to the fore in Dimension Hatröss. Tribal Convictions is much more melodic than much of their previous work, with Snake's vocals alternating between grungy and progressive metal that is akin to bands such as Arcturus. The vocals remain clean throughout, but still dynamically aggressive. The work from the band is much more intricate than just bashing out the chords and smashing the hell out of the drums; take Macrosolutions to Megaproblems and Brain Scan as an example of the variety on offer. Tracks like Technocratic Manipulators are still very modern in terms of sound, and the lyrical content of the album regarding destruction of the planet and the negative effects of technology seem scarily pre-cognitive in retrospect. All of the CD/ DVD packages contains demos and early performances in their homeland and the US; a must for any collector who wants to chronicle the development of the band, and charting the development of their sound is fascinating stuff. Listening to these ground-breaking albums from Voivod's origins as a speed metal band and gradual evolution into one of the pioneers of the progressive genre proves why they still have such a respected position in the genre today.
Groupie Rating 4/5