In the 1980's the heavy metal scene changed irrevocably. As the big hair bands came and went an uprising grew driven by the thrash scene along with others; fed up of the stagnant, glam dominated scene, not catering for their needs. Even as the face of the scene was changing, by then very much thrash dominated, a number of others were stretching the musical boundaries yet further.
Voivod were very much one of the bands on the forefront of experimentation. Adding progressive elements to a thrash foundation, moving the goalposts and delivering exceptional masterpieces in Killing Technology and Nothingface. They built up somewhat a cult following throughout the 80's and early 90's. They may not have ever hit the mainstream (in metal terms) or even been a big draw, but for those of us with discerning tastes, Voidvod were the band that delivered.
Through the following years, the band have been through trials and tribulations, from founding member 'Piggy' passing away to personnel changes, including at one point a certain Jason Newsted of Metallica fame. However, all this has not dampened the bands spirit or resolve. They have continued outputting new material and touring both to critical acclaim, and come this September they release new album The Wake into the world.
It’s taken a few listens for the album to sink in, but the joy in Voivod’s work has always been just that. It always takes a plethora of spins to fully digest such a work, to take in all the intricate details and foibles of each song. This, as it forever will be, is the think man’s genre and it’s a pleasure to partake in.
From the outset of Obsolete Beginings, the albums opening track, there is an atmospheric element to the core thrash sound, added progressive meanderings give it the natural Voivod feel. The End of Dormancy tells a sci-fi tale of alien invasion expansive thrashy grooves along with visionary lyrics keep you locked in.
Orb Confusion has more of an out and out thrash feel but with a heavy dose of punk, as much of that genre takes inspiration from. The Ramones meeting Annihilator mixed with the theming of this outlandish concept album.
Closing with an epic 12 full minutes of Sonic Mycelium, a feet even in Voivoid’s terms, rounds out the album perfectly. Mixing elements, riffs and themes from the proceeding 7 songs to finish the story with aplomb.
Overall the album is a work of art, a thought piece to provoke the modern human into thinking more about the world that surrounds them. Easy listening this is not, but if you are prepared to invest the time to fully digest the mastery before you, you will come out a better person for it. Voivod are here to stay and this album shows they still have what it takes.