Voivod – The Wake (Century Media)Wednesday, 19th September 2018
Admired for blazing their own trails when it came to disparate, oddly shaped chord combinations that could pulsate, progress, and conjure up dynamic atmosphere in light and dark textures – Voivod run to their creative desires on their own accord. Not chasing trends, they’ve released a remarkably vast discography that is diverse beyond the decades. One can still listen to landmark efforts like Killing Technology, Dimension Hatross, or the last full-length Target Earth and gain new insight and clarity with every pass. The Wake as the latest effort appears to envelop as a celebration of all aspects for Voivod – spacious and progressive, alluring and abrasive at times, while occasionally congealing in this melodic smoothness to bring the listeners into the musical universe with care and comfort.
When it comes to the songwriting, the textures of driving guitars against nimble bass mechanics give Away in the drum department a sense of free-floating freedom – the man can sit back and groove or propel his playing forward in creative, progressive fills that blend alternative or jazz/tribal approaches. Check out “Orb Confusion” for a textbook lesson on shape shifting jagged riffs against blissful transitions, an emotive lead break that sprinkles bends against the notes, while Snake’s vocals match the forcefulness or outer dimension scope accurately. Orchestration against frantic drumming punctuates the mid-section of “Iconspiracy” as the guitars build into extreme metal intensity before returning to a progressive thrash stance – the twists reaching Morse Code nuances almost in homage to forefathers like Rush. Your brain can process multiple notations track to track, but it probably will take a solid eight to ten playbacks to often grasp the subtle nuances of layering that take place in favorites like “Spherical Perspective” and the epic 12:24 closer “Sonic Mycelium”. It’s the shades of grey throughout where Voivod shine – stretching out instrumental aspects, setting up subsequent arrangements with a specific mood alteration to surprise the listener in anticipation of what takes place next. At eight songs and 55 minutes, there is enough material to process and absorb without feeling overload or exhaustion – not an easy process given the cerebral and progressive nature of what Voivod give as musicians to their audience.
Voivod in 2018 gain the added appeal of intriguing a second and possibly third generation of followers that understand the diverse appeal of such an outside the box band. The Wake will hit many album of the year favorite lists – proving that the veterans still deliver quality product this deep into their prolific career.