The Nuclear Blast Recordings
Canadian prog-thrashers’ mid-00s career repackaged.
Voivod were the thinking person’s thrash metal band, even if there weren’t enough thinking people in thrash metal to elevate them to Metallica levels of success.
By the early 00s the Canadian band had settled into a comfortable, cult-shaped pocket. Original singer Denis ‘Snake’ Belanger was back in the fold after spending the 90s in the
wilderness, helping his former bandmates relocate their sci-fi prog-thrash mojo in the process, while the line-up had been bolstered by a heavyweight addition in the shape of former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted.
The two albums Voivod made in the second half of the 00s, 2006’s Katorz and 2009’s Infini, continued the interstellar journey that had begun in the early 80s. Both sit squarely in the upper end of their back catalogue quality-wise, but they were undercut by a poignancy – they included the last recordings made by original guitarist Denis
‘Piggy’ D’Amour before his death from cancer in 2005.
It’s Piggy’s maverick spirit that dominates the two albums, combined in this two-CD package. His brittle, jazzy guitar playing provides the compass for his band to follow on Mr Clean and God Phones, allowing them to spiral off into other dimensions, musical and otherwise. There’s nothing in the way of additional material to bulk out this reissue, but these two albums stand as a fine epitaph to one of metal’s great unsung visionaries.