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Album Review : VoiVod: Morgöth Tales

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Review by Paddy Gallagher

There are some notable bands who, despite writing genre defining and highly influential material never quite broke big, continuing to carve their careers out flying under most radars but at the same time courting rave musings from fellow musicians, fans and the clued-in members of the music press. Quebec’s Juno Award Winners VoiVod are one of these bands.

How to define their music? That is part of their allure. Progressive Metal, Thrash, Speed and Technical Thrash, Sci-Fi Metal and Avant-Garde Metal labels have been bandied about labels a plenty, but it’s unfair to pigeon hole them into labels; again, all part of their allure. Never tying themselves down to one genre, their next release could be Alternative in its leanings; you never could tell until it’s release.

Formed by guitarist Piggy (Denis D’Amour) and Blacky (Jean-Yves Thériault) and soon joined by Away (Michel Langevin) they took a one-year break until Blacky and away were proficient enough on their instruments, vocalist Snake (Denis Bélanger) came on board they cut their debut album “War and Pain” in 1984 having signed to Metal Blade Records after the legendary Brian Slagel discovered them.

Morgöth Tales is a celebration of the band’s 40 years in existence and features 10 songs, 9 of which are re-recordings of deep cuts from their back catalogue, along with a new song, the title track “Morgöth Tales”. The 9 re-recorded songs all coming from albums made prior to the untimely and tragic death of Piggy in 2005.

We start with a drum roll and a chunky riff signalling “Condemned to the Gallows” from the Metal Massacre V Compilation released in 1984 before “Thrashing Rage” from the album “Rrröööaaarrr” before the robotic lyric “We are connected….” launches us into the title track from 1987’s “Killing Technology”.

“Macrosolutions to Megaproblems” from “Dimension Hatröss” highlights their oft changing time signatures, jazzy riffage, frenzied drumming, disjointed and modified nuances. “Pre-Ignition” from the commercially successful and critically acclaimed “Nothingface” album showcased their signature sound before, in true VoiVod fashion, a change in musical direction for 1991’s “Angel Rat” and the song featured here, “Nuage Fractal”. “Fix My Heart” from “The Outer Limits” (1993) continues in a Prog Rock like vein, and a Doomy vibe “Rise” from “Phobos” (1997).

“Rebel Robot” from 2003’s “Voivod” is the only track here that originated during the Jasonic years of 2001 – 2008, having left Metallica, Jason Newsted pitched his tent with his old comrades having previously contributed song ideas to the band, he would indeed continue his affiliation with VoiVod after his departure in 2008 making a few appearances on stage with them. This was the last album to be released during Piggy’s life, he would succumb to cancer in 2005, a devastating blow.

Track 10 is the title track and new track; “Mongöth Tales” and reflects the experimental nature of the band’s song writing at this juncture in time.

The cacophonous arrangements and disjointed sounds may not, like many great albums, make for a relaxing listen, but with the headphones on and the world shut out, concentration maximum, VoiVod remind us again of their prestige and influence in this musical world of ours.

A fine addition for the completists’ collection and a fine place to introduce a newbie to these innovators. Treat yourself to a celebration of a band’s career, a band instrumental in the development of the more avant-garde end of Progressive Metal.

VOIVOD line-up:
Dominic “Rocky” Laroche – Bass
Michel “Away” Langevin – Drums
Denis “Snake” Bélanger – Vocals
Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain – Guitar
 
VOIVOD online:
http://voivod.com
http://www.facebook.com/Voivod
http://www.instagram.com/voivodofficial 
https://twitter.com/voivoddotnet

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