By the gods! 5 years have passed since Voivod have released their album Target Earth. This release was a trial by fire for their new guitarist, the legendary Dan Mongrain of Martyr, who also played on Gorguts’ From Wisdom to Hate album. That being said, you will instantly realize the sheer size of the guitar giant, loyal to Voivod. Their latest album, The Wake was released on September 21st via Century Media Records. We didn’t hesitate for a second to review this masterpiece (that’s right, a 56 minute long masterpiece)!
The intro noise from the opening track Obsolete Beings might trick you into thinking that you’ve accidentally played Voivod’s song Rise (that’s how similar these intros are!). This tune starts with a beautiful guitar chord spiced with Snake’s masterful vocals. The whole catchy vibe that surrounds it is expanded with Dan Mongrain’s masterful solo. Obsolete Beings is an energetic song with a few riffs that carry the whole song in a straigth-forward mode. Melodic break that follows makes the whole thing shining! The End of Dormancy starts with this chunky, dissonant guitar riff. Snake’s industrial sounding vocal line makes the whole thing creepy! And he is the one who carries the flag in this one! The beat of war-drums that follow simply makes the tension start pumping and then the whole band erupts in a metallic assault, followed by Mongrain’s masterful, dissonant-oozing solo. This song has a The Residents meets Primus vibe. Orb of Confusion is written to allude to King Crimson mixed with classic Voivod inputs. Regarding the singing, Snake had really outdone himself! Hands down! With every second, Chewy’s guitar is spewing these magnificent guitar chords and as always, his solo is mind-boggling. Iconspiracy is kind of an exception to the rule - simplistic guitar riff followed by Away’s double-bass pounding behind the drums. The song then goes through this shredding-chord mode. It seems like Snake really put a lot of effort in choruses throughout the whole album! The guy is on top of his game! And yeah, those violins match the vibe of the whole song perfectly! All the metal madness already mentioned is interrupted by an eerie intro which can be heard in the song, Spherical Perspective. The song starts with with these weird guitar chords that match Snake’s singing well. Once again, he gives the listeners an over-the-top, catchy chorus that won’t need much time in order to get stuck in your head forever! Dissonant notes are all over the track! Chewyy’s guitar riffs have always been faithful to Piggy’s guitar legacy. One of the last parts of the song is again influenced by King Crimson’s highly dissonant works. Event Horizon starts with a cocky, jazz fusion-sounding riff followed with some major bass pounding! Even though it’s filled with plenty of noisy riffs, the song then evolves into a sonic fury worthy of your headbanging. The palm muted guitar riff creates this "calm before the storm" effect, as the guitars are getting louder and louder.
Always Moving is one of the thrashiest tunes from The Wake. Odd time signatures and pure brutality of thrash metal aesthetics are all of a sudden abolished by clean guitars, floating-in-space effects and Snake’s melancholic singing. The song is filled with these weird as fuck noisy guitar licks. And all of this noise is once again washed away by the awesome singing by Snake and one of the jazziest Chewy solos on this release (the guitar effect reminds of Pat Metheny a bit). Sonic Mycelium is by far the longest track, as well as being very hypnotic. It starts with this beautiful melody (the very same melody which can be heard in song Obsolete Beings). The magic is interrupted by an aggressive-sounding bass and Away’s drumming that clears the path for, yet again, dissonant guitar riffs. Chord progressions that follow make a bit of relief to the ears of the listeners as dissonance kicks in once again (this time embodied by the riffs from the song The End of Dormancy and Orb of Confusion). In fact, this song incorporates riffs from all the previous ones. And yeah, the whole thing ends with a beautiful string orchestra piece, composed by Chewy.
Voivod’s The Wake is, by far, one of the best albums released this year. It seems like, even though Piggy is not with us anymore, the band still manages to make, what we will call in the future, classic albums. The production of The Awake is absolutely phenomenal! It’s a huge step forward when compared with the production of Target Earth, that’s for sure! The album is produced in a way that it gives you this eerie, creepy feel to the whole thing.The only objection to this album is that the bass should have been louder! I mean, it sounds great when nobody else is playing! And by the way, we’ve just interviewed Away, Snake and Chewy so if you are interested in the concept of The Wake, check these interviews out! The Wake shows that the whole band is constantly evolving. Voivod is not afraid of bringing new ideas on the table! A lot of bands should learn from them! After all, we are talking about a magnificent release brought to us by Canadian thrash metal gods. Pick up your copy as soon as possible!!