When guitarist Piggy succumbed to colon cancer in 2005 during the piecing together of the Katorz album it pretty much looked as though it was game over for Voivod. It seems the big man had other ideas. After his death it turns out he had been recording another album’s worth of guitar lines onto his laptop as well as detailed notes as to each song’s structure for what he clearly intended as his true swansong. What he’d put down was clearly enough for the remaining members of the band, including returning bassist Blacky after a 17 year hiatus, to reconvene and piece together one last collection of songs for this final Voivod album as we know them.
Far from being a cobbled together collection of songs made from scratch recordings, this is a fully realised and cohesive album that actually surpasses the previous outings, 2003’s “Voivod” album and 2006’s “Katorz”. Piggy was clearly keeping the best for last!!! Piecing this collection together from Piggy’s recordings must have been a painstaking task for the band but as a labour of love this is a triumph. Piggy, it would seem, not only laid down the sketches for each song but layered the rhythm tracks and added solos where he intended them to be.
One thing that can be said about Voivod is that, aside from their prog leanings, this is a band that has progressed through the years from their raw thrash inception to the discordant art metal of “Dimension Hatross” and “Nothingface” to the more laid back psychedelic leanings of “Angel Rat” and “Outer Limits” to the heavier Eric Forrest years and to the reunion with Snake that sees the band adopt a more straight up rocking sound that’s still clearly unmistakably Voivod.
This album does seem to be the point that the reunited band have been aiming for since the early part of the decade, not that the previous two albums were bad by any means. Both were fine slices of melodic heavy rock but failed to match up to the original band’s groundbreaking work. Infini, on the other hand, given some time to sink in, may well sit alongside “Angel Rat” and “Dimension Hatross” in the fans’ estimation. The songs here continue with the more stripped back approach of later years but reintroduce some of the more esoteric leanings of the past. Each song has a strong succinct structure that the older material may have foregone but the riffs here are as catchy as hell while adopting a quirky approach. This approach obviously suits Snake down to a tee as he delivers a set of vocals with a power and presence that he lacked on the previous two albums. His voice has matured with age to retain the rawness of the “Killing Technology” era but with more depth and tone that allows him to switch from a sinister croon to a throaty roar at the drop of a hat.
It’s also good to hear Blacky back in the fold. It’s easy to overlook his contributions in the past but revisit those older albums and you’ll hear some truly remarkable and inventive playing that was clearly at the core of the original band alongside Away’s Neil Peart of thrash drumming.
It’s hard to pick out a stand out track here, there isn’t a duff one in sight, whether it’s the stomp of opener “God Phones”, the old school thrash out of album closer “Volcano”, the atmospheric grind of “Morpheous” or “Room with a V.U” or the catchy refrains of “Earthache”, “Global Warning”, “Treasure Chase” or “Krap Radio” this is a master class in metal at its best.
Piggy will be much missed and this is clearly the end of an era for the band but as they continue to tour with Piggy clone Dan Mongrain who knows what the future will hold. If, however, this is the end of the road as far as recorded output goes they couldn’t have gone out on a brighter note.
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall