Album Review: Voivod, "Angel Rat"

VOIVOD are unpredictable – an immensely strange talent who were instrumental in the development of the techno-Metal/Thrash sound. Over the years their playing has progressed and developed through five LPs tackling the ongoing saga of the 'voivod,' the mythical creature they wove their musical adventures around. The new LP Angel Rat, on MCA and their sixth, represents a complete departure from both the 'voivod' story and also their past noisy musical style.

Angel Rat is no less strangely intelligent concept wise. They have based the lyrics on some Irish and Russian folk tales, and primarily on the Chaos Theory by James Gleick – heavy stuff indeed. Music-wise, it is a shock – 12 very complex melodies evident as usual, but the whole direction of the sound has changed. Perhaps it reflects Blacky's departure from the group. Now sporting three members: Piggy, Away, and Snake, the new Voivod is moody, melodic, harmonious, and layered.

A listen to the title track Angel Rat will reveal waves of melody. "What is this indie stuff?" my flatmate commented on hearing it. Hints of old memories of past incarnations of Voivod – the vocals but now softly matured, and tinges of their distinctive old guitar sound, drift in and out of the new manicured style.

I felt compelled to play RRRoooaaarrr and Killing Technology after listening to this, just to judge how wide the chasm between the old and the new was. It was like trying to compare LEONARD COHEN and MOTORHEAD. On their last tour in Canada, Voivod supported RUSH, once an inconceivable match – maybe this cemented their new sound.

I vaguely liked it – it is slightly boring and a remarkable change. It is a definite 'chill-out' record, and saying that VOIVOD have created a 'chill-out' record is staggering.


Marion Garden
Riff Raff
January 1992
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