It was early 2013 when we last got a Voivod album, the excellent Target Earth and the band have been busy tearing it up live since then. Luckily hunger has been abated catching them a few times. They hit the stage on the high profile Deathcrusher tour with Carcass, Obituary and Napalm Death and are currently laying waste to the USA headlining with Vektor and Eight Bells in support. Now they have gone and dropped this 5 track EP in our laps, a stop gap till the next album and on the strength of it they are gearing up to unleash a beast in the future.
The first thing we get hit by is some really chunky and crusty bass on the opening track Post Society. Blacky may have departed once more in 2014 but Rocky has got his trademark blower sound nailed down nicely here as this one rattles out the cage. Sci-fi technical licks peel out and Snake harmoniously adds to a quickly infectious melody, that’s going to be embedded in your head after a couple of listens. It’s an upbeat and somewhat frantic track, a perfect opening salvo and the fastest on offer here. There’s no mistaking it, this can be the sound of only one band and comes out of the past and into the present perfectly solidifying the two as the work of a band 33 years into their lifespan and as relevant today as they were when they first roared away. A downbeat doomy section lingers in the middle before jagged guitar-work picks up and some neat soloing progressively saunters out the speakers. There’s quite a lot going on in this one but it all gels together fluidly before going out as it came in, in a blaze of fiery glory. Perfect! Lyrically ‘Forever Mountain’ has a definite message illustrated by the opening lines “Don’t give up, son Never stop Climb that rock, son To the top.” It’s all about overcoming adversity, something this band are all too knowledgeable about unfortunately. It’s got a craggy mid-paced stomp about it with thick bass coating the ice and some giddy shimmering guitar work. There’s also a solemn feel about it in the vocal parts as it hits some gloomy melody but this is swept aside by some shredding riffs and plenty of instrumental technicality. It seems like a song from the heart and all the more personal than one would expect but it works really well. After reaching the summit and nobody can deny they got there, the inevitable ‘Fall’ comes next and it is really tinged with misery as Snake wrings his sorrow out. This gives way to choppy and angry riffs as his voice rises, it’s still slow and craggy but you are aware it is building up to unleash a veritable storm. This it does with some really convoluted Voivodian instrumentation that lurches all over the shop but sounds glorious. They haven’t exactly got rid of the blues here conventionally but they sure as hell are giving them a workout.
‘We Are Connected’ sounds like a classic Voivod number by title and although not quite it is the track they launched recently as a double sided single with At The Gates and have played live so déjà vu is natural. Coming back to it now it sounds even more solid than on first couple of exposures and if you missed out on the single it’s great to have it here. Not quite done yet and giving you a good half hour of material Voivod tread a path that many others have gone down prior to them and take us into space with a cover of Hawkwind’s biggest hit Silver Machine. Sure you have probably heard it as many times as you have the original of 21st Century Schizoid Man but like that it’s great to hear a band that are worthy of covering it giving their own interpretation and sure enough you will be singing along in double quick time. As far as this is concerned it’s highly worth going to the outer limits and in search of space and discover it all for yourself! naturally Away’s cover art rules too.
(8/10 Pete Woods)