Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Voivod - Post Society EP (2016)

I hadn't needed any further reminders that Voivod was one of the greatest bands of all time, but they were going to give me one anyway, 35 years into a career that is virtually spotless. The Post Society EP provides more evidence that in some scant cases, when the passion is there, and the willingness, that one can survive even the most traumatic of losses and come out swinging from the stars. That's not to say that post-Piggy Voivod is ever going to rival the band's flawless 1987-1989 evolutionary triptych, but the tunes here are very likely the best time I've had with the band since that era, even though almost every other studio effort they've released since then has been a great source of enjoyment (barring Negatron).

To be clear, Post Society is not an entirely 'fresh' or innovative landmark in their legacy, it's more or less a love letter to the Dimension Hatröss sound, elevated in its own way by Chewy's penchant for elegant, precision licks that honor his predecessor with almost every note selection. At its fastest and most frenzied, as in the title track or "We Are Connected", it might seem a fraction more technical than some of their 80s material, but clearly there are several dissonant patterns here that definitely 'check the boxes' and seem to have an almost direct lineage to that warped, groovy, alien history. But it's also cleaner cut, much like Target Earth, with a punchy but smooth mix to the guitars that seems nonthreatening but still very much otherworldly...I often struggle to believe that these gentlemen were musically developed on my own planet, and I can think of no greater compliment. Post Society might be an attractive package, but even if it can't hope to be as abrasive, raw or furious as Killing Technology, it still reflects that you've just stepped into that same unique space in the metalsphere.

I can sing praises to Mongrain's performance all day long, but the MVP here might have to go to new bassist Rocky, aka Dominique Laroche, who's distorted grooves and tone also recall his own forebear (Blacky) with pride. Having that supremely entertaining post-punk undercurrent to the music really fattens up its efficacy, drawing out the band's atavism for their its earlier years, and boundless with its extraterrestrial energies. Snake's vocals also sound just as effective as ever, not in the raw, repulsive sense of the first two albums, but he's still got the melody and punkiness of their 90s era, and the guy has always been a little underrated at how well he makes use of a fairly limited range. Away is as tight as you might expect behind his kit, but where the guy really earns his merit badge here is in how he's created the greatest, most evocative artwork they've used since Dimension Hatröss and the older albums. It might seem simple with its black and silver finish, but I could stare at that image all day, wowed and terrified in equal measures, and the newish logo looks great with it.

If I'm docking Post Society a few points for anything at all, it's that a few seconds worth of licks are dangerously close to others they've used in the past, but also because the band's cover of Hawkwind's "Silver Machine", which rounds out the EP, just cannot hope to live up to the band's own material. It's a fitting piece for Voivod, and the timing couldn't be better with the passing of one of its creators, who also happened to be God. But even though I love the original, it's simply too to 'basic' to sit behind the 25 minutes of varied, imaginative songwriting that precedes it. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a stain on the disc, since it's a solid cover, but they'd have had to take a lot more liberties with how they presented it to keep it consistent with the rest. Still, I think a lot of folks will find it adequate and respectable, certainly suited to the Canadians' lyrical themes and sci-fi aural aesthetics, and it's easily forgiven considering just how goddamn great everything else turned out.

Verdict: Epic Win [9.5/10]
(stay in your lane)


No comments: