Monday, November 27, 2023

Voivod - Ultraman EP (2022)

Two of my favorite things, together at last? I've made no secret of my love for Canadian sci-fi thrashers Voivod, they are my favorite band by an order of magnitude, but I'm also a huge fan of tokusatsu shows like the legendary Ultraman. In fact, the genre has been having a bit of a renaissance lately, with Stateside Blu Rays and DVDs for series from Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, Gridman, and especially the dozens of Mill Creek releases of Ultraman shows spanning the last 50-60 years. Young autothrall would have killed to get some of this growing up, there were a few shows available to watch on TV, but usually it was fansubs only when the internet arrived, and I was never big into the Power Rangers adaptations, the original Japanese shows they were culled from were just far whackier and more entertaining.

But yeah, it doesn't surprise me that the coolest band ever shares this passion, and they mete out a split medley of 9 versions of the Ultraman theme, shifting between instrumental and vocal versions, with a few different languages in there too. It's fun, but obviously this is a novelty, much like their old cover of "Batman" which was weirdly relevant to their 80s evolution. The themes are really short, and play it fairly close to the originals, but there's a slight edge of innovation in the guitars, and Snake's punk-wrought vocal style is a smooth fit, turning them into this almost space-surf-punk feel.  For the B-side, they've included a pair of 2018 live recordings of "Voivod" and "Overreaction" that sound phenomenal, with great angry vocals, booming bass and shuffling percussion to support Chewy's energized renditions, you even get a Piggy chant from the band and audience if I'm not mistaken. All told, the Ultraman EP will have a limited appeal, the A-side is a little repetitive and it's obviously not as powerful as their original material, but it's a cute collector's item to hang on your wall, and one wonders what might happen if they put out a whole album covering obscure sci-fi/superhero themes, maybe some prog and such. Earns a big smile, but not really mandatory beyond its collectible nature, there's just so little to it.

Verdict: Indifference [6.25/10]

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