Reviews : Albums : Voivod, "Lives"

Voivod, "Lives"

This is Voivod's first and only live release so far, and it actually contains three different sets on it, although they are all rather short but we'll take them in order instead of lumping them together.

The first set is from the 1996 Dynamo festival and features the songs Insect, Tribal Convictions, Nanoman and Nuclear War. The set list here is my favorite of the three as it features two songs off Negatron and two classics. The two Negatron songs are amazing as the sound is wonderful and Eric Forrest sounds even more pissed off live. This energy of his also works very well on Nuclear War however his vocals do run into a problem on Tribal Convictions. He is not suited to clean singing which is what most of Dimension Hatross and Nothingface use. I know Angel Rat and Outer Limits use those too but does anyone go to see Voivod to hear those albums? The music is wonderful on Dimension but the vocals are ill suited for the song. However this is a rare misstep by Voivod. Piggy and Away are of course nothing short of brilliant, which I know I would be jaded to if they weren't so consistently good. Also if there is a better way to end a set than Nuclear War I don't want to know what it is.

The second set is from a 1996 at CBGB's and features the songs Planet Hell, Negatron, Project X, Cosmic Conspiracy, Ravenous Medicine, Voivod, and a Venom cover In League With Satan. First let me take a moment to kick myself for not being at this show as I am right in the area. The sound is pretty good on this recording, which is never a given at CB's. Trust me on this. Too bad they didn't do one of my favorites off Negatron on this album, Reality? Still I do like this setlist as it has something off Killing Technology and of course the song that started it all, Voivod. Too bad they decided to end the set with the Venom cover as I personally think all bands should end a live set with an original. Throwing a cover in the middle is one thing but the last song is usually supposed to be the high note of the evening. Going out with a cover almost seems like a lack of confidence in their original material, something Voivod should never have.

The third set is from a Swedish TV appearance in 1999 featuring The Prow and Forlorn. There is no reason for The Prow to be on here as Angel Rat simply isn't that good. Eric Forrest's clean vocals had improved enough that he could pull the song off live, but it simply isn't a very good song. They more than make up for this with Forlorn off the classic of madness that is Phobos. The sound on both recordings is perfect but on Forlorn they manage to pull off one of the screwier songs on one of the most chaotic albums I've ever heard. I have no idea how they managed to do this live, but I wish I could have seen it. As much as I love Snake, I simply can't see him pulling off material off of Negatron and Phobos.

While I would have preferred a live album where all of the material came from the same set to give an idea of the length and breadth of their career this isn't hurt by the fact that this is culled from a couple different live sets. This is also further proof that no matter how you like your metal, Voivod probably has at least one album for you.