Reviews : Albums : Voivod, "Katorz"

Voivod, "Katorz"

Voivod have returned, from beyond the grave to boot. Well this is only partially true as you well know guitarist Piggy succumbed to stomach cancer before the recording of this album was completed. However they soldiered on without him, using tracks that he had completed in the studio beforehand, as well as some material he had recorded on his own and left behind for the band. I remember Away stating that he had left behind about four albums worth of material for the band to use, which I of course hope they do. The name is a corruption of the French word Quatorze, which means 14. This is of course Voivod's fourteenth album, COINCIDENCE!?

Now for the record itself. This really comes down to whether or not you liked the last one since this is more of the same heavy rock that made the last one a joy to my ears. This is a bit stranger to my ears as it has a bit of Dimension Hatross thrown into the Nothingface/Angel Rat mixture they used last time. The guitar is amazing, of course. Pardon me while I take a moment to fly into a rage about how he is never mentioned in the conversation of greatest guitarists. Not best metal guitarists, but best guitarists period. He remind me of Jimi Hendrix, not in style but in the way that I have never heard anyone who sounds remotely like him. I think my favorite part of the album from him has to be the main riffs to the ninth song The X-Stream. It's not the most original thing ever, but it gets the blood going nicely. Glen Robinson, who also produced Nothingface for the band, put a really nice finish on the record since Piggy's usual stellar work is balanced by a nice thick bass sound that you can almost taste. Metallica really screwed the pooch by burying Newsted all these years, because the man can play. Not that he could have saved those awful records, but they would have had a kickass bass sound at least. Away lends his usual precision muscle to the rhythm section. I've always felt he was a criminally underrated drummer as well. Snake is the one thing that is different from the last record however. He sounds a lot better than he did on the last album. I don't know if it's just the production or his voice has bounced back. He sounded a little burnt on the last record but he comes through very nicely here. He still has the rough edge on the throat, but he sounds rough, not hoarse. Like I said if you hate the last record then you won't find much here to enjoy, but if you liked the last one just a solid slab of heavy rock instead of expecting a return to Killing Technology then this a damn fine record.