Monday, June 04, 2012

Record Review: The Outer Limits by Voivod

Many of you know my love of both progressive rock and metal and of course their combination.  I have mentioned Voivod in the past but I wanted to give a focus to their outer limits record here.  Voivod are sort of the velvet underground of metal, not very well know but with many fans that are musicians.  God even Ryan Adams has expressed being a fan of theirs.  It's really funny as bands like Dream Theater, Queensryche and to a lesser extend Fates Warning all had success with the prog metal sound.  Voivod was always an outsider, though their sound was actually far nearer to traditional prog rock than the others, well at least in the progressive arch of Nothingface, Angel Rat and The outer limits.

Perhaps the biggest difference her was Voivod kept an edge that was often lost in other prog metal bands.  In a word dissonance! Where prog metal often flows naturally into power metal this was never true for Voivod.  They weir raw, weird and something else all together.

The Other limits was the last of Voivod's progressive arch and the last record to feature Snake.  Blacky had left the band prior to this recording, and while I love his bass and miss it here, there is good bass work on the record.  Away and Piggy are here of course adding what no one else could.  Again Away has taken the art duties here, with the inner art being all 3D.  Even my tape came with wee little red and blue glasses so it was pretty fun.  Away has a unique and spooky style, I think the only cover art like his is Skinny Puppy's Too Dark Park.

This record is dissonant but a lot less distorted than their other work.  Some have said its not has metal but I disagree.  I think Angel Rat is not near as hard as The Outer Limits.  In any event these are not the Rockers of Nothingface and Dimension Hatross.  The songs are often long and it wouldn't be Voivod if they were not spacey.

I will not be covering all the songs one the record but i will call out three.  I really love their Pink Floyd covers they really get the feel right.  They took on Astronomy Dominae in Nothingface and here they tackle The Nile Song.  They rock it hard! The song goes from Pink Floyd's airy buzz to an absolute murk.  I always think of a camera going through swamp water when I hear the song the sound is so raw and sludgy.  When piggy's solo cuts through its almost like a golden glowing thread distinct and pure in the murk but there in it too.

Voivod often hits upon this sad and dark french cabaret sound, almost like the Bone Daddy band in The nightmare before Christmas.  They do again in Le Pont Noir they paint a picture here that almost feels like you have walked through the scream and gone to lunch in the city behind. 

Finally there is the one song that I am not so fond of, Moonbeam Rider.  This was a little too pop and goofy for me.  It is just a pretty regular song, not really proggy not really metal.  It almost seems like they are singing about the silver surfer and comic books have never been my thing.  It doesn't ruin the record just not my taste.  I would write about Jack Luminous but I think many people have covered it on the web and I don't know if I really need to.

No comments: