• Tight chemistry guiding through weird soundscapes - A review of Voivod's ''Post Society''

    Voivod - Post Society (2016)

    Voivod's lovely crafted new EP ''Post Society'' is both a logical continuation of the previous full length output ''Target Earth'' and another return to the band's progressive thrash metal outputs of the late eighties and the mellower progressive rock albums of the early nineties. If compared to the material on the immediate predecessor, the new songs are a little bit more complex and need quite a few spins to open up to the listener. This doesn't take anything away from the consistent high quality of each tune and Voivod fans are used to be open-minded and patient anyway. 

    The consistency of the new material is surprising since the band went through a major line-up change since the last release. Original bassist Jean-Yves ''Blacky'' Thériault left for the second time and was replaced by Dominique ''Rocky'' Laroche who usually plays for blues musician Steve Hill. ''Post Society'' is a perfect introduction to the new member. His bass guitar play is as distinctive and technical as Blacky's and the sound of the instrument is even more prominent and vivid in the mix than on the last release. His skills perfectly harmonize with Michel ''Away'' Langevin's precise and tight drumming. The two musicians sound as concise as if they had been working together for a lifetime. This perfect chemistry of the rhythm instruments is supported by more memorable dystopian guitar riffs and psychedelic solos by Daniel ''Chewy'' Mongrain and the unusual vocal lines by Denis ''Snake'' Bélanger who varies between his aggressive, raw and spontaneous approach and his more eerie, hypnotizing and psychedelic skills. 

    As a matter of fact, all four new songs vary between powerful up-tempo parts and floating progressive breaks. This mixture probably works best on ''We Are Connected'' which is more than just a reference to ''Killing Technology'' but an adventurous space rock trip that summarizes the band's unique sound in seven and a half diversified minutes that never let the listener go. This song is easily one of the best in the band's entire career. The rawest song on the new output is without a doubt the straight and discordant up-tempo title track ''Post Society'' where Rocky's bass play really dominates while Chewy delivers some of his most uneasily intense riffs since he joined Voivod. Despite all the madness that is going on musically, Snake delivers the record's most gripping vocal parts on here. This is another standout song that any Voivod fan should adore. ''Fall'' starts like a melancholic ballad with poetic spoken word passages going back to the style of ''Angel Rat''. The extraterrestrial guitar solo towards the end is one of the best of its kind in recent memory. Despite some truly original songwriting and numerous amazing melodies, the track doesn't get as much to the point as the best songs on Voivod's mellowest and most underrated record released twenty-five years earlier. ''Forever Mountain'' is slower and more plodding and rather reminds of ''The Outer Limits'' era in its calmer moments. The track focuses much more on its psychedelic and progressive parts and is less poignant than the other songs on this release. It's still a very good song but not as outstanding as the other three. As a little bonus, the band offers a cover of Hawkwind's space rock anthem ''Silver Machine'' and honours the late Lemmy Kilmister in a great way. Their version of the classic perfectly captures the cool, liberating and rebellious spirit of the original but manages to add Voivod's technical brillance, epic space sound and dystopian melodies to the track. This balanced mixture is a prime example for a well-executed cover song. Obviously, this track is by far the catchiest tune on the release and is a welcome change of style after Voivod's four original tunes which are much more complex.

    In the end, this EP is a mandatory buy for any fan of the band. I'm aware of the fact that the physical version is hard to find and rather expensive but it's definitely worth the chase. All four new tracks plus the cover song are at least very good, the production suits the band very well and the fitting cover artwork is the cherry on the cake. Those who don't have any physical release from the band yet should also buy this exciting record since it brings Voivod's diversified soundscapes to the point and returns to the band's most influential records from the mid-eighties to the early nineties. The band sounds as inspired and hungry as ever and I can't wait for the next full-length release with this promising, new line-up.

    Final rating: 90%

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