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VOIVOD - Negatron
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VOIVOD "Negatron" [CD]

Thrash (1982-87), Progressive (1988-) from Canada
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Detailed Description
1995 album. Fan Review:

"After two albums that were more lightweight (both musically and production wise) in the beginning of the 90s, original vocalist Snake left Voivod. That was a big loss because Snake's voice was an important characteristic of the band's sound. When Voivod announced a new album with some guy called Eric Forrest taking over both bass and vocal duties I was very sceptical. Well, _Negatron? surprised me extremely positively. Not only is it a lot heavier and darker than the two preceding albums but Eric also proved to be a very capable vocalist who managed to preserve the Voivod magic. No one can be like Snake but this is as good a replacement as you'll get. Eric's throaty and pretty dry voice was exactly was this album needed. He also sounds like Snake during some parts, which I think is great.

The production is heavy as lead, sounding very close to the production of bands like Nevermore and Pantera. The guitars are thick and crushing (which really increases the impact of Piggy's signature dischords), the bass is distorted and the drums have that clinical triggered sound to them. The mood of this record is very bleak and oppressive. Lyric wise the band deals with technology, aliens, conspiracies, distrust of authorities and alienation. This is the usual Voivod stuff of course but this time I'd say the lyrics are more paranoid and apocalyptic than before.

Along with the considerable _heavification? of the production Voivod also wrote some of their most aggressive stuff since 1987's _Killing Technology? for this album. They even brought back the good old thrash which I thought they had abandoned for good. When you start listening to this album you immediately feel the punch of the production as the monstrous (dis)chords of _Insect? start slamming against your eardrums. After expecting something along the lines of _The Outer Limits? or possibly even softer from this album I was both dumbfounded and floored in a _Holy shit, this is HEAVY!? kind of way. For parts of _Insect? Eric successfully assumes a voice very reminiscent of Snake, e.g. the _People from the outside/Craving for utopia? part.

_Nanoman? is a mid-paced song with extremely heavy riffing and this is one of Voivod's catchiest songs ever due to its accessible and simple structure. _Reality?? is another straightforward song with good drive and Eric's high-pitched throaty vocals leading the way. This track also has some thrashy parts that are good for headbanging. The title track is slow and doomy for the most part (although it speeds up a bit in the middle) with a very claustrophobic feel to it. Eric puts on a good vocal performance on this song too, singing the verses with a twisted semi-clean voice and screaming powerfully in the chorus. _Meteor? starts with a flurry of meaty dischords courtesy of Piggy before launching into an all-out thrasher that is a guaranteed neckbreaker.

_Cosmic Conspiracy? brings back the doomy mood again. It starts with a great slow guitar melody, which soon gets joined by the drums and the bass. This part is one of my favourite ones on the whole album as it sounds fucking dark. Eric's vocals have some weird distortion on them during the first half of the song. It sounds as if his voice would be coming from inside a test chamber. The melody in the beginning is repeated a few more times later in the song, always to great effect. I'm fortunate enough to possess the Japanese version of _Negatron? which includes the bonus tracks _Vortex? and _Erosion?. _Vortex? is a heavy mid-tempo track with a great typically Voivod sounding muted main riff and Eric screaming his balls off in the chorus. _Erosion? has a fast thrash part in the middle after which Piggy plays a four-note guitar melody with lots of reverb on it that sounds like it could come from the _Killing Technology? days. Also otherwise I'd say that this track sounds like older Voivod stuff. _Negatron? has been re-released by Blackend but I don't know if this version contains the two bonus tracks.

The strange track on _Negatron? is _D.N.A. (Don't No Anything)?. It's a collaboration between Voivod and Jim Thirlwell who is known among other things for his electronic music project Foetus. This collaboration results in a track which mixes electronic music with metal and I must say that result is pretty interesting even if it for sure isn't my favourite track. Thirlwell also sings the vocals on _D.N.A.?. It's seldom that a band goes back to playing heavy after they've started moving in the opposite direction. Voivod did just this though and it was definitely the right way to go."

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