Everyone knows the phrase “with triumph comes loss”, but as I listened to the most recent release by the band Voivod, I had to wonder if “with loss comes triumph” as well. The reason I bring this theory to light is due to the sad truth that the group would lose founder and riff wizard Denis “Piggy” D’Amour to colon cancer in August of 2005. Prior to his illness and throughout his treatment demos were written and worked on in hope that he would recover and the new recording could be completed and released for their fans. When this would not be a possibility anymore and Piggy succumbed to the illness and died, the band was faced with what should be done and more important – what would be right to do. Before his death, Piggy had instructed drummer Michel “Away” Langevin on the whereabouts of the demos and that he wanted this music completed and reach their fans. From there it would be far from simple, but yet it would be done and the results serve as a fitting reminder to the creative musician D’Amour was. It’s an interesting album that sounds quite good especially when you take into account the means that it was recorded and what the members had available to them to do it. From the demos with Piggy’s last guitar work and Jason’s bass, drums were added by Michel while vocals were hammered out by “Snake” Belanger in his home. It is not the typical album creation scenario but the guys rose above it all. As you play this Hard Rock & Punk influenced album at any volume you will be hard-pressed to find any limitation to it. “Getaway” is a great opener and has a slight Motorhead vibe to which is never a bad thing and Snake has a great feel to his vocal here and on “After All” (two of my preferred tracks). An interesting observation to the recording is the tightness between bass and drums which was fantastic as while the two instruments are normally recorded together that was not possible for the demo work and found Michel figuring out the feel from the tapes. He shines through especially in how he slows down and speeds up as if he was sitting there with the other guys. The whole effort was then produced by Glen Robinson, who fans will remember from their killer album “Nothingface”. Musically, I guess that “Odds & Frauds” will be one of the most popular tracks along with “Polaroid’s” as the first is one of the catchiest and the latter is perhaps the trippiest of the albums music. The album as a whole is in the same direction that album and not like the early Thrash fests that the band used to deliver. Personally, I always preferred the direction that they were going with both “Nothingface” and “Angel Rat”, as the group was taking experimental journeys with their music that were both interesting very creative.
This would be the bands first release on The End Records and the label would be behind them for the whole process. Voivod had a strong fan base and you either loved them or hated them, as sometimes the change was too drastic for some listeners. Despite this you could never say that they were short on creativity and that’s what makes having this album worthwhile. Before he died, Piggy recorded 23 demo tracks and this recording has the first ten of them. The remaining songs will go through the same process that gave us “Katorz” and with them the world will be able to better appreciate the quality of player that Piggy was and the impact he had on many of Hard Rock and Metal’s finest.