VOIVOD — Morgöth Tales (review)

VOIVOD — Morgöth Tales album cover Album · 2023 · Technical Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
UMUR
"Morgöth Tales" is the sixteenth full-length studio album by Canadian, Québec based progressive metal/thrash metal act Voivod. The album was released through Century Media Records in July 2023. It´s the successor to "Synchro Anarchy" from February 2022. "Morgöth Tales" is not a studio album featuring new original material though. It´s instead a re-recording album featuring re-recordings of 9 tracks originally recorded and released between 1983-2003 plus one new original composition (titled "Morgöth Tales").

The current incarnation of Voivod have played together for the last 9 years (bassist Dominique "Rocky" Laroche being the last member to join in 2014), and the band have toured quite a lot in those years. They´ve obviously had a wish to show their fans how this version of the band interprete some of the band´s classic tracks, instead of just releasing another best-of compilation album (they´ve already been there and done that). This is also a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the release of the band´s first demo "Anachronism" from June 1983.

The tracklist is presented in chronological order with the oldest tracks first. "Condemned to the Gallows" opens "Morgöth Tales". It´s a track which originally appeared on the January 1984 "To the Death!..." demo, and which subsequently also would appear on the "Metal Massacre V" various artists compilation (Metal Blade Records, 1984), which helped spread Voivod´s name. Along with "Thrashing Rage" from Voivod´s second album "Rrröööaaarrr" (Combat Records, March 1986) which follows as track number two on "Morgöth Tales", "Condemned to the Gallows" represents the early punk/hardcore influenced speed/thrash metal years of Voivod´s discography. Raw, savage, and aggressive. The re-recordings are of course a lot more polished and you can actually hear all details, which isn´t always possible on the raw early releases from Voivod, and personally I enjoy these re-recordings tremendously...but then again I was never much of a fan of the early Voivod releases, so fans of those releases may find these re-recordings a bit too polished and clean.

The title track from "Killing Technology" (Noise Records, April 1987) follows along with "Macrosolutions to Megaproblems" from "Dimension Hatröss" (Noise Records, June 1988), and both represent the technical/progressive thrash metal part of the band´s history. Both are great tracks, but I prefer the originals. Then comes "Pre-Ignition" from "Nothingface" (MCA Records, October 1989), with it´s almost avant-garde technical/progressive metal sound. "Nothingface" is such a weird and unique album, that not even Voivod have ever been able to make anything like it since. "Nuage Fractal" from "Angel Rat" (MCA Records, November 1991) and "Fix My Heart" from "The Outer Limits" (MCA Records, August 1993) represent Voivod´s psychadelic progressive metal phase and both re-recordings work well. "Rise" from "Phobos" (Hypnotic Records, August 1997) is the only track on "Morgöth Tales" from the Eric Forrest-led era of the band´s history, and the re-recorded version actually features both bass and vocals recorded by Forrest. It´s a decent re-recording but a bit redundant to my ears as the original was already a badass heavy and aggressive song. "Morgöth Tales" closes with "Rebel Robot" from the eponymously titled album (Chophouse Records, March 2003) and features Jason Newsted on bass, and the new original track titled "Morgöth Tales". The former is as faceless as the original from 2003 and the latter is a pretty good quality 2023 Voivod track, which pretty much sounds like the material from "Synchro Anarchy" (Century Media Records, February 2022).

Upon conclusion the idea to re-record some of the classics from Voivod´s back catalogue isn´t a bad one. Personally I prefer the originals (except for the re-recordings of the early tracks, which are pretty great) but these versions are generally both well performed and arranged too. I have a minor issue with the way the drums are produced as they sound a little thin and clicky, but that´s probably an aquired taste. Other than that "Morgöth Tales" is a good quality release and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
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