VOIVOD — The Wake (review)

VOIVOD — The Wake album cover Album · 2018 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
UMUR
"The Wake" is the 14th full-length studio album by Canadian progressive/thrash metal act Voivod. The album was released through Century Media Records in September 2018. It´s the successor to "Target Earth" from 2013 and features one lineup change as bassist Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault has been replaced by Dominic "Rocky" Laroche. Thériault´s second tenure with Voivod had not been without issues, and a change in personale was needed to keep the ship afloat. While it´s been 5 years since the release of "Target Earth (2013)", Voivod have not been dormant in the intermediate years, but have released a string of minor releases (singles, splits, and EPs), a compilation album, and a boxset, and they have toured quite a lot too.

"The Wake" continues the sci-fi themed progressive metal style of "Target Earth (2013)" and feels like a natural successor (although "Target Earth (2013)" is overall a little more raw and thrashy). It´s through and through the sound of Voivod. Creative dissonant guitar riffs and jazz/fusion influenced guitar solos, heavy bass lines, organic drumming, and lead vocalist Denis "Snake" Belanger´s distinct sounding vocals in front. Voivod were never an easy or accessible listen, and they haven´t eased up on the oddities or the adventurous and challenging songwriting on "The Wake" either. The surprise element may be gone after all these years (although the successful use of a string quartet on "Iconspiracy" and "Sonic Mycelium" definitely is something new in the Voivod universe), but Voivod are still a force to be reckoned with, both musically and creatively.

Voivod have been through some different musical phases in their long career and if I have to compare the sound and atmosphere on "The Wake" to something else the band have released, if would be a combination of the three albums released in the years 1989-1993. The music on "The Wake" features some of the odd and twisted musical ideas and dissonant riffs of "Nothingface (1989)", the occasional melodic moment similar to "Angel Rat (1991)", and the sci-fi atmospheres and storytelling of "The Outer Limits (1993)". There aren´t that many thrash metal elements, although "The Wake" is occasionally a pretty heavy release.

"The Wake" features a powerful, organic, and detailed sounding production, which suits the material on the 8 track, 55:57 minutes long album perfectly. It´s not an album which grapped me immediately and it took a few spins to sink in and for me to be able to tell the tracks apart, but given a few spins it´s a very rewarding release, featuring many details and intriguing musical ideas. I haven´t always been impressed with Voivod´s post-2000 output, but they managed a return to form with the release of "Target Earth (2013)" and with "The Wake" they prove that the high quality of the direct predecessor wasn´t a one-off. In fact I think "The Wake" may even be a step up in quality from the predecessor and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
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siLLy puPPy wrote:
28 days ago
Yeah, i get the nostalgia factor. I was a late Voivod bloomer so don't have the same connections. Killing Tech and Dimension Hatross are def classix but Nothingface never grabbed me like it does many others. Still though, Voivod is cool and unique no doubt and this album is great.
UMUR wrote:
28 days ago
Nothing will probably ever beat the "classics" in my book, but this one is a great album too. From Killing Tech. to The Outer Limits there are five very different and very great albums, that I grew up with and which will probably never be beaten as far as I´m concerned...
siLLy puPPy wrote:
29 days ago
For me i this one is perfect. Love it better than the classics actually :o

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