So this is the final release of VOIVOD, one of Canada’s first Metal bands, and one of its most influential as well. Just a little background info, in case you forgot. Denis D’Amour, aka Piggy, died of cancer in August 2005. However, he did record enough riffs and songs for two albums worth of material. The first posthumous album was released in 2006 (“Katorz”), and 3 years later, they released “Infini” as a final tribute to Piggy.
VOIVOD’s last three albums are a departure from their brutal yet progressive Thrash of their very early career (like on “Killing Technology” & “War And Pain”) and their very psychedelic era (“Nothingface” & “The Outer Limits”). It’s pretty similar in style to their previous album, “Katorz”, but the songs themselves are heavier this time around. Just like “Katorz”, the music has a very raw and Punk-ish quality (I’ve heard the band KILLING JOKE as a reference), but it still has the very idiosyncratic VOIVOD sound that emanates from Piggy’s guitar tone and his approach to writing Metal.
The other three musicians, Jason Newsted (bass), Michel “Away” Langevin (drums) and Denis “Snake” Belanger have really stepped up their game on this record, though. Snake still has unique and immediately identifiable snarly voice that is laced with cynicism, but on this album he has a rasp on his voice and it makes him sound so much more pissed off than before. Away’s incredible groovy drumming also adds an extra dimension. When I say “grooving”, I don’t mean it in the PANTERA-ish heavy anchoring groove, I mean more in the sense that he makes the songs sound much more fluid and making them sound like they are being dragged through space while still remaining grounded. Newsted’s bass tone is ungodly, and he plays off of Piggy’s twisted riffs, playing both around the guitars while making his bass lines make the guitar riffs sound absolutely earth crushingly heavy.
I’ve often wondered how VOIVOD’s sound would have continued to change if Piggy hadn’t died, but alas, we’ll never know. I will say that “Infini” is a great way to close the book on one of the strangest and most influential bands Metal has ever known, and that it is a very fitting tribute to one of the most unique guitar players that has graced Metal.
Thank you, Denis “Piggy” D’Amour. Rest in peace.
(Online July 25, 2009)