The first album after the departure of bass guitar player "Blacky" and the last album before the departure of singer "Piggy" has nothing of a lack of inspiration, motivation or energy that many other Metal albums had at this time. The band is still in development on this album, still tries out some new things and is very creative. This album is a true highlight in the Metal world in a time which became more and more dominated by Grunge and Alternative Rock.
Let us just talk about the style of the album. The album title is inspired by the pioneer series of science-fiction from the early sixties, the album cover looks like one of those weekly book series printed on a cheesy yellow press, the band delivers the paintings of strange creatures in the booklet which you can observe with some 3D glasses which are delivered with the album. The album style takes an interesting and intense look at the past of science fiction and the future in the same time. So do the songs on this album.
The opener "Fix My Heart" has nothing of an old song, it sounds fresh, straight and creative. It is dreamy, hypnotic and has several interesting breaks and changes of style. While the last effort of the band has been a very atmospheric and hypnotic Progressive Rock album which stayed always in the same atmosphere, this album defines the notion of progressive Metal as it should be. You don't need a symphonic thirty minute suite with keyboard solos, you need a diversified opener with a length of five minutes that is more significant than any pseudo-epic Progressive tune at that time.
On the other hand, the bands honours their heroes and show the other side of the medal by delivering the epic, weird and unique "Jack Luminous", their seventeen minutes lasting epic masterpiece. Even in this great song, there are some lengths, but the band doesn't do the mistake to include more songs of that kind of this or later releases. And as an experimental exception and little honour to their Progressive Rock heroes from the seventies, this works very well.
This album shows old school and modern progressive sound, the band sounds diversified without being faceless or in search of a concrete structure, the album stays always logical and there are a lot of weird sounds to discover. The songs grow more and more on you and request multiple listening tries. A few songs like "Moonbeam Rider" do not reach the high level of perfection as "Fix My Heart" or "Jack Luminous" and are just average songs. An exception is the throughout brilliantly done guitar playing by Piggy who does maybe the best job of his career on this album and gives this album a very unique style.
This album finishes a progressive trilogy which really began with "Nothingface", reached its top with "Angel Rat" and its closure with "The Outer Limits". On each of those records, the band sounded different and every album has its own special approach to the genre. This is a trilogy to get for every progressive Metal or Rock fan even though it might be difficult to listen to for a fan of the band's earlier and later works. But VOIVOD has always changed its style and improved, they have always been different. And that's why they were always able to surprise, never made the big breakthrough, but are one of the most perfect and heavily underrated bands in the world for everyone who knows them a little bit better.
(Online January 22, 2012)