After several line-up changes, VOIVOD continued as a trio and explored a completely new territory. From a warmer and Progressive Rock sound, they went to a cold and Industrial sound which is very uneasy to listen to. Heavily shredding and dissonant guitars, heavy weight drums sounding like thunder and an aggressively roaring base guitar create the new musical universe of VOIVOD. The more physical and technical the creature VOIVOD becomes in the lyrics and stories, the more Industrial and artificial becomes the sound of the band. Alongside with this comes the voice of the new singer E-Force which is more shrieking, more aggressive and more desperate than the voice of their previous and actual singer Snake. I would say that the voice of E-Force fits perfectly to the new sound of VOIVOD and he is doing an appropriate job.
All those changes are very interesting and innovating but the fact that pulls this album down is that is very uneasy to listen to. It is very depressive, very intense, but it is always repeating itself and after some really good songs in the beginning, it gets annoying and dumb to listen the whole time to this heavy and weird stuff. The listener needs a little break, a little change of style, a little time to breathe or think, but VOIVOD don't show any mercy or pity and continue always in the same style. The album slowly pulls you under in a parallel universe or even directly in hell, literally and musically.
Songs like "Cosmic Conspiracy" have many breaks, are very strange and they only grow on you after you have listened to them at least several times. Some songs like the very dumb "Planet Hell" or "Project X" are even more strange and difficult to listen to and I don't get an approach to them. That is really frustrating, because I've spent a lot of time on those songs and listened to them carefully.
The highlights of this album are the straight and fresh sounding opener "Insect" which introduces you directly to the new universe of VOIVOD, the atmospheric and epic title track "Negatron" and "Nanoman". This last song is somehow the "hit" of the album, he is very straight, very diversified and has a very simple, but intense chorus and an amazing guitar solo. I got directly addicted to this song and it is without any doubt one of my favourite ones of the band.
In the end of the album, there are sadly some filler songs that are really just disturbing, annoying and dumb. With a few breaks and one or two easier songs, this could have been an even more diversified album, but as it is today, this album finds rarely its way in my radio or music centre. With their next effort "Phobos" VOIVOD had corrected their mistakes and created a really disturbing masterpiece while this album was their first try, the experimentation towards a new kind of sound and universe.
Sure, there is a lot to discover here, but it's really heavy and weird stuff that you can't listen to very often.
(Online February 1, 2012)