Voivod
Morgöth Tales

Canada’s favorite metal Warriors of Ice, Voivod, return with what should be their 16th album, but it’s actually re-recording of songs throughout their 40+ years of existence.  I am not a tremendous fan of bands re-recording their classic albums, but going back to re-record select songs, from a band’s discography, I am more apt to be understanding.

Voivod is one of my favorite bands and I’ve reviewed their last several albums ever since Chewy joined as their guitarist, in 2008, the approach and sound’s of Piggy (RIP), have been honored, and Chewy’s sound mimics that of Piggy’s, incorporating all those off the wall guitar sounds.  Many of the songs poached from the band’s career, on this release, are songs the band will still play live on occasion to this day.  The band’s current line-up of Snake-vox, Away-drums, Chewy-guitar, and Rocky-bass are a well-oiled machine and the songs are played as the band plays the songs in a live setting now.  10 songs in 49 minutes, the band begins with an ancient song and ends the album on a brand new one –  the title track.  I love this full-circle approach.

“Condemned to the Gallows” starts and sounds updated and much better than the crappy early 80’s demo shit, to be honest.  The main riff just swells and swells and the song gallops in that weird Voivod thrash pace, only they can do.  Snake actually harnesses his 80’s self and sounds pretty raw on this track and lets out some very cool screams, still getting to those high register screams-that’s huge! Chewy’s guitar solo, has his style all over it with Piggy’s signature trademark emanating from the entire song.  A very classic Voivod song, that while the song is updated in many ways with musicianship and production it shows how far their songwriting has advanced throughout the years, and for me is the best re-recorded song on here.

A great start… so let’s ffwd to the end, the new song, “Morgöth Tales”.  Weird sounds erupt and this song actually would not sound out of place on Nothingface.  It has that weird progressive tone with some syncopated rhythm patterns and Snake sounds a little shoegazey on this song.  The song is melodic, atmospheric and when the fast guitar riffing comes in, it sounds pretty cool. Halfway through, the song picks up at a galloping thrash pace equipped with an excellent guitar solo.  The song shifts towards more of a mid-pace rumbling heaviness with great double bass drums.  This is a very cool song, actually a bit different by Voivod standards with some of the more atmospheric lighter arrangements wedged in between one another..

“Thrashing Rage” was always one of my favorite songs off their Rrröööaaarrr album, which to this day still has one of the heaviest drum productions on any metal album.  With the cleaner and more modern production, some of that heavy drum production is lost, but the main nuts and bolts remain intact.  This song is still super heavy and Chewy injects some different guitar solo moments and Snake well, he is older now folks, so he does not do his growly scream as hate-filled as the original, but he still sounds great and the classic Voivod sound at the three-minute mark that then goes into the same part that opened the album makes this song one of the better re-recorded songs on the album.  Killing Technology is one of the best metal albums in existence, and the title track is still one of their best songs.  It’s a rather long song and usually the band will play this song live, not in its entirety, usually just playing the opening few minutes before cutting into a song, like “Overreaction”.  Again the main nuts and bolts of the original song are intact and the song does take a little less aggressive approach than the original as this version is a smidge slower.  “Pre-Ignition” is one of the better re-recorded songs the band does.  As all the songs keep to the originals pretty much 100%, this one sounds great.  The rattling double bass drums, speedier passages and Snake’s, more shoegazey type of vocals fit with the sounds of this most excellent song.

This is a cool retread of the bands “hits” but I’ll be honest I did kinda want to hear the band maybe mix it up more.  It would have been cool to hear the band reinterpreting these classic songs with some different approaches, because at the end of the day, as stated above, this is a cool retread of the original songs however the original recorded songs are much better.  So if I want to listen to them I will pop on the original songs, rather than hearing the band, now older, playing the songs a bit slower and more polished than the originals.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
July 13th, 2023

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