Box sets: Voivod – Forgotten in space


This box set focuses on the beloved Canadian band’s output from the mid to late 1980s, collectively known as the Noise Records years. Taken chronologically, the first CD included here is the 1986 effort Rrroooaaarrr which included the line-up of Snake (vocals), Blacky (bass), Away (drums) and the now deceased Piggy on guitar. The album certainly lives up to its title as the quartet work their way through a nine-song set full of punchy beats and buzzsaw guitars. Most of the record is straight thrash, but a strong punk influence permeates “Hell Driver”. The next stage of the box set is Killer technology. At this point, Voivod were beginning to diversify their sound a bit, keeping thrash but dipping into punk on “Too Scared to Scream” where Snake channels his best Johnny Rotten and switches to a progressive tonality on “Forgotten in Space”, the song that gives its name to the set. It’s also worth noting that guitarist Piggy goes above and beyond his usual riffing, occasionally spinning out melodic solos like he does on “This is Not an Exercise.” In 1988 Voivod published Dimension Hatros, their fourth album overall, and they were now recognized not only as one of Canada’s top thrash/heavy metal bands, but were also making serious inroads with American fans. Their sound is noticeably cleaner, from the prog opener “Experiment” to “Tribal Convictions” which was clearly aimed at making them more acceptable for mainstream radio rock to the speed metal of “Technocratic Manipulators”. There’s no doubt that producer Harris Johns has a lot to do with the band’s more polished sound. After the three studio albums, the box set gets a little meatier, piling on rarities that will delight fans. The first is Weekend without speed limit 86, recorded live in the band’s territory in Montreal. With a setlist drawn from their studio albums up to this point, the show begins with Snake shouting the lyrics to the thrashing “Korgull the Exterminator”, giving fans a taste of what was to come on the next 13 songs. Included are “Ripping Headaches”, “Tornado”, “War and Pain”, “Nuclear War”, “Thrashing Rage”, and the signature song “Voivod”. More rarities are in store on the final CD of the set, Dimension Hatross – Demos. The album is exactly as its title suggests; demo versions of all songs from Hatross dimension, played in the same order as the finished album. Fans can hear how the songs were polished and it’s easier here to hear how each instrument contributes to the song. The DVD is titled Chaosmongers which is also the name of a brief documentary by the band featured in which fans are also treated to rarer live material: a show from Chicago in 1988 and another show from Montreal in 1985 which is shown in audio only. To top off this impressive box, the “Cosmic Drama” booklet contains photos and extensive commentary from Away.



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