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Voivod - Katorz (CD)

by Elina Papadoyianni at 26 July 2006, 1:57 PM

The album Katorz is, as the name reveals, Voivod's fourteenth release and according to Michel Langevin, it has been created under the most confusing circumstances and through a very complicated process, as the band had to face the physical loss of the guitarist Denis “Piggy D'Amour. And I say physical because it's not only that Piggy will always be remembered as a great axeman and an inspired musician, but also because this album includes all his work he had prepared for Katorz and his presence here is so strong as if he had never left…
This band deservedly holds a chapter on its own in our Metal Book. It seems that fate keeps twisting and turning on this Quebec originated band. Voivod broke through the second decade of ever presence in discography two years ago, and now they are ready for their 14th album in this course. Voivod always managed to take their sound a step further and not necessary in a predicted direction. Their 1989 release Nothingface remains their most known work to date. Their lineup reached its peak in 2003 when original vocalist Snake (Denis Belanger, vocals) and Jasonic (Jason Newsted - former bassist of Metallica) joined Away (Michel Langevin, drums) and Piggy (Denis D'Amour, guitar).
And it was meant to be right then, at the edge of diving into eternity that fate made it so, that one of their founding members, Denis D'Amour, decided to leave this time and space. He passed away in August last year as many of you know by now. So, Katorz was immediately characterised as a tribute album. And it is. But not with the taste that usually comes along when we hear of such albums. Voivod pay tribute to their friend by unleashing magnificent Metal grenades that explode in majestic fashion. Like they always did. In Katorz we do not exactly find the Thrash Metal of some of Voivod's earlier work, nor Progressive Metal parts they presented in the 90's. It is certainly an album that was built around Piggy's legacy of guitar riffs and loops. It is fast-tempo Hard Rock anthems and Sci-Fi themed Thrash that leave behind some riffs that will not be easily surpassed, like in Odds And Frauds and The Getaway.
The range is endless. From the futuristic Punk identity of Silly Clones to the catchy and heavy riffs of The X-Stream. Piggy is always accompanied by Snake's top-notch vocals and apparently it proved crucial, the fact that Denis Belanger had this time to find on his own the ideal way to walk on the path Piggy had paved for him. Jasonic is a top-level bassist and that is something that flows through his every touch of the strings. At this point the contribution of Michel Langevin should be highlighted. His pace and rhythm are perfect.
Put these together, alongside everyone's desire to perform their best in memory of their Piggy and all the ingredients come together to form an album with memorable songs, certainly the kind that he deserved and would be proud of.

4 Star Rating

The Getaway
Mr Clean
After All
Odds & Frauds
Red My Mind
Silly Clones
No Angel
The X-Stream
Denis Belanger aka Snake - Vocals
Michel Langevin aka Away - Drums
Denis D'Amour aka Piggy - Guitars
Jason Newsted aka Jasonic - Bass
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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