Album review: Voivod – Forgotten In Space

Canadian thrash heroes Voivod put their most classic moments into a time capsule for the ages…

Album review: Voivod – Forgotten In Space
Nick Ruskell

As with every band in possession of a catalogue that'll fit into a board game-sized vinyl boxset, Quebec's Voivod have popped up here with a collection of '80s works repackaged with a whole load of extra bits in one big bonanza. Comprising their trio of albums for one-time powerhouse German metal label Noise (also the stable for the most important works by Celtic Frost and Kreator, among others), alongside a wealth of demos and live recordings, as is standard with these things, Forgotten In Space is a handsome package.

But it also throws something else into focus. Voivod formed in 1983. These albums date from 1986-'88. In the time since, metal has expanded in every direction, and bands as varied and differently positioned as Metallica, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon and Darkthrone have nodded to their influence, while Dave Grohl even roped in singer Denis 'Snake' Bélanger for his Probot metal album. And yet these records still sound like they're being beamed from the future, from outer-space.

Following the release of their War And Pain debut for U.S. label Metal Blade, Voivod moved to Noise for the release of 1986's Rrröööaaarrr. An enemy of typists and pronunciation it may have been, but it showed that the band were an intelligent, artistic cut above so many of their peers. Ahead of the release of Ride The Lightning, Lars Ulrich asserted that there was "far more to [Metallica] than just thrashing," an undeniably true statement, but one worn even more comfortably here. Denis 'Piggy' D'Amour's riffs on Fuck Off And Die are fast and furious enough to put a dent in solid objects, but a calculated approach to the onslaught proved they were no knuckle-dragging morons.

It was on Killing Technology where Voivod made the jump to hyperspace, though. The music became increasingly progressive, with an increasing grasp of dissonance and unusual guitar chords on Too Scared To Scream and Overreaction making for an unsettling, dystopian underbelly, while robotic alien voices on the title-track upped the idea that Voivod were light-years ahead of the pack.

It's neck-and-neck between that album and the final part of this boxset, Dimension Hatröss, for the Ultimate Voiviod Album. A concept album based on the band's robotic mascot Korgull, it cemented the band's name as one of intelligence, forward thinking, skill, creativity and uniqueness.

The bonus stuff included here is well worth the time of those who can't get enough of Voivod. The demos are a treat, while the live documents capture the devastating energy of the band in full flight. But by the time you get to those discs, you'll already be well aware that Voivod are simply one of the finest, most exciting and challenging metal bands ever to walk the Earth. As if you needed a reminder…

Verdict: 5/5

For fans of: Metallica, Mastodon, Celtic Frost

Forgotten In Space is out now via BMG

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