Voivod - Infini
Relapse Records
Arty Thrash Metal
13 songs (57:57)
Release year: 2009
Voivod, Relapse Records
Reviewed by Charles
Major event
Pretty emotional, this; the last Voivod album, quite possibly ever, and certainly the last on featuring the input of the deceased Piggy. It’s still his writing, and the actual recording apparently fitted around early demo tracks he himself played on, with the band clearly keen to preserve his presence even if it meant incorporating rough edges.

Perhaps that explains the raw sound here in comparison to the relatively polished Katorz. That album, for me, seemed to lack the violently arty energy that we associate with their classics, with its angular riffs being delivered rather precisely, and with a more mainstream rock sensibility. So, the more chaotic, punky delivery of Infini is entirely welcome. The sound is at times even close to the rusty razor assault of Dimension Hatross.

But rather than being the uncompromising, retro art-thrash attack that might suggest, this finds its own niche; the mid-tempo clunk of more recent Voivod is twisted into a spit-flecked stomp that at times is incredibly catchy. Earthache opens with a wonderfully knuckledragging riff that in its construction is straight out of the blues-heavy hard rock playbook, but which is coated in greasy metal and occasionally overpowered by a dense, antisocial noise churn.

So it’s not just the production, the songwriting here is different, as well. Despite my description of Earthache above, this isn’t a solely riff-focussed album to the same extent as its predecessor. It has more atmosphere, and more quirky attitude. Global Warning is a real rush of venomous, murky, almost blackened thrash, which transforms into the perplexing sci-fi rhythmic spaceout that opens Room with a VU. Pyramidome, despite an average running time, feels like a real epic; shifting between pulsating, fuzzy ideas with a real avant-garde sensibility. Same goes for the eerie Morpheus, with ominous, almost ambient passages being manipulated expertly to generate a genuinely menacing brooder.

Plenty of high points to choose from, then, as this is a diverse and interesting album. A particular favourite of mine is Treasure Chase, with another of those insistent riffs that, were it not for the sound, could be something by Queens of the Stone Age. It certainly has a No One Knows quality about it. Halfway through it takes a thrilling diversion into a rare passage of instrumental flamboyancy, with gleeful metal guitar shredding whipping the relaxed rock riffs into a blazing rage. There’s also the odd exuberant rocker here, as with the awesomely Motorhear-inspired Volcano.

It’s odd, in the best possible way, that a band seemingly on their last legs, and surrounded by such an air of finality, should release something this vibrant. It’s almost the kind of record that could be recorded by an exciting new band with a career of innovation ahead of them. I was spinning the slightly tame Katorz today in preparation for this, and was left feeling a bit pessimistic. As such, this is an immensely pleasant surprise. If this is the end, Voivod are going out on a high note.

Killing Songs :
Morpheus, Treasure Chase, Volcano, Earthache
Charles quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Voivod that we have reviewed:
Voivod - The Wake reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Voivod - Target Earth reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Voivod - Warriors Of Ice reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Voivod - Negatron reviewed by Goat and quoted 72 / 100
Voivod - The Outer Limits reviewed by Goat and quoted 91 / 100
To see all 14 reviews click here
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