In 1989 and 1990, I was the assistant editor of my college newspaper, thus I was given free rein to write a weekly column dedicated to music and film. It was during that period I abused my privileges by not only dedicating the whole thing one week to VOIVOD, I geeked over them and swelled my word count to such lengths our faculty advisor had to rope me down. I was already a monster fan of this cherished band following the succession of jaw-dropping prominence that was “Rrroooaaarrr”, “Killing Technology” and “Dimension Hatross”. “Nothingface” from ’89 was a game-changer, not just for the band, but for metal music — as if “Dimension Hatross” hadn’t already broken all the rules of the genre. Forevermore, VOIVOD is beyond metal.
At this same moment during the change of the decade, I had the fortune of seeing VOIVOD headline over SOUNDGARDEN and FAITH NO MORE (yeah, you read that right), the latter two who were about to become megastars. As tremendous as the openers were, VOIVOD justified their top spot and for me, it was the second greatest show I’d ever seen. Thus, I declared VOIVOD in print “The band the future.” A widely-respected cover of PINK FLOYD’s “Astronomy Domine” and later, a stint by former METALLICA and FLOTSAM AND JETSAM bassist Jason Newsted, my prophecy nearly came to fruition.
For a band that’s always kept a portion of their collective grey matter locked into the great unknown, VOIVOD just keeps on pounding, even if conventional thought would’ve had them packing it up after the sublime guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour passed away. Taking over Piggy’s hallowed spot has been no mean feat for Dan “Chewy” Mongrain following his modest run in MARTYR. Yet those who’ve remained loyal to the band have accepted him, particularly once he showed his worth on the valiant post-Piggy VOIVOD album from 2013, “Target Earth”.
While VOIVOD once again watches the vapor trails of Jean-Yves “Blacky” Theriault’s hounding blower bass dissipate, the band refuses to quit. Blues bassist Dominique “Rocky” Laroche stands in Blacky’s vacated spot now as the quartet releases its “Post Society” EP. “Post Society” is a five-track, half hour slab consisting of two new tracks (“Post Society” and “Fall”), two carryover singles from last year’s splits with NAPALM DEATH and AT THE GATES (“Forever Mountain” and “We Are Connected”, respectively) and a gallant cover of HAWKWIND’s “Silver Machine”. For longtime VOIVOD fanatics, the fact only Denis “Snake” Belanger and Michel “Away” Langevin (the latter being the only member to perform on each of the band’s albums) remain shouldn’t be a deterrent. “Post Society” shows the band is being well-cared for.
The feel to these songs are dropped somewhere between “Dimension Hatross” and “Angel Rat”, which is not to say “Post Society” is “Nothingface” aspirant. There’s a dirty, occasionally choppy cadence to the “Post Society” cuts which are as explorative and risky as “Angel Rat”, yet the willingness to spring free and rocket gives hint to the prog-thrash euphoria of “Dimension Hatross”. In their earlier years, VOIVOD were so breathtaking by their daringness their random sloppiness was part of the charm. So too is it during the few hiccups detected on these songs. The exuberance is all the magnetism to “Post Society”, though the execution certainly dials in more often than not.
“Post Society” and “We Are Connected” are constructed in similar fashion, combining thrash and meandering prog measures. Rocky drops “Post Society” with a bass-bombed intro, establishing his own pertinent identity while tactfully recreating Blacky’s mind-numbing spools and tight-knit rumbles as Away’s rhythmic counterpart. Snake, who has sounded for the most part terrific these past couple offerings, snarls and wails away during the heaving portions. On “We Are Connected”, he allows himself to get lost in the RUSH-esque prog ether set up by Chewy and Rocky. If that isn’t complimentary enough of the newer players’ capabilities, nothing is.
“Forever Mountain” and “Free” are more meticulous, the former being the closest evidence of VOIVOD’s dipping back to “Dimension Hatross” for inspiration, not entire replication. Albeit, Chewy reproduces Piggy’s brisk-strumming mania on “Forever Mountain”, giving the song a sense of authenticity while Away hammers all over the place. Away is astounding on “Fall”, which strikes closer to the “Angel Rat” and “The Outer Limits” side of VOIVOD’s dynamics. It’s a slow cooker that builds from Chewy’s reverbed intro and picks up steam in prog-chopped ascension.
Not once has VOIVOD made a concentrated effort to fit into any lone construct of music. This is a band that has had punkers, thrashers and prog heads amongst its diverse, if cult-oriented audience. They’re still worth geeking over. Most listeners have continued to follow VOIVOD beyond the death of Piggy and “Post Society” rewards their devotion.