In the third of these streaming events Voïvod present their 1988 opus in its entirety. Dimension Hatröss emerged in a quantum leap forward from the nascent style of their first three albums. The prog elements that had been hinted at in 1987 with Killing Technology now came fully alchemised with the band’s thrash and hardcore beginnings.
The concept takes the titular Voïvod, Korgull, an alien vampire warlord, from outer space to inner space as he enters a quantum universe and gets involved in the socio-political machinations of the factions he encounters.
Once again director Catherine Deslauriers uses projections of drummer Away’s art to bathe the band in hypnotic retro-futurist sci-fi visuals. Vocalist Snake mugs up to a fish-eye lens camera reinforcing the feel of Orwellian dystopia the Hatröss concept conveys.
When Tribal Convictions first aired on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball, Voïvod was exposed to a larger audience which would lead to greater commercial success the following year. The song’s future primitivism and pounding beat sounded like nothing else in the metal world then or now. Snake plays up to the camera embodying a shaman with the voice of a Dalek.
Chewy’s guitar cuts through the live mix. His playing doesn’t slavishly recreate Piggy’s original guitar parts. There is enough of his own character in these takes to allow them to stand as companion pieces to the well-known and loved album versions.
At the half-way mark a short film interlude tells the story of retrieving Piggy’s rackmount case from ex-bassist Jason Newsted’s studio in San Francisco. The touring case had not been opened since the last date with Piggy in 2003 before his tragic death two years later. Snake brandishes two toy ray guns recovered from the case, still working. He fires them in the air to let off their blaster noises. It’s a lovely and touching piece of Voïvod lore which helps to set the scene for the second half of the show.
Cosmic Drama flits between intense metal and spacey prog. Away pounds on the floor toms in a Van der Graaf Generator t-shirt and it makes complete sense that those seminal proggers would be an element in this mutated music.
The album’s bonus track gets an unexpected outing - the cover of the 1960s Batman TV series. As Snake screams the finale into his mic he lets off those toy blasters, giving Piggy the final say. Perfect.
The mix and performance of these streams have been superlative. Although these songs have largely been aired live many times there is a special ambience about their live-in-the-studio versions. Here’s hoping the band’s management realise that the Hypercube Sessions are too significant to languish unseen and unheard as digital time capsules. Fans will demand their physical release to relive again and again.