America may have had the monopoly on thrash metal in the 80s, but the most interesting bands came from elsewhere. Case in point were Montreal’s Voivod, whose complex, alien take on the genre owed as much to King Crimson or Pink Floyd as it did to Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath.
This trio of reissues from the first part of their career charts their swift development from the garage-thrash of second album Rrröööaaarrr (6⁄10) to the brittle other-worldliness of 1987’s Killing Technology (7⁄10) and 1988’s Dimension Hatross (8⁄10).
They’re ostensibly linked by the tale of the titular Voivod, a kind of confused intergalactic warlord, but in reality they’re prescient glimpses into the human psyche in an era of geopolitical strife and potential nuclear war. The more things change, and all that…
All three albums get a 180g vinyl release for the first time in 30 years, but it’s the CD versions that feature the biggest bundle of extras. In each instance there’s a disc featuring a live show from the relevant period, plus a DVD with rare onstage footage and demo tracks. And while they highlight the fact that Voivod sometimes struggled to recreate their intricate visions live, there’s no faulting the attention to detail.