Similar to space’s limitless expanse, there appears to be no stopping the sci-fi-worshipping, Canadian eco-warriors of ice Voivod, as they continue to venture deep into the post-Denis ‘Piggy’ D’Amour era. For this we can thank Daniel ‘Chewy’ Mongrain. He’s one of the few axe-slingers not only able to reproduce the late guitarist’s oblong-shaped, oddball prog thrash renderings, but to also comfortably exist as the creative thrust for new material, marrying their old-school, warhead-tipped din with boomer-age proggy reminiscing while still pushing further and forward. For the third time since 2008, he’s again made possible what was once unimaginable.
Album number 15, Synchro Anarchy is a quirky, loping and almost insidious paean to tribal rhythms, minor-key dissonance re-jigged into experimental punk rock with stream of consciousness poetry riding a jet-stream towards a black hole. Occasionally, though, the immediacy of the skittish, pockmarked thrash of the stellar Memory Failure is challenged by dense, counter-productive moments like Paranormalium, which gets lost in its own cleverness.
On the whole, however, Synchro Anarchy is another essential listen in the long line of essential listens Voivod have delivered since 1983. Examples: the title track and Planet Eaters. The former is a masterclass in the melodic intertwining of layers of 70s psychedelia and 80s metal with Denis ‘Snake’ Bélanger’s nasal vocal delivery; the latter is a darkened rumbler reminiscent of Dimension Hatross’s cogent weirdness.
Additionally, the Quebecois quartet continue to make room for exploration and advancement in how they inject Mind Clock’s downcast mood with Crumbsuckers-esque crossover and the self-empowerment message attached to the hard rockin’ of Sleeves Off, which lyrically is the most bald-faced nod to non-fiction of the band’s discography. Firsts continue to be unearthed in Voivod’s universe, which should come as no surprise.
Synchro Anarchy is out February 11 via Century Media