Voivod - Forgotten in Space - (5-CD + DVD)

This box set focuses on the beloved Canadian band's output from the mid to late 1980s, collectively known as the Noise Records years. Taken chronologically, the first CD included here is the 1986 effort Rrroooaaarrr which featured the lineup of Snake (vocals), Blacky (bass), Away (drums) and the now deceased Piggy on guitar. The album certainly lives up to its title as the foursome roar their way through a nine song set full of head banging rhythms and buzz saw guitars. Most of the record is straight ahead thrash but a heavy punk influence permeates "Hell Driver." Next up in the box set is Killing Technology. At this point Voivod was beginning to diversify their sound a bit, keeping the thrash going but delving into punk on "Too Scared to Scream" where Snake channels his best Johnny Rotten and rocking to a prog overtone on "Forgotten in Space," the song that gives the box set its name. Also notable is that guitarist Piggy goes beyond his usual riffing, occasionally reeling off melodic solos as he does on "This is Not an Exercise." In 1988 Voivod released Dimension Hatross, their fourth album overall, and they were now acknowledged not only as one of Canada's best thrash/heavy metal bands but were also making serious inroads with American fans. Their sound is noticeably cleaner, from the proggy opening cut "Experiment" to "Tribal Convictions" which was clearly aimed at making them more palatable to mainstream rock radio to the speed metal of "Technocratic Manipulators." No doubt producer Harris Johns had a lot to do with the band's more polished sound. After the three studio albums the box set gets a little meatier, piling on the rarities that will thrill fans. First up is No Speed Limit Weekend '86, recorded live in the band's home turf of Montreal. With a set list drawn from their studio LPs to that point, the show starts with Snake shouting out the lyrics to the thrashing "Korgull the Exterminator," giving fans a preview of what was to come over the following 13 songs. Included are "Ripping Headaches," "Tornado," "War and Pain," "Nuclear War," "Thrashing Rage" and signature tune "Voivod." More rarities are in store on the set's final CD, Dimension Hatross - The Demos. The album is exactly as its title indicates; demo versions of all the songs from Dimension Hatross, played in the same order as the finished album. Fans can hear how the songs got polished up and it is easier here to hear how each instrument contributes to the song. The DVD is titled Chaosmongers which is also the name of a brief band documentary presented within where fans are also treated to more rare live material: a show from Chicago in 1988 and another show from Montreal in 1985 that is presented in audio only. Topping off this impressive box is the "Cosmic Drama" booklet that features photos and lots of commentary from Away.


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