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CD Review: Voivod

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Voivod might be the most respected true metal band of the '80s. Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth are all polarizing, but you either love this Canadian crew or don't care much — nobody actively hates them. And nothing about their 15th and final album will change anyone's position. The songs are the last scraps from the final batch of tracks recorded by guitarist Denis "Piggy" D'Amour before his 2005 passing, which came three years after former Metallica bassist Jason "Jasonic" Newsted joined the fold, jump-starting the beleaguered band for its steady-rocking fourth stage. The tunes are all mid-tempo, and not one's a shoo-in for the next best-of comp.

The group's heavy-machinery industrial drone is less pronounced than ever. But Piggy's titanium guitar tones and singer Denis "Snake" Bélanger's froggy delivery remain the same. The lyrics are a curious cross-section of the band's less extreme subject matter: Splatter and sci-fi themes are all but gone — except for "In Orbit," an astronaut fantasy closer to "Space Oddity" than "Astronomy Domine." Album opener "God Phones" is an invasion tale about God, aliens, guns and rock 'n' roll. The record has some curious diversions: "Earthache"'s "blah blah blah" chorus is funny, and "Treasure Chase" may well be a love song. "Krap Radio," with its redundant title, indicts consumerism. "Volcano" is a retread of 1987's "Tornado" but might be the best first-person narrative ever from a volcano's perspective. Fare thee well, Voivod — you too were a force of nature. — D.X. Ferris

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