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Voivod - "Katorz" (CD)

Voivod - "Katorz" CD cover image

"Katorz" track listing:

1. The Getaway
2. Dognation
3. Mr. Clean
4. After All
5. Odds & Frauds
6. Red My Mind
7. Silly Clones
8. No Angel
9. The X-Stream
10. Polaroids

Reviewed by on August 12, 2006

"Katorz will easily be hailed as one of the gutsiest and most sonically poetic metal recordings"

Point blank - the mighty Voivod have not only delivered 'through and through' the best metal album of 2006 with "Katorz," released on The End Records, but I think they have produced what equates so far to being the most groove-laden, all-out politically mocking, spiritually-filled, cut-it-to-the-bone Rock N Roll album in this wonderfully terrorist-themed 21st century.

And they did it all with a dead guitar player.

That statement is said with the utmost respect and depth of feeling for the unbelievable obstacle this great band had to face during the production of "Katorz" when losing founding member and lead guitarist Denis "Piggy' D'Amour, who tragically died on August 26, 2005 in a Montreal hospital from complications of advanced colon cancer.

In comparison to the excellent self-titled Voivod album from 2003, the Vod have taken one of the most impressive leaps forward with "Katorz", blinding one's musical senses from opening track to the final haunting note, somehow impressing a real positive vibe with the listener that maybe there is hope for all of us yet in the midst of the ongoing craziness in the world today. This album is so good in fact, song after song, lyric after lyric, that I dare say there is not one other Rock album this year that can equal its overall musical execution. Yes, Kid Rock. I'm talking to you!

To try and break this masterpiece down as a critic is kind of like trying to pick apart a Picasso and nail down all its poignant and memorable features. There is so much going on here that at some point you just kind of have to throw your arms up and just get back to its epic grandeur. It is well known that to complete the record "Katorz," singer Denis "Snake" Belanger, drummer Michael "Away" Langevin, and bass god Jason "Jasonic" Newsted were forced – as if with backs directly up against the wall – to use the guitar parts Piggy had self-recorded for the record on his laptop computer with ProTools as he creeped closer towards death.

I think that, due to these circumstances, when metal fans specifically look back on this album in the decades to come it will easily be hailed as the gutsiest and sonically poetic metal recordings ever devised.

From the opening full throttle track "The Getaway" to the serendipitous "Red My Mind" to the brilliant and other worldly ending Pink Floyd inspired "Polaroids" among its seering sonic weaponry, all I can say is that this album easily now reigns as the most masterfully orchestrated Punk/Thrash technical piece in Rock history. This album with the follow-up should hand deliver Voivod into the Rock Hall of Fame, as so they justly will have earned after having literally come back from galaxies away after Piggy's passing to get the music done right for the people and the many generations of Vod fans to come.

Highs: Songwriting at its finest, delivering one brilliant lyric after the next

Lows: Piggy isn't here to see this masterpiece released

Bottom line: An early front runner for best metal album of 2006

Rated 5 out of 5 skulls
5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)