REVIEW: VOIVOD – “Synchro Anarchy”
When Voivod burst into the thrash scene in the early ’80s, the seemingly naive thrash metal drenched in hardcore punk they put out already had buds of idiosyncrasy that would perk up a careful ear. With ‘Killing Technology’, the buds would grow out into the unique sound that Voivod is hailed for ever since. With Chewy joining the ranks since ‘Target Earth’, Voivod began sounding their usual beautiful self again – the strange riffs of Piggy reborn. The sci-fi progressive thrashy whatever-the-f*ck Voivod metal lives on and grows with their upcoming album ‘Synchro Anarchy’. The album comes out on Feb 11, 2022, on Century Media Records.
‘Synchro Anarchy’ is everything Voivod. The unnerving dissonance, the perplexing time signatures and syncopations, and despite all that, the memorability of the boundaryless riffs. Voivod has been less dirty since the 80s, but the last couple of releases have also been darker sounding than they have been all those years ago. It’s seducingly frustrating how every potential glimmer of hope is only an ever eluding mirage, a truly hopeless sound for a truly hopeless world. And that is something that Voivod thematically deals with in the album as well. A kind of cosmic, global, and personal pessimism and foreboding permeates the sound.
The darkness has a carrier – the complexity and apparent chaos. Progressive chord changes, tempo shifts, time signatures add to the ‘intelligent stochasticity’ – and this expression interplays with the lyrical themes of chaos and time-space ‘anarchy’. Layered over this layer are the sci-fi/tech / dystopian tones that go along with the sci-fi/tech / dystopian themes and settings. There’s much to unravel. The guitar tone is clean but not plastic, the vocals are perfect, and Francis Perron does a great job with the mix. Tracks like “Mind Clock” bring in ambient and psychedelic caresses to the dissonance and glues the riffs together. Voivod never forgets to bring the punk into their thrash, and that keeps the anger and the energy occupying the space between the technical gears of the Voivod machine.
Voivod smacks it out of the park yet again. ‘Synchro Anarchy’ is a thoroughly engaging album in ways only Voivod can create. It is very difficult to make complex writing also approachable, and ‘Synchro Anarchy’ does it with ease.
Calculated dynamism, atonal bleakness, striving contemplation, an inviting labyrinth, it’s a Voivod special! Four decades of sui generis prog tech thrash and here’s to more.