Album review : Voivod – The Wake

Voivod’s 14th studio album, « The Wake », mixes all the elements that, to my ears at least, makes them unique: dissonant chord voicings, complex arrangements and dystopian lyrics barked angrily and sarcastically by Snake. It’s the child of “Nothingface” and the Voivod self-titled album, sharing the former’s progressive leanings and the latter’s less abrasive brand of metal. And it’s good. Oh yes it is.

I didn’t have a lot of expectations for this record. To me, a lot of the Voivod sound came from the late Denis D’Amour’s unusual guitar voice. Not a knock on his replacement, Dan Mongrain, who’s doing an excellent job, but the post Piggy record “Target Earth” didn’t do it for me. It sounded like Voivod, but forced. 

There’s is a sense of evolution and ease on “The Wake”, as if Mongrain and bassist Dominique Laroche have fully absorbed the Voivod ingredients and can now comfortably add their own touch. It’s the Voivod sound we’re used to, but with a refreshing new coat of paint. The band isn’t afraid to stretch out its musical legs, and all the 8 tracks on “The Wake” clock at over 5 minutes, with the closer “Sonic Mycelium” reaching 12:24. None of the tracks wear out their welcome though, as the band’s musical palette contains enough elements to go the distance.

This record ranks in the top of Voivod’s discography. There’s no filler, the writing is amazing and it sounds like a synthesis of their best elements. Fans of their first records might find it too light, but fans of prog Voivod will love it. I know I do.


Jean-Frederic Vachon
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