A whole load of heaviness with a touch of pomp this week. The heaviness comes via jazz, the blues and classical to metal.
Voivod: Warriors of Ice
The tempting thing when it comes to a Voivod release is saying the following. Its Voivod and thus very odd, fans will love it and most people will have no clue why people love this band. But that would be lazy and I am meant to write at least 200 words a review. So here goes nothing.
Voivod for those who don't know are a bunch of Quebecker art metal nutters who have inspired many bands in their wake, yet remain very cult. For a while Jason Newstead, formerly of Metallica and Ectobrain, played bass with them until his back problems took him off the road. They create a cacophony that is both fascinating and frightening and when they are on its something to behold.
This is a new album was recorded in 2009 in their hometown in Quebec. It's the first live album to feature new guitarist Dan "Chewy" Mongrain and has two original members in the form of Snake (Denis Belanger) on vocals plus Jean-Yves Theriault aka "Blacky".
You get to hear tracks like "Voivod", "Nuclear War" and "Astronomy Domine" in front of frothing home-town crowd. This 15-track has a pretty good selection of their best tracks. Though hard-core fans may disagree. Is another live album needed from this bunch? Probably not, but is it worth a listen, damn straight.
Unexpect: Fables of Sleepless Empire
And staying in Quebec, we have this lot. Rather than the pummeling art metal of Voivod, this bunch do something that is far more diverse. Dueling female and male vocals with loads of acid jazz guitars and violin. This is the odd side of progressive metal or the progressive side of avant garde metal depending on the track. What I heard oodles of on here is Frank Zappa, if he played metal instead of rock. This bunch mix in jazz and classical in equal measure to add depth to something that at its core is basically symphonic metal. The bassist plays a seven-string bass, which says a great deal.
Unlike a lot of avant-garde metal, this is not that hard a sell. There is a decent amount of accessibility to the tracks on this album. You will not find yourself having to trawl through turgid tracks of impenetrable noise in order to get into it.