My first full Voivod immersion occurred in 1988. At the time, a more undecayed version of me used to scrape up just enough money to be able to afford two cassettes at the local record store, and being fairly adventurous, I mostly preferred to nick one of the albums off my ever-growing “to look for” list, with the second choice usually reserved for something that simply looked interesting. On one particular day, this arrangement resulted in a reasonably self-assured pick-up of Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II, with the whim purchase going to a rather compelling looking Dimension Hatröss. I was still chiefly motivated by the more melodic side of metal in those years, so the discordant noise at the heart of these particular Quebecers was… Difficult to digest at first. Over a relatively short period of time, however, it was Voivod’s unique ability to forge punky thrash into something ludicrously contagious that won out, and today I still count Dimension Hatröss as one of the more significant musical discoveries of my life because it was ultimately responsible for sparking my curiousity in punk rock, a style I previously had little interest in pursuing.
Of course, from 1989 forward, Voivod bent their sound a number of divergent, less punkier directions with varying degrees of success, but I think everyone can agree that a new level of spirit and clamor was recaptured once Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain (ex-Gorguts, ex-Martyr, ex-Quo Vadis) joined the ranks in 2008, leading up to 2013’s highly favorable Target Earth. Chewy’s ability to filter the overall aesthetic of the tragically passed Denis “Piggy” D’Amour through his own wildly technical method is clearly pivotal to the newly revitalized energy of the band, and this year’s Post Society EP finds Voivod in their most vigorous, cacophonous form since 1989’s excellent Nothingface.
Diehards are likely already familiar with two of the EP’s contributions, as both “Forever Mountain” and “We Are Connected” landed on a pair of 2015 limited release 7”s alongside Napalm Death and At the Gates, respectively. If anyone wishes to question Voivod’s commitment to fierce stamina, cram the urgent, powerful and noisy measure around 4:15 in “Forever Mountain” into your pipe and smoke it. Dat’s good smoke, dat’s what dat is. Conversely, “We Are Connected” showcases a more dark & stormy face before eventually lifting into stretched sprints of proggy, punky riffing that turn the mood on a dime toward a brighter temperament.
As strong as the previously released material is, however, it’s eclipsed by the EP’s fresh goods. The opening title track is the most aggressive amongst the bunch and sounds as if it could’ve been lifted directly from the band’s late 80s material, with the added bonus of a perfectly clear production. “Post Society” is noisy and proggy, but it also naturally bends into a moody, mellow stretch at its midpoint before finishing off with a final kick to les dents.
The third track, “Fall,” is absolutely beautiful. The cool, cloudy disposition reinforced by Snake’s somber spoken word right from the gate sets the overall tone for a moodier slant, and the fantastic guitar/bass riff trade-off around 2:50, along with the particularly stout way the tune closes out, makes it abundantly clear that the band not only made the right choice with Chewy, but with newcomer Dominique “Rocky” Laroche as well. Everything about this dude’s bass style rolls and thunders with all the weight and prominence of Blacky circa 1989, and his presence does a perfect job of adding a noticeable denseness to the entirety of Post Society.
“Silver Machine” wraps up the EP’s generous 31 minutes and showcases precisely why it’s always good news to see a cover tune smuggled in amongst the originals. Just as they’ve done with Pink Floyd and King Crimson in the past, Voivod treats Hawkwind’s 1972 ode to lifting off into space in a way that maintains the authenticity of the original, but it does so through a clear Voivod lens. Plus, Hawkwind’s version was sung by Lemmy, so closing out the EP with this cut serves as a timely tribute to a fallen friend, even if that wasn’t the original intent.
There’s obviously no shortage of 80s metal bands still attempting to kick up dust out there, but few of them manage to crank up the intensity as the years progress with results truly worthy of soiling your britches over. Voivod is one of those bands. Post Society is noisy, proggy, thrashy and as Voivital as ever, proving without a shadow of a doubt that there’s still tons and tonnes of tread left on this tank.