Synchro Anarchy by VOIVOD Album review by Jahmeel Russell for Northern Transmissions

Century Media

10

VOIVOD

Synchro Anarchy

With Synchro Anarchy, Voivod has created one of the best albums of their career. It takes all the best qualities of this unique band, channelling traits of their most beloved albums, and somehow manages to put hooks into progressive songs that have no business being this catchy. Add to that one of vocalist Denis “Snake” Bélanger’s best performances on record to date, and you have a perfect Voivod album.

Voivod’s last album, 2018s The Wake, gained near-universal acclaim and won a Juno for best metal album. It stylistically captured the sound and feel of classic albums like Killing Technology, Dimension Hatröss, and Nothingface, while adding enough new elements to give it its own character, making it a fan favourite. As great as The Wake is, Synchro Anarchy is even better. Like The Wake, it references these classic albums with compositions full of twists and turns. The main difference is the surprising moments of melody brought into these songs in the guitars and vocals. The greatest heard since 1991s Angel Rat.

A big reason for this is guitarist Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain. After the tragic passing of founding guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour, no one would have blamed Voivod if they had decided to call it a day. Piggy’s guitar playing was so singular and a big part of what made Voivod have a sound unlike anyone before or after them. Chewy has managed to both emulate Piggy’s style and mix it with his own. It’s a celebration of growth and respect. In that sense, he has saved Voivod. It’s hard to imagine anyone doing a better job. Chewy’s riffs are full of those “Piggy” chords, the arrangements are anything but predictable, yet somehow they get stuck in your head. Bassist Dominic “Rocky” Laroche also does a fantastic job of adding counterpoint, playing off the guitars, but joining in rhythmically when needed. They both bring a jazzy feel to the material, Chewy also bringing out some Allan Holdsworth-inspired lead work to top it all off. An impressive thing about Snake is how he comes up with vocal melodies over these dissonant guitar chords and complex arrangements. These are simply some of his best vocals yet. Michel “Away” Langevin’s performance on drums ebbs and flows perfectly with the bass and guitars, offering equal amounts of groove, bombastic toms, and aggression when needed. As with every Voivod album, his stunning artwork adorns the cover. Returning producer Francis Perron has done a great job of capturing it all. Each instrument has its own space in the mix, perfectly highlighting the intricacies in each song.

Synchro Anarchy is an absolute triumph for Voivod and one of the best albums of their nearly 40 years of recorded output. It stands equal with their very best as they take inspiration from their past and progress to the future. The exciting and bold arrangements mixed with surprising hooks and fantastic vocals give the whole record a replay value that gets better with each spin. This album deserves to be in every Voivod collection.

Pre-order by Synchro Anarchy by VOIVOD HERE