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Voivod - 1993 - "The Outer Limits" (54 min, Canada)


******

1. Fix My Heart
2. Moonbeam Rider
3. Le Pont Noir
4. The Nile Song
5. The Lost Machine
6. Time Warp
7. Jack Luminous
8. Wrong-Way Street
9. We are not Alone

Denis D'Amour          - guitars & keyboards (main composer)
Denis Belanger         - vocals (and vocal arrangements)
Michel Langewin        - drums (lyrics and artworks)
Jean-Pierre Theriault  - bass (an original member, who left in  the
                               process of mixing; noted as a "guest")

The progressive period of Voivod started at "Dimension Hartross" in 1988, and each following album is softer and more melodious, with a more prominent role of classic sympho-prog elements. "The Outer Limits" is their highest peak, but unfortunately, their last prog-work to date. Later on,the band for some reasons returned to their thrash roots, now with an unpleasant, unlike Belanger's, "deathish" voice of the new bassist/vocalist Eric Forrest. All told, Voivod remains one of the most original prog-metal bands (the members are big lovers of King Crimson and Pink Floyd) with its easily recognizable originality, unlike, for example, Fates Warning, whose prog-sound is based on the structures of Iron Maiden.

Well, the album. It's a conceptual work, based on "planetary mysticism" lyrics, and the title of the last song "We are not Alone" (in the Universe) is just a conclusion. Each of the band's progressive albums is different from the others, and very similar Fix My Heart and Moonbeam Rider quickly show yet another new prog stylistic direction of the band. Both are extremely heavy with various themes and arrangements.

The third one Le Pont Noir (lyrics, as always, in English) is a beautiful prog-ballad sounding much more symphonic than heavy. The first song from Voivod, as it were, with the addition of very original vocalization. The Nile Song is a nice cover version of a completely weak song from early Pink Floyd. I like Voivod's arrangements much more than the original version, and this another tribute-song is made in accordance with the album's stylistic conception.

The Lost Machine and Time Warp, as well as the eighth Wrong-Way Street, have much in common with the both openers. All of them combine true prog arrangements with the power of metal. A good kind of prog-batteries... But the seventh 18-minute Jack Luminous is no less than an outstanding progressive composition, and of course not only for this album! It's one of the peaks shining bright in the whole prog-metal genre. The level of JL's complexity can be justly related to the most intricate compositions of, for example, King Crimson. With numerous mind-blowing themes and arrangements, changes of moods and tempos, impeccable singing and virtuoso playing, this is one of the biggest pearls in the crown of prog-metal!

The final song We are not Alone contains more varied moods than most short tracks, with numbers 3 and 4 slow and the others basically heavy. Some nostalgic feelings (waiting for the strangers) are reflected in the melancholy parts.

Summary. "The Outer Limits" is the one of the most important works for development of progressive metal. At first sight the album might resemble a reference book on astronomy with the interstellar chaos of planets, galaxies and other universes. Is it not a trait of good prog? Unfortunately, I don't find anywhere such an established prog-act as Voivod (and few others), though just Neo-prog-metal bands like Symphony X and Eldritch, among the others, have been noted by many prog-reviewers. "The Outer imits" was released by a division of "MCA" "Mechanic Records" (also the first "home" of Dream Theater). content

VM. 14.12.1998


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