Voivod release this new record as a celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the band. A band that has avoided pigeon holes but stay in the metal/rock genre. A prog, Sci fi, thrash jazz band also stepping into the avant garde territory usually occupied by bands like Killing Joke and King Crimson.

This band were never meant fit the mainstream, though did flirt on the edge with a time in the nineties on a major label and with their cover of Pink Floyd‘s Astronomy Domine making MTV playlists in 1989. At this time bands such as Soundgarden and Faith No More supported them.

The progress of the band came quickly with the totally original guitar playing of guitarist Piggy (RIP), and through various line ups drummer Michel (Away) Langevin kept the band striving forward and progressing their sound. And on a few records a certain Mr. Jason Newsted even played bass.

And so to now with the latest line up. Featuring Langevin on drums, original Singer Denis (Snake) Bélanger, Guitarist Daniel (Chewy) Mongrain and bassist Dominique (Rocky) Laroche. This record shows this line up rerecording some deep cuts from the band’s recording career, alongside one new song.

The album kicks off with Condemned to the Gallows from the 1984 Metal Massacre 4 compilation record. It’s a total thrasher, sounding great here with a nicer production.

Thrashing Rage follows, the band pinning their Venom influences to their sleeves from 1986’s Rrröööaaarrr record.

Working through the records in order really shows the progress in song writing and sound the band made so quickly, mixing those early thrash influences and bringing in some prog on the song Killing Technology from the record of the same name.

Next up is Macrosoloutions to Mega Problems from Dimension Hatröss. Showing the almost jazz rhythms and discordant guitar sound that brings together the Voivod sound.

Pre-Ignition from Nothingface (the band’s best selling record) is next… You can still hear that sound being honed into something very original.

Angel Rat‘s Nuage Fractal sees the band stripping the sound back slightly and slowing things down.

One of my fave Voivod songs is up next – Fix My Heart. From The Outer Limits, it’s Voivod at their catchiest with an almost commercial sound. After this the band’s sound shifts again and goes back to a metallic doom vibe with Rise from 1997’s Phobos.

Only one song from the Newsted/Jasonic era makes the cut in the shape of the rather fantastic Rebel Robot from the album Voivod – a great metal stomper.

This brings us to the final song, Morgöth Tales, the new number. Showing all the bands prog influences, It’s a more mellow song but it still sitts firmly in the Voivod universe.

I’m not normally a fan of bands re-recording songs from a vast back catalogue, but picking deep cuts this works perfectly, giving old songs a new leash of life. Overall, this is a great record for die hard Voivod fans and also a great introduction for new people who want an introduction into the Voivod back catalogue.

Morgoth Tales releases on July 21st.