Produced by Francis Perron and Voivoid. Recorded and mixed at RadicArt Studio, Québec, Canada. Mastered at Maor Appelbaum Mastering, California, USA. Cover art by Away. Released on Century Media Records, 11 February 2022.
Synchro Anarchy is Voivod’s 15th studio album, and 19th overall release.
If you’ve never heard of Canadian alternative / progressive / avant-garde thrash metal band Voivoid, then you’ve got some catching up to do. Buckle in!
Formed in Jonquière in Quebec in 1982, Voivod comprised four musicians: Snake, Piggy, Blacky and Away. They mixed influences from the new wave of British heavy metal, hardcore punk and progressive rock with their industrial surroundings to forge a very distinctive sound and image, with lyrics that overflowed with images of post-apocalytic science fiction and Cold War politics. I first heard Voivoid with their 1987 release Killing Technology — “We are connected!” — I was hooked.
Fast forward through a number of iconic albums — Dimension Hatröss (1988) which was the last of their classic sound before their sound softened a little with the progressive punk-sounding Nothingface (1989) and Angel Rat (1991). Nine albums in, Jason Newsted joined Voivod on bass in 2001 after leaving Metallica. Founding guitarist Denis D’Amour (Piggy) sadly died from colon cancer in 2005, then after a bit of a hiatus while they grieved their loss and found a new guitarist (Chewy), it felt like a bit of a return to their roots with the release of Target Earth in 2013.
The Post Society EP (2016) filled the gap before The Wake (2018) which was about as close to a chilled out album as you could hope for from Voivod.
Synchro Anarchy was released in February 2022. I picked up the deluxe edition which comes with a second disc, a live recording from their “Return to Morgöth” hometown show on 29 June 2018, celebrating their 35th anniversary at the Festival Jonquière en Musique.
Even after nearly 40 years, and with drummer Away being the only consistent member, Voivod hasn’t lost any of their impact. This is an album that both reaches back into their history while also pushing ahead into the strange sci-fi worldscapes that their lyrics often paint. This has everything: progressive melodies, twisted riffs, unexpected time changes, gnarly vocals, fusing heaviness with beauty. In many ways this feels like the soundtrack to the last two years of global craziness.
Review score: 95%