Volume 91, Issue 22

Friday, October 3, 1997

Sock it to the loo



Thrash monsters and doomed angels


When singer Denis Belanger left Voivod before the last album, drummer and self-proclaimed "conceptualist" Michel Langevin considered breaking up the band to pursue a career in computer animation. He changed his mind though, prompted by support from other groups, including Soundgarden, Sepultura, the Ramones, Pantera, Sonic Youth and the Foo Fighters. Langevin attempted to recreate the thrash metal that was Voivod – but he was tragically misdirected.

Maybe Voivod used to be a decent band. Yes, the band must have been good at some point, because if Voivod always sounded like this, there would not be a ninth album to review.

Phobos contains just the sort of music your mother worried you would get into when you were 12. The 13 tracks are almost interchangeable, simple and heavy in a way that was barely entertaining a decade ago when the French Canadian trio was formed. For the first few seconds, the impulse to headbang and make a devil sign is strong, but it gets boring almost before your brain registers that there is music playing. On a superficial level, a more modern, electronic edge was the aim, but a few dull samples can not disguise the uninspired metal formula.

Voivod's shamelessly self-important Internet homepage (http://www.shmooze.net/voivod ) credits the group with pioneering the "concept" album, but expecting fans to accept Phobos' concept is more than insulting. The lyrics are juvenile, full of lovecraftian monsters, obscure gods and general doom. The main story seems to concern Anark, a bad old dude who is continually sleeping, rising, or whatever. At best, none of the songs are very deep and at worst (which is frequently), they are just plain stupid. Disjointed phrases convey Langevin's muddled angst and hysterical fear of technology in the form of unintelligible conspiracy and apocalyptic theories.

In short, if you are the sort of person that does not like to think much, have insomnia or you take yourself and just about everything else too seriously – then this is the album for you.

–Sara Falconer

The Cost of Breathing

Superhalo is a four-man techno-metal band from Toronto whose members may not knowThe Cost of Breathing is just not worth it.

While this newly-founded and quickly growing genre of music is rapidly increasing in popularity, Superhalo does nothing to help stretch the boundaries of this style.

Cornball lyrics, bad samples and a lack of musical focus doom this album right out of the gate. The band is so proud of the lyric "If I had a shovel / I'd be 10 feet in the ground," that this sample appears on multiple album tracks. It's not hard to agree with this lyric, as this would probably be the best thing to do with all Superhalo albums.

A prevalent lack of focus is quite evident on The Cost of Breathing, even after a single listen. The band travels all over the musical spectrum, sounding like a Faith No More cover band at one point, while on other tracks it sounds like the musically-untalented members of the Skinny Puppy fan club.

Superhalo's musical style is new and unique but this band is not. By the time the third track on the album is played, one will begin to ask, "haven't I heard this before?" Although it's only 38 minutes long, the album seems to drag on forever.

In this tribute to guitar loops and bad lyrical prose, none of the songs present anything resembling a distinct beat. The songs seem to just mold together into one bad musical melting pot.

Doomed from the beginning is not the best way for a band to start out, but Superhalo certainly has its problems. The band members need to regroup, find an area of music they are satisfied with and then try to release a more focused, musically-tight and lyrically-interesting album. Otherwise, their musical careers will soon be 10 feet in the ground.

–Aaron Cooper

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997