Home > Music > Voivod – Dimension Hatröss (1988)

Voivod – Dimension Hatröss (1988)

folderRecent posts here make me think I’m focusing in a lot on transitional albums and the evolution of many a recording artist’s sound. I guess the lesson is that bands evolve more than you’d expect. Voivod’s a clear evolver. As mentioned in the recent past, Dimension Hatröss may be more instantly accessible than its predecessor, but this is primarily due to changes in production and vocals. It is not a simplification of Voivod’s formula, though – in fact, it may even have more complex songwriting. It’s also a bump up in thematics, as the songs now more specifically revolve around the exploits of the band’s mascot Körgull the Exterminator. Magnum opus or not, this does fall square into what the internet (or at least Encyclopedia Metallum) perceives as Voivod’s golden age.

As a fan of the extended songs on Killing Technology, I still have to admit that the more concise approach on this album just condenses the songs, so that they explore about the same amount of musical territory. With the reduction in fat, some songs (such as “Tribal Convictions”) even venture into hit single territory. It seems that Voivod communicates what they want to say more clearly than they had in the past – riffs are more distinctive and yet more effectively related to each other, but the major improvement here is in Voivod’s dynamic range – compared to the last album, they are more effectively able to create contrast by altering volume, tempo, texture, and it makes the more intense parts of the songs on display more effective.

Other changes in Dimension Hatröss‘s approach can be traced to the ‘transition’. A major development here is that the vocalist (Denis Bélanger, aka “Snake”) uses primarily sung vocals instead of the shouted ones of Voivod’s past. Even the remaining shouts feel a bit more tonal. Snake is not exactly a classically skilled singer, but as befits the improved contrast, he tries a variety of tones. At times, this seems to pull Voivod closer to their punk roots, although pretty much everything else pushes in the opposite direction.  The production hasn’t changed much – at best it’s fairly similar in approach (although more accomplished) than that of Killing Technology. It does have a bit less treble to it, and at times the bass is more audible, but the gap between the production of this and Nothingface is much greater – that album is… shiny.

The fact this increments musical complexity without softening Voivod’s sound to the degree Nothingface did is probably why I’ve come to prefer this one. I did call the last album the band’s “first peak”, but Dimension Hatröss remains higher up. To be fair, it’s not much higher, since Killing Technology still did so much right, but an improvement is an improvement.

Highlights: “Tribal Convictions”, “Chaosmongers”, “Macrosolutions to Megaproblems”

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