Voivod - The Outer Limits
MCA Records
Progressive Metal
9 songs (54:24)
Release year: 1993
Voivod, MCA
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Proving the old purist adage about how Thrash bands in the 90s were irredeemable crap wrong, Voivod’s last 90s outing with vocalist Snake is outstanding. It’s a wonderful step forward from 1991’s underrated yet ultimately inferior Angel Rat, keeping the psychedelic tinge but losing the poppiness in favour of heading back towards the classic prog of Nothingface and giving it a more modern sheen. The result is a very strong album full of songs that moved that unique Voivod sound forwards, adding welcome complexity without losing the catchiness that marks them out as brilliant songwriters as well as outstanding musicians. Hard to ignore is the underlying theme of alien invasion, and the subtle way the band use this as a metaphor for all sorts of issues – the band are always very underrated lyricists, from ‘go shit, I’m not a fish!’ onwards.

Kicking off with the ominous tones of Fix My Heart, the groove soon arrives with typically excellent guitar playing from Piggy. Vocalist Snake gives one of his best performances throughout the album, but you simply cannot fault the guitars, from solos to technical flourishes Piggy is always there and never sounding less than amazing. What really grabs me about this album is how the band are simultaneously experimental and catchy as hell, infectious riffs moving your head even as your brain marvels. The yearning Moonbeam Rider is an especially good example, the band playing together perfectly to create one of many killer songs, complete with inner-track melodic King Crimson-esque prog meander. Le Pont Noir is nicely laid-back at first, opening up towards the end into jazzy metal, whilst Pink Floyd cover The Nile Song is simply great, beating the original in my opinion.

Although the shorter songs are excellent in their own right, it’s impossible not to hail seventeen-minute epic Jack Luminous as being the album’s highlight. Opening with technical riffage and reminding me very much of earlier masterpiece Killing Technology, the track is a wonderful bit of metal, following a loose path through various proggy directions, building towards an intense peak that breaks down almost immediately into calmness, before launching anew into epic thrashy glory. It obviously takes dedication to listen to the entire song, but it’s more than worth it. Elsewhere, the crotchety and almost Industrial-backed The Lost Machine, the groovy monster that is Time Warp, the unbearably catchy Wrong-Way Street – all are brilliant songs, and all more than enough of a reason to buy the album in themselves. Even closing number We Are Not Alone is excellent, a strangely power metal-sounding piece, moving towards funky jazz towards the end in typically open-minded Voivodic fashion.

Voivod’s albums each have something to offer, but the sheer weight of quality here is undeniable. It’s the best post-Nothingface album, without a doubt, a worthy follow-up to that particular masterpiece and a standard which all of the albums afterwards, however good in their own right, can’t help but look inferior when compared to this. In many ways this is a perfect album to get into the band with, mixing catchiness with complexity and lacking the chaotic heaviness of earlier albums – fans should already love it, but it’s never too late to check out one of the nineties’ best metal albums.

Killing Songs :
Fix My Heart, Moonbeam Rider, The Nile Song, The Lost Machine, Jack Luminous, Wrong-Way Street
Goat quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Voivod that we have reviewed:
Voivod - The Wake reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Voivod - Target Earth reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
Voivod - Warriors Of Ice reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Voivod - Negatron reviewed by Goat and quoted 72 / 100
Voivod - Angel Rat reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
To see all 14 reviews click here
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