Monday, February 28, 2011

road therapy - anthrax / voivod

Anthrax
Sound Of White Noise
1993 / Elektra

Voivod
Negatron
1995 / Mausoleum Records

Road therapy has been a bit absent as of late, not because I haven't been driving, but because I've been using that time to listen to a lot of new stuff that has come my way of late that I have to process, and it's no fun talking about how I've been driving to the new Primordial or 40 Watt Sun albums when few of you have heard them yet. Sure, for bragging value it's cool, but I'd rather talk about well-worn stuff on this section.

In between newbies, these have been the two veterans competing for car stereo time lately, and it feels right to group them together because they share a few things in common. It might be the first time in the history of metal that anyone traces a parallel between 1993 Anthrax and 1995 Voivod, so be glad you're reading the right blog for that kind of warped shit.

It's not like they sound anything remotely like each other, of course. But when carrying the two CDs home from the car, I couldn't help think how underrated and/or unappreciated these two albums are when compared to the usual classics in the discography of the two bands, and at the core of that little love is basically the same thing - the absence of the "classic" vocalist of each band. Me, I'm in love with both the albums, but for different reasons.

In Anthrax's case, my position is a bit removed from the usual, to say the least. In a nutshell, I never liked Anthrax before this album. I always found (and still do!) Belladonna's voice profoundly grating, despite my love for some thrashy wailers, never could take silly (in a bad way) shit like 'Indians' or 'Caught In A Mosh' seriously in any way, and in the early 90s I'd go on lengthy teenage tirades about the so-called Big Four and the injustice of it all, since for me it was clearly a case of Metallica/Megadeth/Slayer/fuckin' EXODUS, and not that hip-hop-friendly Anthrax crap. Then Bush came into the picture and I turn into a sucker for the next three albums, but none more than this one. Suddenly Anthrax had turned into a serious band, dealing with serious subjects, full of concise, sharp and deeply memorable songs like 'Only', 'Invisible' or '1000 Points Of Hate'. Hell, even the dark semi-ballad 'Black Lodge' is great! Then they screwed Bush over time and time again, Belladonna is back and I couldn't give two shits about Anthrax anymore, again, but oh well.

As for Voivod, it's quite different. I do prefer Snake over Eric Forrest, but that change didn't really affect my enjoyment of 'Negatron', which I rate nearly as high as those early classics. I like the dark and oppressive atmosphere, much more than on 'The Outer Limits', and as a whole it's a much more solid album than the problematic 'Angel Rat', for example. Maybe it's blasphemy, but I actually think Eric's more mechanical, dry voice is more apt for 'Negatron' than Snake's would have been, even if that might be a product of wishful thinking created by the hours of enjoyment I've taken from songs like 'Insect' or 'Nanoman'.

For road therapy effects, they both work amazingly well. Singing lines like "you got that look I wanna know, you got that look the hy pro glo" in an embarrassingly loud volume or pretending to be a robot repeating "obey insect", all while navigating downtown traffic, is huge fun.

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