Buoyed by the hit single "Astronomy Domine", a superlative cover of the Barrett penned Floyd classic, Voivod finally started to achieve some more than well-deserved recognition in critical and popular circles. They teamed up with Soundgarden for the Nothingface tour and during Rush's 1990 tour in their home country, they did open for them. The Rush guys suggested Terry Brown for the production work of the follow up.
You'd expect a perpendicular companion to Nothingface, (within the Voivod school of music, the word 'perpendicular' is a cliche...) which's what you get here. The alternative/ punk/ sci-fi/ prog nature of the final package threw off fans from the metal side of Voivod and this album was (and is) cursed to rule the cut-out bins in music stores. Next time you see one, lift the baby up and take care of him. Let's go to the album part, shall we?
On the first listen, the listener would probably be deceived into thinking that Voivod had simplified their sound, with not much of the trademark weird chords/ riffs. The fact is, they had NOT. Sure this disc is more fun and has that alternative rock vibe (but it's an alternative to alternative rock kind). There's a fundamental difference between Nothingface and Angel Rat. In Nothingface, the rockability is in the background with the weirdness all over the forefront, while here it's the other way around.
After the intro, the boys have great fun with the intensely rocking "Panorama". The riffs are futuristic as expected. "Clouds in my house" is a terribly catchy one with a stellar solo from Piggy. This was the single from this album I believe. Piggy is a totally unique and amazing guitarist. Nobody sounds like him. 'The Prow' and 'Twin Dummy' continue in the fast rocker vein. There are moments of space rock/ futuristic NWOBHM riffing as evidenced in "Best Regards" and "The Outcast" and King Crimsonesque music in "Golem" and the last three songs. The title track is a pseudo-ballad totally unlike Voivod and it rules. Keyboards are used only as a background instrument and 'space' as usual is utilized beautifully.
To conclude, this is another effortless classic from these enormously influential outer-space lunatics. Unfortunately, this was the last album that founding bassist Blacky was involved with. And Snake's reign lasted only till the next album (of course before the current reunion). Don't worry...They even included 3-D glasses with the booklet (to apparently aid in reading it) for The Outer Limits to scare people off in their own way. Easily Canada's finest musical treasure (along with varied luminaries like Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, D.O.A, The Band and Cryptopsy). Voivod lives!!!
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