I guess this is the second album from Voïvod “lite,” that is, since vocalist Snake took off or was given the boot — I don’t know. I’ve been a big fan of Voïvod’s in the past, but kid of lost touch with them since around 1993’s The Outer Limits. That album was excellent, but I just didn’t keep up.

Nevertheless, Phobos (one of Mars’ moons, as well) is the classic Voïvod cyber-crunch metal that’s earned them fans for, what is it, fifteen years? I’ll start by mentioning the last song on this thirteen-song album first: Voïvod’s cover of King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man.” Now, for those true Voïvod fans out there, what song more epitomizes both Voïvod’s sound and motif than “21st Century Schizoid Man”? Done in the distinctive s-f/technology-driven fashion that defines Voïvod, their cover of the song is at once disturbing (like the original) and enthralling.

All of the songs on Phobos are thrashing and full of power. And again, true to Voïvod form, they’re given mysterious titles, what’s behind “Mercury,” “Temps Mort,” “Quantum,” “Neutrino,” “M-Body” (co-written by Jason Newsted), and the two songs with “Catalepsy” in their names? What is the story behind these songs and the album? Is there a hero who’s out to assassinate some malevolent techno-powerlord? Are we all prisoners of technology? I’ll have to study this album much more before I have the answers.

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