2005 was a rough year for one of metal's most respected bands, Voivod, as their co-founding member, Piggy, passed away at the age of 45. But before his death, the guitarist laid down a multitude of completed parts for songs the group was in the midst of working on. So as a tribute of sorts to their friend, Voivod finished off a handful of these tracks, and issued them as 2006's Katorz (a title that the late guitarist had scrawled on a CD demo). Interestingly, although they're known primarily for prog-metal explorations (remember the near 20-minute "Jack Luminous?"), Voivod are at their most straightforward and economical on Katorz, especially such tracks as "Dognation" and the album opening "The Getaway." And even though they started off of as an extreme thrash metal band (originally influenced more by Venom than Pink Floyd), Voivod is not afraid to inject some melody into the proceedings, as evidenced by "Odds and Frauds." Arguably their most consistent album from front to back since 1989's metal classic Nothingface, Katorz serves as a fitting send-off to one of metal's most underrated guitarists. With the tracks on Katorz this strong, it bodes well for the additional unfinished material the group plans to complete and release at some point in the future.
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato