Voivod's second release for the Hypnotic label (their ninth studio album overall), Phobos, follows the same path the band laid down on 1995's Negatron. Fans of extreme metal sounds will obviously enjoy it, but will be a bit too much to handle for the crossover audience that the band aimed for on earlier releases. The band (still the trio lineup of Negatron) projects a dense and closed-in sound, a far cry from the three-dimensional music on Nothingface. Although the beginning of the title track may remind longtime fans of earlier material, the dream is crushed as soon as Eric Forrest starts in with his death metal vocal roar. Interestingly, the U.K. import version of Phobos contains two bonus tracks, which prove to be better than the majority of the songs penned by the band. The first song, "M-Body," is a Jason Newsted (Metallica bassist and friend of the band) original, which contains eerily effective lyrics. The other is a spirited cover of the King Crimson song "21st Century Schizoid Man," which is tailor-made for a metal band like Voivod, especially since subsequent bootleg tapes of Crimson performing the song live show them taking a heavier approach at times. Still, just two worthwhile songs doesn't warrant purchase, especially since they can only be found on the more expensive U.K. import edition.
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato