Voivod: War And Pain-80’s-1984.

Voivod is a Canadian heavy metal band from JonquièreQuebec (now Saguenay, Quebec). The band’s current line-up consists of Denis “Snake” Bélanger (vocals), Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain (guitar), Dominic “Rocky” Laroche (bass) and Michel “Away” Langevin (drums). Their musical style has changed several times since the band’s origin in the early 1980s. Starting out as a speed metal band, Voivod have added a mix of progressive metal and thrash metal to create their own unique metal style, and they are credited as one of the “big four” Canadian thrash metal bands, along with SacrificeRazor, and Annihilator.[1]

Since 1982, when it was co-founded by guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour, Voivod have released fourteen studio albums, as well as one EP, one live album, two compilations, seven demos and one DVD featuring a live concert. The band found mainstream success in the late 1980s with their fifth studio album Nothingface (1989), which is Voivod’s only album to enter the Billboard 200 charts, peaking at number 114.[2] The band won the “Visionary” award at the 2017 Progressive Music Awards.[3] Voivod’s most recent studio album, The Wake, was released in September 2018. The album won a Juno Award for Heavy Metal Album of the Year.[4]

The original Voivod lineup in a 1986 promotional photo. From left to right: AwayPiggyBlacky and Snake.

Initial career (1982–1990)

Voivod was formed in 1982 in JonquièreQuebec, Canada. Influenced equally by the new wave of British heavy metal, the burgeoning hardcore punk scene and 1970s progressive rock, Voivod forged a distinctive brand of heavy music that often relied on lyrical themes such as Reagan-era Cold War politics, post-apocalyptic literature and science fictionKilling Technology (1987) began the band’s evolution in earnest, with the character from Voivod’s album covers (drawn by drummer Away and named as “Korgull” on 1986’s Rrröööaaarrr) significantly being depicted in a spaceship. Drawing more heavily on hardcore punk than metal influences by this point,[5] Voivod began evolving without the aid of increasing speed and storytelling on the following Dimension Hatross.[6] Voivod was one of the first thrash bands from Canada to gain popularity outside of their country’s borders, reaching the peak of their global popularity with the 1989 album Nothingface which featured a cover version of Pink Floyd‘s “Astronomy Domine“.[7] Other covers include Pink Floyd’s “The Nile Song” on their 1993 album The Outer Limits and “21st Century Schizoid Man” by King Crimson on Phobos. Much of the band’s sound comes from guitarist Piggy’s use of dissonant chords, usually played in the high register of the guitar, used extensively on Nothingface. Albums like Dimension Hatröss are dominated by unexpected time signatures and guitarist Piggy’s liberal use of dissonant, unconventional minor chords.[8]

Departures of Blacky and Snake, and Eric Forrest-era (1991–2000)

Two of the four founding members (bassist Jean-Yves Thériault and vocalist Denis Bélanger) left Voivod in the early 1990s. Jean-Yves co-founded The Holy Body Tattoo an avant-garde modern dance company based in Vancouver BC and also wrote extensively all the music for it, as well as other electronic music projects, while Denis Belanger isolated himself and eventually started a new project, Union Made. Meanwhile, the band recorded four albums as a trio in the mid-to-late 1990s with new member Eric Forrest, nicknamed “E-Force”, handling both vocals and bass guitar. Forrest was seriously injured in a car accident in Germany in 1998, and that incarnation of Voivod never regained the momentum they lost during his rehabilitation. After Eric Forrest left the band, his insurance company attempted to sue the band for the injuries he sustained in the crash, as he was in the care of the band at the time.

Reunion with Snake, arrival of Jasonic, death of Piggy (2001–2006)

Voivod briefly disbanded in 2001 before Bélanger returned to the band.[9] The next incarnation of Voivod featured three of the four founding members: Denis Bélanger (a.k.a. “Snake”; vocals), Denis D’Amour (“Piggy”; guitars), and Michel Langevin (“Away”; drums) along with Jason Newsted (“Jasonic”, of Metallica) on bass guitar. The album Voivod was released in 2003. Guitarist Denis D’Amour died at the age of 45 on August 26, 2005 due to complications from colon cancer. In July 2006 they released Katorz, based around riffs found on the laptop of D’Amour. Just prior to his death, he left instructions for his bandmates on how to use them. In November 2006, the song “X-Stream” was featured on Guitar Hero II.[10]

Infini, return of Blacky (2007–2009)

Voivod were planning to work on what was to be their final studio album in late 2007, which contained tracks recorded with D’Amour before his death. Voivod was part of the Heavy MTL show that was held in Montreal on June 22, 2008. Voivod also performed at the Monsters of Rock Festival in CalgaryAlberta, on July 26, 2008, and supported Judas Priest at the Bell Centre in Montreal, on August 12, 2008. Voivod also played a full set at Thrash Domination in Kawasaki, Japan, September 20–21, 2008, along with the bands Testament and Forbidden. The band consisted of Bélanger, Langevin, a returning ‘Blacky’ Thériault, and Dan Mongrain on guitar.

In early January 2009, Voivod announced that they were putting the finishing touches on their new album and expected to release it in the spring of that year. The album, now known as Infini, was released on June 23, 2009.[11]

Target Earth (2010–2013)

By July 2010, Voivod had been writing and recording new music (including Dan Mongrain on guitar). On July 4, 2012, Voivod announced the title of their thirteenth studio album, Target Earth, which was released on January 22, 2013.[12] Target Earth has a more progressive sound than some of their last few albums, and is a return to a more “classic” Voivod sound that can be heard on Dimension Hatross and Nothingface. All the music was written by Blacky and Chewy, while Snake focused on lyrics, and Away took care of the artwork.[13]

Second departure of Blacky, Post Society, and The Wake (2014–present)

On July 10, 2014, it was reported that Blacky had left Voivod again.[14] It was announced that he was forced out of the band. For months he requested meetings regarding the band business and artistic affairs, but was denied such talks by one of the other members. In late January 2015 the band released the new single “We Are Connected” which is the lead track from the 7-inch split vinyl disc with the band At the Gates. It is the first music to feature new bassist Dominic “Rocky” Laroche. They also released a new, five-track EP, entitled Post Society, featuring two new tracks and a cover of Hawkwind‘s “Silver Machine“, on February 26, 2016.[15]

As early as February 2015, Voivod began work on their fourteenth studio album, which was to be released in 2016[16] but later pushed back to 2017.[17] The band was expected to begin recording the album in August 2017.[18] In June 2017, Langevin told Rock Sverige that the songwriting was almost completed with an estimated release for early 2018. He also said that the album would probably be a double-album on vinyl due to the songs being “really long and progressive”, describing them as “seven or eight minutes long songs” and with it being a concept album as well.[19] In November 2017, the Voivod members began recording another album,[20] titled The Wake, which was released in September 2018.[21]

Voivod was among hundreds of artists whose material was destroyed in the 2008 Universal Studios fire.[22] However, Thériault discovered in late 2019 that the tapes were located in a facility in Pennsylvania, after persistently questioning Universal staff. The tapes are now in his possession.[23]

Discography:

AnachronismDemo1983 
To the Death!…Demo1984
War and PainFull-length1984
Morgöth InvasionDemo1984
Rrröööaaarrr Rough MixDemo1986 
Zeche BochumDemo1986 
Thrashing RageEP1986
RrröööaaarrrFull-length1986
No Speed Limit WeekendDemo1986 
Dimension Hatröss DemosDemo1987 
CockroachesSingle1987 
Killing TechnologyFull-length1987
SpectrumDemo1987 
Live à BruxellesDemo1987 
The Sounds Machine EP 2Split1988 
Dimension HatrössFull-length1988
Nothingface DemosDemo1988 
A Flawless Structure?Demo1988 
Astronomy DomineSingle1989 
From the Forthcoming Album NothingfaceSingle1989 
Into My HypercubeSingle1989 
NothingfaceFull-length1989
Live at the ParadiseDemo1990 
Angel Rat DemosDemo1991 
Angel Rat SamplerEP1991 
Angel RatFull-length1991
The Best of VoivodCompilation1992
Fix My HeartSingle1993 
The Lost Machine / Jack LuminousSingle1993 
The Outer LimitsFull-length1993
Negatron DemosDemo1994 
The Nile Song / Tribal ConvictionsSingle1994 
NegatronFull-length1995
NanomanSingle1996 
PhobosFull-length1997
KronikCompilation1998
Klubben StockholmDemo1999 
Live @ MusiqueplusEP2000 
Voivod LivesLive album2000
2001 Album DemoDemo2001 
Gasmask RevivalSingle2002
We Carry OnSingle2003 
VoivodFull-length2003
Katorz DemosDemo2004 
D-V-O-D-1Video2005
KatorzFull-length2006
InfiniFull-length2009
Tatsumaki: Voivod in Japan 2008Video2009
Warriors of IceLive album2011
Live at Roadburn 2011Live album2012
Mechanical MindSingle2012
Target EarthFull-length2013
Kluskap O’KomSingle2013 
We Are Connected / Language of the DeadSplit2015
Forever Mountain / Phonetics for the StupefiedSplit2015 
Post SocietyEP2016
Fall / Gospel of the HornsSplit2016 
Build Your Weapons: The Very Best of Noise Years 1986-1988Compilation2017
Silver MachineEP2017 
Obsolete BeingsSingle2018 
Always MovingSingle2018 
IconspiracySingle2018 
The Nuclear Blast RecordingsBoxed set2018 
The WakeFull-length2018
The End of DormancyEP2020 
Lost Machine – LiveLive album2020
Away
Drums (1981, 1982-present)
See also: Ocre, ex-Tau Cross, ex-Les Ékorchés, ex-Aut’Chose, ex-Kosmos, ex-Men Without Hats, ex-Tarrat
Snake
Vocals (1983-1994, 2002-present)
See also: ex-Union Made, Paranoland
Chewy
Guitars (2008-present)
See also: ex-Martyr, ex-Cryptopsy, ex-Gorguts, ex-DBC (live), ex-Capharnaum, ex-Black Cloud
Rocky
Bass (2014-present)
See also: Steve Hill

Past Members:

BlackyBass (1981, 1982-1991, 2008-2014)
See also: Cœur Atomique, ex-Black Cloud
PiggyGuitars (1981, 1982-2005)
(R.I.P. 2005) See also: ex-Aut’Chose, ex-Tarrat
Jean FortinBass (1982)
See also: ex-Deaf Dealer, ex-Death Dealer
Pierre St. JeanBass (1991-1993)
See also: Heaven’s CryNonHuman Era, Alcoholica, ex-Wideside
Gilles BriseboisBass (1993-1994)
See also: Les Frères à Ch’val, ex-Jean Leloup, ex-Jean Leloup et la Sale Affaire
E-ForceVocals, Bass (1994-2001)
See also: E-ForceProject: Failing Flesh, ex-Liquid Indian, ex-LUST, ex-Thunder Circus
JasonicBass (2001-2008)
See also: ex-IR8, ex-Newsted, ex-Sexoturica, ex-WhoCares, ex-Dogz, Jason Newsted and the Chophouse Band, Would & Steal, ex-Flotsam and Jetsam, ex-Metallica, ex-Ozzy Osbourne, ex-Diamond, ex-Dredlox, ex-Echobrain, ex-Gangster, ex-Papa Wheelie, ex-Paradox, ex-Quarteto de Pinga, ex-Rock Star Supernova, ex-Spastik Children, ex-Tarrat
Songs
Side A – Iron
1.Voivod04:19  Show lyrics
2.Warriors of Ice05:10  Show lyrics
3.Suck Your Bone03:39  Show lyrics
4.Iron Gang04:21  Show lyrics
5.War and Pain04:59  Show lyrics
Side B – Blower
6.Blower02:45  Show lyrics
7.Live for Violence05:16  Show lyrics
8.Black City05:12  Show lyrics
9.Nuclear War07:01  Show lyrics
 42:42 

1 Comment

  1. _MyNameIsShotgun_, May 26th, 2018
    Written based on this version: 1984, 12″ vinyl, Metal Blade Records

    If you’ve ever listened to any post ’85 Voivod, you’d be surprised as I was to see the humble beginnings they came from. Upon my first look at the album cover, I was actually kinda spooked, seeing this big old longhaired thrash looking dude wearing full metal armor with a huge badass gun and his cold blank eyes staring into your soul. And I was immediately intrigued, hearing that Voivod was one of the first prog metal bands, I did not expect this to say the least. The music is quite a reflection of this cover; every song on here I imagine Korgull (the dude on the cover) smashing up shit and going crazy.

    The intro song starts off with some grating guitar effects, nothing too exciting, then some reverb builds up and you hear this voice that seems like it came out of hell itself, screaming “VOOOOIIIIIIVOOOOD!!!!!” Fabulous way to start an album. Each song consists of some riffs, and what seems like random soloing sprinkled about at the will of the sole guitarist Piggy, one of the most underrated guitarists of all time.
    Snake’s vocals are quite unique; at points he’s howling or even screaming, like at the beginning of their self-titled track or growling with malicious intent like the title track and Live for Violence. Away’s drumming here is also on point. His use of ride cymbal and his complex double bass patterns remind me of Lombardo, but with less blind rage. The drum intros to Warriors of Ice, Blower, and Black City are great.

    One downfall of this album is at points it can become one-dimensional; there’s no slower, clean ballad type songs, but that never was and probably never will be Voivod’s style; their uniqueness comes from riffs, atmosphere, lyrics, and solos rather than varying song structures. That’s really the only bad thing about this album that is glaring.

    All songs on here are great, but my favorite is Nuclear War, the longest, and most progressive song on here as far as I can tell. It starts off with some atmospheric effects, ala Dimension Hatross, then hits with an eerie riff, then builds up to a march-like riff. At this point you can imagine Korgull and an army marching through a nuclear wasteland, and then Snake chimes in with lyrics about, guess what? Nuclear war. The lyrics here aren’t very stereotypical though, it’s almost like Snake is laughing at everybody who got trapped in shelters,
    “Storm, the only weather
    Start the directives assassins
    Warm inside the under shelter
    Wait and feel your broiling skin”
    Really cool and creepy. After the second verse, Piggy leaps into a solo, that’s really great and atmospheric. After that, everything dies down for a second and we get a new, faster riff, some more lyrics and solos alternating between verses. More lyrics, then another great solo to close the song and the album.

    All in all, this album specializes in agression, uniqueness, riffs, solos, lyrics, and atmosphere. Highlight tracks: (NOTE, all songs on here are great, these are just the ones that stand out to me)

    Voivod
    Warriors of Ice
    Suck Your Bone
    Iron Gang
    War and Pain
    Blower
    Live for Violence
    Nuclear War

    Like

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