Sound Advice: Voivod with Vektor and Eight Bells

Tuesday • Southgate House Revival

Feb 17, 2016 at 10:23 am

Voivod could be considered the musical equivalent of the post office: The Canadian Progressive Metal quartet cannot be stopped by wind, rain, snow, sleet, dark of night (in fact, they rather prefer it), death, break-ups, lawsuits or stylistic shifts.

In the band’s 32-year history, it’s released 13 albums, including the 1984 debut War and Pain, its 1989 breakthrough Nothingface and its latest full-length, 2013’s Target Earth, plus five EPs (the band’s new five-track disc, Post Society, featuring a cover of Hawkwind favorite “Silver Machine,” will be released next week). The Voivod discography also includes three live albums, three compilations and a pair of DVDs.

Along that same timeline, Voivod has had 10 members, including Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, who did a six-year hitch, founding drummer Michel “Away” Langevin and vocalist Denis “Snake” Bélanger. But only Langevin’s membership has been uninterrupted from the start. Bélanger took a seven-year break to form Union Made, then helped restart Voivod after its 2001 dissolution.

The band’s musical direction has changed a number of times as well, beginning as a Speed Metal outfit and eventually incorporating elements of Progressive, Thrash and Alternative Metal, as well as Hardcore Punk, to achieve its distinctively visceral sound.

And there’s been enough Voivod drama to fill a reality show: bassist Jean-Yves “Blacky” Thériault has quit twice; bassist Eric “E-Force” Forrest was badly injured in a car accident (his insurance company sued the band for his injuries); and original guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour died from complications of colon cancer but left riffs on his laptop with instructions for their use, which became the basis for 2006’s Katorz.

After the release of Post Society, Voivod — now consisting of Bélanger, Langevin, guitarist Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain and new bassist Dominique “Rocky” Laroche — began working on its next full-length, slated for release late this year or in early 2017.

There aren’t many bands that can claim influences as broadly diverse as Black Sabbath, Black Flag, The Ramones, Hawkwind, Pink Floyd, Yes, Iron Maiden and Béla Bartók and make it stick. Voivod has never been interested in run-of-the-Metal-mill headbashing, and it has the catalog and scars to prove it.

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