Voivod is a Canadian heavy metal band from Jonquière, Quebec (now Saguenay, Quebec). The original line-up consisted of vocalist Denis "Snake" Bélanger, guitarist Denis "Piggy" D'Amour, drummer Michel "Away" Langevin and bassist Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault. The band has had numerous members changes throughout its 42-year career, with Langevin as the only consistent member. Their current line-up includes Langevin, Bélanger, Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain (guitar) and Dominic "Rocky" Laroche (bass).

Voivod at Hellfest 2013
Voivod at Hellfest 2013
Background information
OriginJonquière (Saguenay), Quebec, Canada
DiscographyVoivod discography
Years active1982–present
MembersMichel "Away" Langevin
Denis "Snake" Bélanger
Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain
Dominic "Rocky" Laroche
Past membersDenis "Piggy" D'Amour
Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault
Pierre St. Jean
Gilles Brisebois
Eric "E-Force" Forrest
Jason "Jasonic" Newsted
Websitewww.voivod.com Edit this at Wikidata

Voivod's musical style has changed several times since its inception. Starting out as a speed metal band, they have added a mix of progressive metal and thrash metal to create their own unique metal style, and have been credited as progenitors of the "technical thrash metal" sound along with Coroner, Watchtower, Dark Angel, Mekong Delta, Anacrusis and Blind Illusion, among others.[1][2]

To date, Voivod have released sixteen studio albums, as well as one EP, one live album, two compilations, seven demos and one DVD featuring a live concert. They have been grouped with Sacrifice, Razor and Annihilator in the "Big Four" of Canadian thrash metal.[3] 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.[4] The band won the "Visionary" award at the 2017 Progressive Music Awards.[5] In 2019, Voivod's fourteenth studio album, The Wake, won the Juno Award for Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year.[6] Voivod's most recent studio album Morgöth Tales, a collection of re-recorded songs, was released in July 2023.

History edit

Early career (1982–1990) edit

The original Voivod line-up in a 1986 promotional photo. From left to right: Away, Piggy, Blacky and Snake.

Voivod was formed in 1982 in Jonquière, Quebec. 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 fiction. Killing Technology (1987) began the band's evolution in earnest, with the character from Voivod's album covers (drawn by drummer Away and named "Korgull" on 1986's Rrröööaaarrr) significantly being depicted in a spaceship. Drawing more heavily on hardcore punk than metal influences by this point,[7] Voivod began evolving without the aid of increasing speed and storytelling on the following Dimension Hatross.[8] 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".[9] 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, combined with Blacky's bass tone and chords as well, used extensively on Nothingface. Albums like Dimension Hatröss are dominated by unexpected time signatures and both Piggy and Blacky's liberal use of dissonant, unconventional minor chords.[10]

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

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, and death of Piggy (2001–2006) edit

Voivod briefly disbanded in 2001 before Bélanger returned to the band.[11] 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.[12]

Infini, return of Blacky, and Target Earth (2007–2013) edit

Voivod at Masters of Rock 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 Calgary, Alberta, 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.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15]

Second departure of Blacky and arrival of Dominic "Rocky" Laroche (2014–present) edit

On July 10, 2014, it was reported that Blacky had left Voivod again.[16] It was announced that he was forced out of the band. 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.[17]

As early as February 2015, Voivod began work on their fourteenth studio album, which was to be released in 2016[18] but later pushed back to 2017.[19] The band was expected to begin recording the album in August 2017.[20] 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.[21] In November 2017, the members of Voivod began recording their next studio album,[22] titled The Wake, which was released in September 2018.[23]

In 2019, it was revealed that the master tapes for Voivod's MCA-era albums were destroyed in the 2008 Universal Studios fire.[24]

Voivod's fifteenth studio album, Synchro Anarchy, was released on February 11, 2022.[25][26] The band released Morgöth Tales, a collection of re-recorded songs, on July 21, 2023.[27] The band also is currently writing new music for their next record.[28]

Musical style, influences, and legacy edit

Voivod's style has been classified as progressive metal,[29][30] thrash metal,[9] technical thrash metal,[1] speed metal[9][31] and avant-garde metal,[32][33] while Angel Rat has been labelled alternative metal.[34][35] Their influences include Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, Dimitri Shostakovich, Yes, Einstürzende Neubauten, GBH, Genesis, Hawkwind, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Killing Joke, King Crimson, Motörhead, Sodom, Nektar, Pink Floyd, Ramones, Rush, Van der Graaf Generator, Venom and UFO.[36][37][38][39][40] The band has been praised for their unique approach, or cited as an influence, by other bands and artists such as Pantera,[41][42] Meshuggah, Fear Factory, Jason Newsted (Voivod's bassist for their 2000s albums), and Dave Grohl.[43]

Members edit


Discography edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Prog Metal Legends Watchtower Are Back to Working on First New Music in Over Three Decades". Ultimate-Guitar.com. May 16, 2022.
  2. ^ "20 Of The Greatest Technical Thrash Albums Of The 1980's!". worshipmetal.com. March 29, 2020. Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  3. ^ "13 Canadian Metal Albums Everyone Should Own". Kerrang!. May 2, 2018. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  4. ^ "Voivod Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  5. ^ Munro, Scott (September 15, 2017). "Marillion, Anathema, Steve Hackett among Progressive Music Award winners". Prog Magazine. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  6. ^ "Voivod Won The Juno Award For 'Metal/Hard Music Album Of The Year'". Kerrang!. March 17, 2019. Retrieved February 14, 2022.
  7. ^ Terrorizer No. 168, February 2008
  8. ^ Mazer, Jacob (June 25, 2013). "Heavy Metal". Joyful Noise Recordings. Archived from the original on July 7, 2013. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c Book, John. "Voivod | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  10. ^ "Voivod". MusicMight. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved May 23, 2010.
  11. ^ Wiebe Taylor, Laura (January 1, 2006). "Voivod Cannot Be Silenced". Exclaim!. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  12. ^ Collins, Robert (June 23, 2009). "Voivod releases a twelfth album". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  13. ^ Pratt, Greg (July 24, 2009). "Voivod To Infini and Beyond". Exclaim!. Retrieved April 3, 2010.
  14. ^ "VOIVOD: New Album Title, Band Logo Unveiled". Blabbermouth.net. July 4, 2012. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
  15. ^ Pratt, Greg (February 8, 2013). "Voivod Away Mission". Exclaim!. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  16. ^ "Voivod Parts Ways With Bassist Jean Yves 'Blacky' Theriault". Blabbermouth.net. July 10, 2014. Retrieved July 10, 2014.
  17. ^ "Voivod To Release 'Post Society' EP In February". Blabbermouth.net. December 23, 2015. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
  18. ^ "Away: New Voivod Album To Arrive In 2016". Blabbermouth.net. February 18, 2015. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  19. ^ Gausten, Joel (February 4, 2016). "Voivod Lives: Michel "Away" Langevin on Lineups, Lemmy and Keeping the Band Alive". Joel Gausten. Retrieved February 6, 2016.
  20. ^ "VOIVOD To Record New Album In August". Blabbermouth.net. April 28, 2017. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  21. ^ "VOIVOD Drummer Discusses 'Progressive' Next Album, Pays Tribute To CHRIS CORNELL". Blabbermouth.net. June 26, 2017. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
  22. ^ Oz, Diamond (November 6, 2017). "Voivod Begins Recording New Album". Metalunderground.com. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  23. ^ "VOIVOD To Release 'The Wake' Album In September". Blabbermouth.net. June 11, 2018. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  24. ^ Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times Magazine. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  25. ^ "VOIVOD Announces New Studio Album, 'Synchro Anarchy'". Blabbermouth.net. December 2, 2021. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  26. ^ "VOIVOD Announces New Studio Album, 'Synchro Anarchy'". Blabbermouth.net. December 2, 2021. Retrieved December 2, 2021.
  27. ^ "VOIVOD To Release Morgöth Tales Album In July; Details Revealed". Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles. April 13, 2023. Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  28. ^ "Voivod to Re-Reissue Ex Metallica Jason Newsted Era Self Titled 2003 Album". July 2023.
  29. ^ Davis, Eric (February 1992). ""Welcome to the Machine"". Spin. SPIN Media LLC. 7 (11): 39. ISSN 0886-3032.
  30. ^ Prato, Greg. "Angel Rat - Voivod | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved November 25, 2019.
  31. ^ Weigel, David (2017). The Show That Never Ends: The Rise and Fall of Prog Rock. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 282. ISBN 978-0-393-24226-3.
  32. ^ Prato, Greg. "Dimension Hatröss - Voivod | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved November 9, 2019.
  33. ^ Wagner, Jeff (2010). Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal. Bazillion Points Books. p. 109. ISBN 978-0-97961-633-4.
  34. ^ Christe, Ian (2004). "Transforming the 1990s: The Black Album & Beyond". Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal. New York City: HarperCollins. p. 225. ISBN 978-0-380-81127-4.
  35. ^ Harry, Rich (January 22, 1994). "Hot Fun In Winter With Fight And Voivod At The Zodiac Club". The Morning Call. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  36. ^ "Voivod - Similar Artists, Influenced By, Followers". AllMusic. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
  37. ^ "1986 Metal Mania magazine interview". Metal Mania. August 1, 1986.
  38. ^ Elliott, Paul (March 12, 1988). "SOUNDS magazine interview with Voivod". Sounds.
  39. ^ "Phil Mogg: I Am Leaving UFO". Ultimate Guitar. May 29, 2018. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  40. ^ "VOIVOD's AWAY: MOTÖRHEAD 'Was Definitely The Band That Had The Most Impact' On Us". blabbermouth.net. February 6, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2020. It's definitely the band that had the most impact on VOIVOD. We were fans of DISCHARGE and VENOM and all that, but MOTÖRHEAD was really the focus of VOIVOD in the sense that I totally copied "Philthy Animal" Taylor, and Snake's vocals are really influenced by Lemmy's vocals. Of course, Piggy was a huge fan of "Fast" Eddie; actually, Piggy's first nickname was "Fast Piggy." [Laughs] MOTÖRHEAD was really the example for us.
  41. ^ "'Cowboys From Hell': 25 Facts About the Pantera Classic". VH1. July 24, 2015. Archived from the original on August 19, 2022. Retrieved June 21, 2023.
  42. ^ "The Story Behind: Cowboys From Hell by Pantera". Loudersound. December 3, 2019. Retrieved June 21, 2023.
  43. ^ "Voivod :: THE WAKE". Metal Hammer (German). September 21, 2018.

External links edit