VOIVOD

"Target Earth" (Century Media; 2013)

Reviewed by Snidermann

"Target Earth" is Voivod's 13th studio album, not to mention a handful of live recordings they've released since 1984. There aren't too many bands that can say that. It's been a long time, and my mind isn't what it used to be, but I am sure that Rough Edge Editor R. Scott Bolton and I saw this band in the 90s during Foundations Forum.  I just remember there was very loud music, beer, more loud music and more beer. 

Their past aside, one thing is for certain and that is that Voivod is back and they kick major metal ass with "Target Earth." Like a lot of bands out there, it's difficult to follow the Voivod family tree, but let me just say that "Target Earth" feels as strong as any of the band's previous releases. Hard, heavy music that kicks it from the first note.  For my money, Voivod can keep pumping away until the end of eternity, as long as they keep putting out albums as awesome as "Target Earth."

For more information check them out at http://www.voivoid.com.

"Infini" (Relapse; 2009)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Voivod and their "Infini" deliver a powerful rock'n'roll performance. The musical presentation was solid; however, the vocals were gritty and a bit hard to get used to ... but, when I did, I really got where the band is going musically.

The structure of the songs paints a strong picture that most bands are unable to get away with, but Voivoid does it seemly without effort. Straight forward, simple and heavy music that gets my head moving from start to finish.

Voivod have been around for awhile but still perform with genuine passion and a lot of heart and that alone makes them worth your attention.

For more information check them out at http://www.voivoid.com.

"Katorz" (The End Records; 2006)

Reviewed by Ray Van Horn Jr.

To call "Katorz" an emotional event is perhaps as elementary as calling the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic a tragedy. I spent nearly as much time reflecting on the passing of Denis "Piggy" D'Amour as I did for Joey Ramone, the latter of whose passing absolutely shattered me. The Ramones saved my soul in my early twenties and Voivod had me declaring them as the band of the future even before that. To see an ambassador of that future cut down in his prime ... maybe Johnny Rotten was right.

I was lucky enough to catch Voivod on their headlining tour for "Nothingface" that included the openers Soundgarden and Faith No More, two bands that reached a commercial plateau and, in the process, left their hosts behind. I found it frustrating then that Voivod was simply too radical to be accepted by the mainstream, but when you see and hear metal bands in today's scene either blatantly or subtly attempt to recreate or borrow from what Voivod has achieved in its twenty-plus years, it's far more gratifying than if the criminally-underappreciated "The Outer Limits" album hit the Billboard top twenty. 

Sad that Piggy had to leave us, and it was a very expressive Denis "Snake" Belanger whom I spoke with recently that allowed me to put my own sorrow to rest in light of "Katorz," a testament piece to the influence Piggy has had not only on heavy metal but also on his bandmates. Everywhere else you're going to read the same thing about "Katorz": it sounds as if Piggy never left. This is due largely to the production of Glen Robinson, who was also responsible for the magnificence of "Nothingface" as well as Snake's contribution to Dave Grohl's Probot endeavor. The mixing he does with the living components of Voivod, in addition to the guitar tracks left behind by Piggy, breathes life into "Katorz" in such a striking manner you're deceived into thinking there's a possibility Voivod might tour this year.

Whether it's the straightforward rock jamming of "The Getaway," "The X-Stream" and "Silly Clones" or the more complicated and progressive songs like "Mr. Clean" and "After All," "Katorz" is beyond edifying; it's a touching album, both aggressive and frequently friendly that creates a better posthumous statement for Piggy than anyone could've expected. Some may argue there's a basic stripped essence to "Katorz" but, to my ears, when you hear the crunchy rhythms and passionate vocals from Snake on "Odds & Frauds" and "Red My Mind" along with Piggy's otherwordly chords, that cosmic essence of Voivod hits a perpendicular level that should've put "Katorz" on a logical release path between "Nothingface" and "Angel Rat." 

Perhaps one of the watermarks of "Katorz" in terms of conveying Piggy's voice musically is "No Angel," as it transforms from a private mysticism to a more lighthearted essence, all within the same song. The duality of Piggy's work here, much less the instinctual class by Snake, Away and Jason Newsted to play off of what Piggy intended for "No Angel," speaks highly of the brotherhood in this band. 

In his final moments, Piggy left behind so much material that Voivod can release another album after "Katorz," but, more importantly, he left behind a legacy on metal that is undeniable... 

Rest in peace, brother; your work is in good hands.

For more information, check out http://www.voivod.com

"Voivod" (Chophouse / Surfdog; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Most often, bands release a self-titled CD when they're first starting out. It's kind of an introductory thing. Sometimes, a band releases a self-titled CD when they're presenting considerable change or rebirth (witness the hugely successful "Metallica" and the hugely disappointing "Motley Crue").

"Voivod" is an appropriately self-titled CD because the band is welcoming new members into the fold. Well, sort of. First, original vocalist Denis Belanger is back behind the mic and we've got the famously departed former bassist of Metallica, Mr. Jason Newsted, on the four string here.

What have those changes and the years behind them done to Voivod's sound? Well, not much. The band's music is still driving rock'n'roll that falls somewhere between punk rock and heavy metal. As such, sometimes it just plods along - you know, they're the kind of songs you can't help but wonder, "Okay, when are they gonna really get going here?" At other times, however, those fears are put to rest and the songs rock right through. Although nothing truly stands out, certainly nothing sucks either, although a couple of songs come dangerously close.

What's most noticeable is the band's energy and charisma. "Voivod" is written and performed by a band that's found a new excitement about their music and that excitement carries over to the listener. It's energizing to hear a band that has rediscovered their reason for playing music in the first place and that seems to be the case here.

Not as complex or as complete as their earlier work but much better than more recent catalog titles, "Voivod" could be a new start for a well-respected veteran band. 

Voivod: Denis Belanger (aka Snake) - voice; Michael Langevin (aka Away) - drums; Denis D'Amour (aka Piggy) - guitar; Jason Newsted (aka Jasonic) - bass.

For more information, check out http://www.voivod.com

"Lives" (Metal Blade; 2000)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

This collection of live recordings was taken from three different performances: The Dynamo Open Air Festival in Holland in May 1996; CBGB's in New York city on August 11, 1996 and Klubben in Stockholm Sweden on October 14, 1999. The songs performed hereon cover the band's lengthy history and also feature an effective but pretty straightforward cover of Venom's classic "In League With Satan." 

Overall, however, "Lives" sounds a little lackluster. The music seems to pound along at an achingly dull pace, the sound quality is often listless and nothing ever seems to really catch your attention. Perhaps the performances that are captured herein weren't the most charismatic or perhaps the original recordings weren't up to par. Or maybe it's that the band's music just doesn't hold up well with age. Regardless, "Lives" is an album that may only appeal to Voivod fans and not to those unfamiliar with the band.

Voivod: Eric Forrest - bass/vocals; Denis d'Amour - guitar; Michael Langevin - drums.

For more information, check out http://www.voivod.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

Back to CD Reviews Home

Back to RoughEdge.com Home

Copyright 2013 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08 Jan 2016 11:33:09 -0500.