Last year Canada’s Voivod released their 14th studio album The Wake, and left the rock writing community still scratching to adequately articulate or pigeon hole their sound.
“Thrash”and “prog” are the usual two main suspects, but it is telling that after 37 years as an entity that they are still described as “futuristic” as their sound even today sits just beyond the grasp of the rest of the pack, even with the passing of the dearly missed Dennis “Piggy” D’Armour in 2006.
The band have openly embraced science fiction in their material, but in a way that seems very visceral and prophetic rather than a Start Trek sanitised one. Not only the lyrics seem to transmit a disturbing future vision, but the music itself undulates and breathes like an alien technology. At once displaying an understanding beyond our means but intuitive as to lead us toward a discovery, be it nihilistic or revelatory.
The band are name checked by the Grohl’s of the world, former Metallica bassist Jason Newstead was a member for a few years in the band. In some ways they are “musicians musicians”.
The lineup has seen the core 80’s lineup drift and come back, sometimes several times, but drummer and the originator of their distinctive album artwork, drummer Michael “Away” Langevin has remained a constant throughout.
When we last were visited by Voivod in Canberra, at Metal for the Brain in 2000 it was during the tenure of bassist and vocalist Eric “E-Force” Forrest and it was hotly anticipated at the time. For Canberra’s heavy music community were greatly influenced by the bands 1980’s material, in particular the trilogy of Killing Technology, Dimension Hatross and my personal favourite Nothingface.
I myself absolutely drunkenly punished Piggy at the after party loudly declaring him the most underrated guitarist in heavy metal. He was embarrassed but both modest and generous with our conversation before palming me off, deservedly.
19 years later we finally get to see the band perform with original vocalist Denis “Snake” Belanger and you can expect a warm almost hometown reaction when the band perform at the Basement on the 24th of January.
Melbourne veteran’s Contrive share the 3 show Australian tour in the main support slot. Lucifungus will open the show with tracks from their Akuma Kin album so get there early!