oivod started off with Denis Belanger (vocals), Denis D'Amour (guitar), Jean-Yves Theriault (bass) and Michael Langevin (drums). Voivod formed in 1982 in Jonquière, Quebec, Canada. Influenced equally by the NWOBHM, hardcore punk rock and 1970s progressive rock, Voivod forged a unique style heavy metal music that often relied on lyrical themes such as Reagan-era Cold War politics, post-apocalyptic literature and science fiction.
Voivod didn't waste any time getting started for their debut album, War And Pain (1984), was very unconventional and avant-garde at times, but it was well received by the music consuming public, making them one of the first Thrash acts to make a name for themselves internationally. Their second album, RRROOOAAARRR (1986), followed much in the same style and featured a name to match; its noisy neo-industrial metal style made them popular in the underground heavy metal scene. Killing Technology (1987) showed improved musicianship and advanced lyrical content.
Dimension Hatross (1988) was the release that brought this act into their own and made them pioneers in the genre. Now the basic thrash metal attack was merely a backdrop to the Progressive overtones and, although it perplexed reviewers, they still didn't hesitate to offer much deserved praise.
Nothingface (1989) saw their thrash metal style shed almost completely. The album was a phenomenal success helped, in big part, by the remake of Pink Floyd's Astronomy Domine. Voivod would become one of the first thrash metal bands from Canada to gain popularity outside of their country's borders, reaching the peak of their global popularity with this album.
Theriault would now leave, to be replaced by Pierre St-Jean for the release of Angel Rat (1991), their only release for major label 'MCA'. The follow-up, Outer Limits (1993), although receiving less notoriety in the press, nonetheless continued to demonstrate Voivod's staying power in the industry by successfully changing from one genre to another and keeping a fan base across the heavy metal spectrum. This album saw the inclusion of Eric Forrest handling both the vocals (replacing Bélanger) as well as bass duties. His inclusion in the band, however, changed their sound again and by the aptly titled Outer Limits the change was in full force.
Now they were drifting back, albeit gently, into their original style of harder thrash metal. With Negatron (1995) they switched to the indie 'Mausoleum' label, but by Phobos (1997) and Kronik (1998) they were with the Canadian indie 'Hypnotic'. It would be 'Century Media', however, that picked them up for the live disc Voivod Live (2000).
There was a long pause whereby the band had broken up after Forrest's departure but an 11th hour decision gave them life again when Jason Newstead (ex-Metallica/ex-Flotsam And Jetsam) stepped in as a session bassist to eventually become permanent, and Denis Belanger (a.k.a. Snake) returned for vocal duties on their self-titled 2003 release that showed them revisiting their past roots.
D'Amour died at the age of 45 on 26 August 2005 due to complications from colon cancer. July of 2006, Voivod released Katorz (which is an "alternative" way of spelling "quatorze"; fourteen in French). The album was based on riffs found on the former laptop of D'Amour, written just prior to his death, whereby he left instructions for his bandmates on how to use them.
In November 2006, the song X-Stream was featured on the video game Guitar Hero II.
Voivod began working on what was to be their final studio album in late 2007 containing tracks recorded with D'Amour before his death. The band would now feature the returning 'Blacky' Thériault, and Dan Mongrain on guitar. The resulting album, Infini, would arrive in 2009.
Target Earth (2014) would follow. This album would boast a return to their 'classic' progressive sound like that on Dimension Hatross and Nothingface that had been missing their last few albums. 2014 would also see Thériault leave again, the circumstances of his departure came under dispute as it was claimed he was pushed out; Dominic Laroche would replace him.
The Wake (2018) would follow.
On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Voivod among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal Studios fire.
See Less... ⏫
The original Voivod lineup in a 1986 promotional photo. From left to right: Michel Langevin (Away), Denis D'Amour (Piggy), Jean-Yves Thériault (Blacky) and Denis Bélanger (Snake).
Photo by: Realbeatle
CC BY-SA 3.0
|Active Years||1982-2000, 2002-|
|RRCA File Code||REV00420|