It would be a mistake to tag Voivod with the label of 'thrash metal' though they always maintained that base throughout a long and interesting career. Starting out as pure thrash vastly superior to Slayer, St. Vitus, Venom, and a slew of others, the gents were never content to remain in place and slowly transmuted to speed metal, quasi-art rock, and even, gasp!, blues metal. The band never boasted a huge following but had a quite substantial cult nonetheless (myself among it). This date, their only gig ever in Japan, resulted from a "re-formation" of the band following the passing of guitarist Piggy and a grieving disband. Drummer Away and not-very-good vocalist Snake are joined by the band's original bassist, Blacky, and new axewielder Dan Mongrain.
Tatsumaki is going to please fans of the big V. Yeah, Snake can't sing worth a shit here, that was always a semi-given (in studio, he was capable of better), but the level of headbangery and franticity is still good ol' Voivod. What set these titanium bastards apart was their sense of composition and guitar madness. While thick and smoky, the band always knew how to mix it up rather than stay rooted in one tempo and depend on drug-addled audiences to just trance out while moshing. Voivod always reached for something else to drag into the repertoire without giving up the style it loved.
The set list is a selection from their first decade and guaranteed to put a smile on the listener's face while his ears bleed. The archetypal Nothingface turns up along with the eponymous Voivod, but so does the cut representative of just how far the guys would range: Pink Floyd's Astronomy Domine (they also covered Floyd's Nile Song on Outer Limits back when keyboards were being tossed in to expand the palette). The crowd's pumped before the group even hits the stage and grows nothing but more enthusiastic as the event proceeds.
Voivod never meant to be a Black Sabbath or Megadeth, like Candlemass and Cathedral were trying, but carved out a nice little niche much as Celtic Frost had, then kept working at it, currying respect from others in the style, including Dave Grohl, Nirvana's drummer (interviewed in the bonus section), who calls them "the most bad ass band I ever heard…one of a kind". Martin Popoff, premier metal crit, loves him some Voivod as well, and this DVD shows why. Most definitely not music for everyone but, for fans of the power chord and Stygian chunkametal, quite nice.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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