Voivod is a Canadian Progressive Metal band that has been around since 1982, formed by guitarist Denis "Piggy" D'amour, vocalist Denis "Snake" Bélanger, drummer Michel "Away" Langevin and bassist Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault. The band started out as one of the main bands in Canada's Thrash Metal scene. Their albums from this time, War and Pain and Rrröööaaarrr, showcased a Venom-inspired, Hardcore Punk influenced sound with Sci-Fi themed artwork and lyrical content; their science fiction theme would follow them throughout their entire career.
Their third album, Killing Technology, marked the band working towards their progressive sound, although this album was still strongly hardcore punk-influenced. These progressive tendencies were increased on Dimension Hatröss and came full circle on their major label debut Nothingface. Nothingface remains their most acclaimed and successful album, with the video for "Astronomy Domine" receiving its share of airplay.
The follow-up, Angel Rat, was the first sign of trouble for the band, with delays abound and Blacky leaving during the album's production. This album showcased a more experimental sound compared to before, with heavy influences from Psychedelic Rock and being a major influence on Alternative Metal. Their last major label album, The Outer Limits, was the last album with vocalist Snake for quite some time, and was a more thrash-influenced take on Angel Rat's sound. After this, Snake left the band, and Piggy and Away recruited Eric "E-Force" Forrest to fill in on both vocals and bass. The two albums with him, Negatron and Phobos, were heavier due to prominent groove and industrial influences.
E-Force left in 2001. The next lineup featured the return of Snake on vocals and Jason "Jasonic" Newsted on bass (who had just recently departed from Metallica, he was a fan of Voivod beforehand). A Self-Titled Album soon followed, still sporting an alternative sound but this time with very noticeable Motörhead influence. Katorz and Infini continued this sound. Those two albums were handled oddly due to Piggy succumbing to cancer in 2005; he had left behind guitar tracks on his laptop for the rest of the band to work with. The band also stopped touring for a while due to then being unable to find a replacement for Piggy.
Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain of Martyr, Cryptopsy and Gorguts among others, was chosen as Piggy's replacement in 2008 and along with the return of Blacky, marked the band's return to touring. Target Earth, which brought back much of their sound from The '80s was released in 2013 to critical acclaim. Blacky unfortunately left not long after, with blues bassist Dominique "Rocky" Laroche as his replacement. His studio debut was on a new song, "We Are Connected", which was released in 2015 for a split 7" release with At the Gates. Another split, this time with Napalm Death, was released in October containing "Forever Mountain". The band finally announced what these songs will appear on shortly before Christmas: an EP titled Post Society, released in February 2016.
After some but not definitive word on what's next for the next couple years, their newest album The Wake was finally properly announced in mid-2018. It was released September 21 that year.
Today, Voivod are considered one of the poster children of technical and progressive styles of Thrash Metal along with bands such as Coroner, Mekong Delta, Toxik, and Watchtower as well as progressive metal in general. They remain highly influential in the metal scene, with the band Nothingface being named for their most successful album and the band being a huge influence on Vektor, one of the mid-2000s thrash revival's most beloved bands.
Not to be confused with Tchaikovsky's opera of the same name, "voivod" is also a Slavic term for a military commander or a governor of a voivodeship.
- War and Pain (1984)
- Rrröööaaarrr (1986)
- Killing Technology (1987)
- Dimension Hatröss (1988)
- Nothingface (1989)
- Angel Rat (1991)
- The Outer Limits (1993)
- Negatron (1995)
- Phobos (1997)
- Voivod (2003)
- Katorz (2006)
- Infini (2009)
- Target Earth (2013)
- Post Society (EP) (2016)
- The Wake (2018)
- Album Intro Track: Nothingface and Angel Rat both have short intro songs; in the former case, some pressings would include the intro as a separate track, and others would combine it with the first song "The Unknown Knows".
- The Apunkalypse: The lyrical themes and imagery from their first two albums. Subsequent albums would explore other science fiction themes including space travel (Killing Technology), quantum experimentation (Dimension Hatröss), body horror, and dystopia (Nothingface.)
- Ax-Crazy: The titular subjects of "Voivod," "Korgull the Exterminator," and "Chaosmongers." Basically, if a Voivod song is named after a specific person or group, there's a good chance that they are this trope.
- Blood Knight: The narrator of "Korgull the Exterminator" first describes the horrors inflicted by the title character, then proclaims, "I'm not out to reform this world! Just to fight with this creature!"
- Cover Version: One of their most well known tracks is a heavy cover of Pink Floyd's "Astronomy Domine". Note that they covered something from Floyd's space/psychedelic rock days and not their later concept album-based work, to go with Voivod's sci-fi themes.
- Nevertheless, that doesn't stop them from covering "The Nile Song" of all songs for The Outer Limits. Among other things, they've also covered Venom and Slayer (both on the special edition of War And Pain), Mercyful Fate, King Crimson and Hawkwind. They even covered the Batman theme as a bonus track for Dimension Hatröss.
- Early Installment Weirdness: War and Pain and Rrröööaaarrr had a sound a lot closer to punk than any type of progressive music the band would play later; as mentioned above, it owed a heavy debt to Venom as opposed to Rush or Pink Floyd. They also have much more raw production (especially on War and Pain) and heavier overall music. Killing Technology is mostly where they found their sound, but still has elements of this due to placement on the Mohs Scale closer to the first two than its follow-up and Snake's voice being closer to a shout than clean singing.
- Epic Rocking: Frequently, especially from Killing Technology onward. The longest song by far is "Jack Luminous" from The Outer Limits, which is over 17 minutes in length. "Long" songs on other albums usually peak at 7-8 minutes up until The Wake, which includes "Sonic Mycelium" at over 12 minutes.
- Excited Show Title!: "To the Death!" from Rrröööaaarrr.
- Harsh Vocals: Denis "Snake" Bélanger mainly employs a loud, gruff, and very harsh shout on their first few albums, switching mainly to singing with Dimension Hatröss and Nothingface. Eric "E-Force" Forrest also employed an extremely harsh shout throughout Negatron.
- Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: Rrröööaaarrr and Dimension Hatröss. The latter also includes a song called "Chaosmöngers".
- Intentionally Awkward Title: Rrröööaaarrr, Voivod's second album during their early Thrash days. If it weren't for the band's name, you might be tempted to think that this is a Gwar album judging it purely on its title. Not that they sound anything like Gwar, mind you, but the scary-looking sci-fi mask guy on the cover and the unpronouncable title might give you that impression.
- Lead Bassist: Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault was a Type A, particularly on the earlier albums; his bass work was quite skillful and a very important part of the band's sound. Eric "E-Force" Forrest was a Type B. Jason Newsted is arguably a type C as he is probably the most famous person by far to ever have played in the band, even though his time in it isn't that well known.
- Lead Drummer: Michel "Away" Langevin is the only person to participate in all versions of the band, does all of the artwork for their albums and is usually the one to speak up on matters regarding the band.
- Lighter and Softer: Killing Technology to Rrröööaaarrr (very mildly) and more noticeably Dimension Hatröss to KT, at least in terms of the heaviness of the music. Angel Rat was a brief venture into this as well.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "Build Your Weapons" starts with Snake shouting the song's title, without any instrument backing.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally in the 7-8 range. The first four albums (Rrröööaaarrr especially) could occasionally creep up to 9. Angel Rat is more of a 6-7 range album.
- New Sound Album: Frequently.
- Killing Technology was a progressive thrash metal album. Dimension Hatröss put more influence on the "progressive" part to the point it is sometimes disputed whether it counts as a thrash album, and Nothingface was basically a straight prog-metal album.
- Angel Rat carried prominent influence from Psychedelic Rock and shifted towards a more alternative sound.
- The Outer Limits is sort of a best-of-both-worlds of their late-eighties output and Angel Rat.
- Negatron was the heaviest thing they had done in quite some time due to the major groove and industrial influence.
- Phobos was not as heavy as Negatron but was a bit more progressive than that record.
- Voivod through Infini had a very noticeable Motörhead vibe to them.
- Target Earth was just about an Old Sound Album, being the closest they've been to their late-eighties sound in over twenty years, and it was also the first album not to have any of Piggy's guitar playing. Post Society and The Wake largely stick to refining this sound.
- Rock Trio: Only during the E-Force era.
- Self-Titled Album: There was a self-titled song on War and Pain, and a proper s/t album released in 2003.
- Spikes of Villainy: A staple of Away's artwork for the band, particularly during the early era.
- Word Salad Lyrics: Their first two albums often got like this, perhaps due to Snake being a mostly French-speaking Canadian.