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Home » 1990s Press & Interviews, Press & Interviews

1999.12 Metal Hammer Magazine Interview

Submitted by on August 11, 1999 – 7:20 pm

Metal Hammer – December 99
VOIVOD: BACK FROM THE DEAD by Malcolm Dome
Courtesy of Greg Godin.

Voivod, the celebrated Canadian space metal trio, have been talking for the first time about the horrific incident that nearly destroyed the band last year. ‘We were involved in an awful accident while travelling between gigs in Germany last August,’ drummer Michel Langevin explained to Metal Hammer. ‘Our van rolled over five times and Eric [Forrest, bassist/vocalist] was thrown through a window and broke his back in three places.’

At first doctors didn’t believe Forrest would live, but once he’d won that battle, Forrest was then told that it was highly unlikely he’d ever walk again.

‘But Eric never gave up,’ continues Langevin. ‘He is a true warrior. I remember the day that he called and told me that he’d taken his first steps without any aid. It was very emotional.’ Throughout his lengthy rehabilitation, Langevin and guitarist Dennis D’Amour stuck by Forrest, refusing even to contemplate replacing him.

‘Those guys were with me every step of the way,’ says Forrest. ‘I can never thank them enough. But you know, I feel so lucky in many ways. I could have been killed, yet here I am back in the band playing live. And I’ve got everything I need in life right now. And even now the doctors cannot explain how I could have made such a full recovery. I’ve totally baffled medical science.’

Still walking with the aid of a stick, as well as having metal plates inserted in his back, Forrest made an emotional return to live performance when almost a year to the day after the accident Voivod supported Iron Maiden in Toronto, his home city.

‘That meant so much to me, because Iron Maiden are my all-time favourite band, and Steve Harris is the reason I started playing bass.’

Now, Voivod – who’ve just played five shows in Britain and Ireland with Neurosis and Today Is The Day – are preparing for a full return to action. A new studio album is in the works (this will be the seventh, and final, chapter in the ongoing story of the mysterious creature called the Voivod), and before the end of the year, the trio will release a live album. Label negotiations are currently taking place. And the title of the album?

‘It’ll be called ‘Voivod Lives’,’ says Langevin. ‘After all we’ve been through, what else could it be have been called?’ …

NEUROSIS/VOIVOD/TODAY IS THE DAY
Live report from Metal Hammer December 1999.

JB’s, Dudley ‘THIS tour is so amazing, because all three bands are so different, but with strong similarities.’

Well, that’s the way Today Is The Day drummer Brann Dailor sums up the attraction of this three-band extreme music package. Put another way, it three features variations on the ‘Motorhead-meets-Pink-Floyd’ theme, each with a uniquely painful yet cathartic appeal.

Boston trio Today Is The Day make Iron Monkey’s brutal salvos seem as daunting as fluffy clouds wafting across a sunny sky. Theirs is a perverse, psychotic twist on psychedelia, contorting the heaviest riffs known to the human ear into a mesh of nightmares.

The fact that Voivod are here at all is a triumph. Given that bassist/vocalist Eric Forrest was close to death after a terrifying accident in Germany just over a year ago (see Frontline page 11), their presence is as welcome as it is something of a miracle. And tonight they don’t disappoint, their oddball brand of ‘space metal’ impressing the gathered throng. Highlights? Inevitably their version of Pink Floyd’s ‘Astronomy Domine’ and the classic ‘Tribal Convictions’. But with both live and studio albums on the way, it’s simply great just to have Voivod back.

The night, though, belongs to Neurosis. Deeply emotional performers, they combine swelling industrial-metal sounds, sub-sonic stoner grooves and furiously spiritual, yet visceral images in a manner that challenges and overwhelms. They make no verbal contact with the audience, instead sweeping all before them with a barrage of sight and sound so intense the true magnitude doesn’t dawn until afterwards. To say that Neurosis are in a class of their own is to understate their importance. But a word of warning: this show shouldn’t be experienced more than once a year. Otherwise your senses would be in severe danger of irreversible overload.

– Malcolm Dome

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