2004 Voivod bio by John Book and Greg Prato
Voivod 2004 bio by John Book and Greg Prato
Voivod (singer Denis “Snake” Belanger, guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour, drummer Michel Langevin, and bassist Jean-Yves Theriault) was one of the first thrash bands out of Canada to gain popularity outside of their home country. From their beginning in the early ’80s, their main goal was to be different from anyone else and thus they incorporated odd musical tempos and futuristic story lines into their songs, often dealing with technology taking over the world. Voivod opened the way for other Canadian thrash bands and for metal bands with their unique styles of performing and writing.
Such early releases as 1984’s War and Pain and 1986’s Rrrroooaaarrr! showed that the quartet was aligned to the then up-and-coming thrash metal movement (Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax), eventually letting their prog-rock influences (Pink Floyd, Rush, King Crimson) seep in on 1987’s Killing Technology and 1988’s Dimension Hatross. By the time of their major-label debut for MCA, 1989’s Nothingface, Voivod had perfected their thrash metal/prog rock style, resulting in the most commercially successful release of their career – spearheaded by a video for their cover of Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine” (which enjoyed airings on MTV’s Headbangers Ball) and a headlining club tour over a pair of bands that would soon change the landscape of alt- rock by the early ’90s, Soundgarden and Faith No More.
But just as it appeared as though Voivod may be able to break through to a wider audience, Theriault left the group right after the release of 1991’s Angel Rat as the album quickly sunk from sight while the rest of the rock world focused their attention on the burgeoning alt- rock/Seattle movement. The Outer Limits followed two years later, which was followed shortly thereafter by Belanger’s exit from the band. By the mid-’90s, Voivod’s lineup had been scaled down to a trio – newcomer Eric Forest doubled on vocals and bass, resulting in such releases as 1995’s Negatron and 1997’s Phobos. 2000 saw the release of the odds and ends compilation Kronik as well as the live set Lives. In early 2001, the remaining members decided to call it a day when Forest departed, only to reunite several months later with Belanger back on board and with former Metallica member (and longtime Voivod fan) Jason Newsted filling in on bass.