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Hatross Overlord

Joined: 30 Jan 2003
Posts: 2465

PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:43 pm    Post subject: VOIVOD - WAR AND PAIN Reply with quote


(Metal Blade Records, 1984)

Considering this is we had to start with where it all began for our favourite French Canucks - their debut album War & Pain. Mocked by the mainstream metal press on its release back in 1984 (Kerrang! scribe and later Voivod champion Xavier Russell derided War & Pain, saying 'Words can't describe (how bad it is)' and, inexplicably later explained that he thought this record was 'wimpy' - seriously, what the fuck?! - WAP has lost none of its ferocious power some 26-years (!) on. Almost machine-like noise in its Panzer tank delivery this was the birth of so-called Nuclear Metal, brought to us by four young heavy metal/punk upstarts from the small town of Jonquiere, Quebec with barely a word of English between them; Snake, Throat Insults & Screaming Mike Torture; Piggy, Burning Metal Axe; Blacky, Blower Bass and Away, Thunder Machine, as they described themselves and their instruments abused at the time. Nonetheless, from these humble yet raucous beginnings Voivod has enthralled and inspired countless fans and bands and fortunately continue to do so today.

The first time I heard Voivod was on the Speed Kills compilation, a record highlighting new and up-coming thrash bands of the early-mid eighties. Sitting between Venom's Black Metal and Megadeth's Rattlehead on side two, the title track bellowed its sludgy intro after the forewarning of *those* bells. I listened slack-jawed as Blacky's infamous blower bass buzzed ominously amidst Piggy's wrangled, almost wailing guitars; Away's tribal-esque drumming gravely called the hoards to war as Snake's vocals, this snarling, Merchant of Doom warned us of the horrors of the Vampire Voivod and the nuclear holocaust to come: 'You can see the fire in the sky/The bombs fall by your side ...' Needless to say, I had to get this album.

When I brought the record home, mindful of the somewhat unique album artwork and put the heavy slab of vinyl onto the turntable I had an inkling of what to expect, but not ... this. The call-to-arms opener of Voivod, from its industrial march-of-the-damned intro storms from the speakers with a barrage of filthy yet strangely hum-able noise, and from that moment the roar of 'VOIVOD!' will forever bond fans of the band, drunk or no.

Witness the carnage of Warriors of Ice, with its almost clumsy drum solo intro, Snake warning us of those 'wild hell fighters, cold weapons in hand'. Sonically Warriors � bounds along, grinding to a near-stop around the 4-minute mark before Piggy's solo howls and screeches, summoning the ice storms of death. Suck Your Bone seems almost bluesy to these ears, Piggy's lengthy solo screeching and screaming over Blacky�'s thumpthumpthump bass line. Iron Gang is perhaps the weakest track on the album, except for the incredible finale: 'Acid rain falls forever/Soak in the bones/The blood flows like a river/on metal road' and then Piggy slaughters the non-believers with a crushing solo.

After the aforementioned title track, Blower charges through, the shortest song on the record; this punk-influenced ditty takes no prisoners, killing all in its wake. Snake's vocals are hellishly visceral here - 'Eats like a grinder' - is spat at the listener. Live for Violence has that amazing riff that churns on blood-splattered, bone-shredded tank tracks, you know the one, dundundundun-dun-dundundundun-dun before Away's drumming hammers a warning to the Gods that the Vampire Voivod will destroy them; 'We whip the flesh' - oh yes, none shall survive this day.

Black City ... of all the tracks on WAP this is the one I played to death, simply for the jaw-dropping intro and Snake calling out 'Blacky!' before the blower bass ignites like a powder keg and the whole thing explodes in your face. Hardly the fastest song on the album it nevertheless stomps along at its own pace, throwing in the odd time change to remind the listener that there was more to this band than mere noise and attitude.

Finally we come to Nuclear War, the climax of this apocalyptic metal-fest, the Vampire Voivod spreading fear and death in a musical orgy of destruction. The atmosphere of this song is claustrophobic, intense, choking in its delivery; aghast, you smell your flesh as it burns and peels from your bones - 'Die in this Holocaust' - you will all burn in the nuclear fire of Voivod!

For a debut album, War and Pain was stunning. Voivod may have gone on to record some drastically different and truly musical defining albums (and we all have our favourites) but for sheer aural audacity one would be hard pressed to find an album more brash, more 'Fuck you!' than this.

In 1984 the Voivod was upon us. And things would never be the same again.


Last edited by Bacteria13 on Sat Mar 03, 2012 7:38 am; edited 2 times in total
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Warrior of Ice

Joined: 29 Aug 2005
Posts: 627
Location: Riviere-Rouge, QC, Canada

PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great review. Very Happy
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