Voivod (band)

Last updated
Voivod on Masters of Rock 2009 in Vizovice
Background information
Origin Jonquière, Quebec, Canada
Years active1982–present
Associated acts
Website www.voivod.com OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
Members Michel "Away" Langevin
Denis "Snake" Bélanger
Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain
Dominic "Rocky" Laroche
Past members Denis "Piggy" D'Amour
Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault
Pierre St. Jean
Gilles Brisebois
Eric "E-Force" Forrest
Jason "Jasonic" Newsted

Voivod (or Voïvod) is a Canadian heavy metal band from Jonquière, Quebec. The band's current line-up consists of Denis "Snake" Bélanger (vocals), Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain (guitar), Dominique "Rocky" Laroche (bass) and Michel "Away" Langevin (drums). Their musical style has changed several times since the band's origin in the early 1980s. Starting out as a speed metal band, Voivod have added a mix of progressive metal and thrash metal to create their own unique metal style, and they are credited as one of the "big four" Canadian thrash metal bands, along with Sacrifice, Razor, and Annihilator. [6] [7] [8]

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Jonquière Borough in Quebec, Canada

Jonquière is a borough (arrondissement) of the city of Saguenay in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec, Canada. It is located on the Saguenay River, near the borough of Chicoutimi.

Quebec Province of Canada

Quebec is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is bordered to the west by the province of Ontario and the bodies of water James Bay and Hudson Bay; to the north by Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay; to the east by the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador; and to the south by the province of New Brunswick and the US states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. It also shares maritime borders with Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. Quebec is Canada's largest province by area and its second-largest administrative division; only the territory of Nunavut is larger. It is historically and politically considered to be part of Central Canada.


Since 1982, when it was co-founded by guitarist Denis "Piggy" D'Amour, Voivod have released fourteen studio albums, as well as one EP, one live album, two compilations, seven demos and one DVD featuring a live concert. The band found mainstream success in the late 1980s with their fifth studio album Nothingface (1989), which is Voivod's only album to enter the Billboard 200 charts, peaking at number 114. [9] The band won the "Visionary" award at the 2017 Progressive Music Awards. [10] Voivod's most recent studio album, The Wake , was released in September 2018.

Denis DAmour Canadian musician

Denis "Piggy" D'Amour was a Canadian guitarist. D'Amour was a member of the Canadian heavy metal band Voivod from its inception in 1982 until his death from colon cancer in 2005, aged 45.

<i>Nothingface</i> (Voivod album) 1989 studio album by Voivod

Nothingface is the fifth studio album by Canadian metal band Voivod. It was released by Mechanic/MCA Records on October 13, 1989. The album marked a change for the band, expanding their music and exploring more progressive sounds. Several riffs are heavily influenced by Igor Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring", specifically the centre section of "Pre-Ignition".

The Billboard 200 is a record chart ranking the 200 most popular music albums and EPs in the United States. It is published weekly by Billboard magazine. It is frequently used to convey the popularity of an artist or groups of artists. Often, a recording act will be remembered by its "number ones", those of their albums that outperformed all others during at least one week. The chart grew from a weekly top 10 list in 1956 to become a top 200 in May 1967, and acquired its present title in March 1992. Its previous names include the Billboard Top LPs (1961–72), Billboard Top LPs & Tape (1972–84), Billboard Top 200 Albums (1984–85) and Billboard Top Pop Albums.


Initial career (1982–1990)

The original Voivod lineup in a 1986 promotional photo. From left to right: Away, Piggy, Blacky and Snake. Voivod 4.gif
The original Voivod lineup in a 1986 promotional photo. From left to right: Away, Piggy, Blacky and Snake.

Voivod was formed in 1982 in Jonquière, Quebec, Canada. Influenced equally by the new wave of British heavy metal, the burgeoning hardcore punk scene and 1970s progressive rock, Voivod forged a distinctive brand of heavy music that often relied on lyrical themes such as Reagan-era Cold War politics, post-apocalyptic literature and science fiction. Killing Technology (1987) began the band's evolution in earnest, with the character from Voivod's album covers (drawn by drummer Away and named as "Korgull" on 1986's Rrröööaaarrr ) significantly being depicted in a spaceship. Drawing more heavily on hardcore punk than metal influences by this point, [11] Voivod began evolving without the aid of increasing speed and storytelling [12] on the following Dimension Hatross. Voivod was one of the first thrash bands from Canada to gain popularity outside of their country's borders, reaching the peak of their global popularity with the 1989 album Nothingface which featured a cover version of Pink Floyd's "Astronomy Domine". [13] Other covers include Pink Floyd's "The Nile Song" on their 1993 album The Outer Limits and "21st Century Schizoid Man" by King Crimson on Phobos. Much of the band's sound comes from guitarist Piggy's use of dissonant chords, usually played in the high register of the guitar, used extensively on Nothingface. Albums like Dimension Hatröss are dominated by unexpected time signatures and guitarist Piggy's liberal use of dissonant, unconventional minor chords. [1]

The new wave of British heavy metal was a nationwide musical movement that started in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s and achieved international attention by the early 1980s. Journalist Geoff Barton coined the term in a May 1979 issue of the British music newspaper Sounds to describe the emergence of new heavy metal bands in the mid to late 1970s, during the period of punk rock's decline and the dominance of new wave music.

Hardcore punk Subgenre of punk rock

Hardcore punk is a punk rock music genre and subculture that originated in the late 1970s. It is generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock. Its roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes in San Francisco and Southern California which arose as a reaction against the still predominant hippie cultural climate of the time. It was also inspired by New York punk rock and early proto-punk. New York punk had a harder-edged sound than its San Francisco counterpart, featuring anti-art expressions of masculine anger, energy, and subversive humor. Hardcore punk generally disavows commercialism, the established music industry and "anything similar to the characteristics of mainstream rock" and often addresses social and political topics with "confrontational, politically-charged lyrics."

Progressive rock is a broad genre of rock music that developed in the United Kingdom and United States throughout the mid- to late 1960s. Initially termed "progressive pop", the style was an outgrowth of psychedelic bands who abandoned standard pop traditions in favour of instrumentation and compositional techniques more frequently associated with jazz, folk, or classical music. Additional elements contributed to its "progressive" label: lyrics were more poetic, technology was harnessed for new sounds, music approached the condition of "art", and the studio, rather than the stage, became the focus of musical activity, which often involved creating music for listening rather than dancing.

Departures of Blacky and Snake, and Eric Forrest-era (1991–2000)

Two of the four founding members (bassist Jean-Yves Thériault and vocalist Denis Bélanger) left Voivod in the early 1990s. Jean-Yves co-founded The Holy Body Tattoo an avant-garde modern dance company base in Vancouver BC and also wrote extensively all the music for it, as well as other electronic music projects, while Denis Belanger isolated himself and eventually started a new project, Union Made. Meanwhile, the band recorded four albums as a trio in the mid-to-late 1990s with new member Eric Forrest, nicknamed "E-Force", handling both vocals and bass guitar. Forrest was seriously injured in a car accident in Germany in 1998, and that incarnation of Voivod never regained the momentum they lost during his rehabilitation. After Eric Forrest left the band, his insurance company attempted to sue the band for the injuries he sustained in the crash, as he was in the care of the band at the time.

Jean-Yves Thériault Canadian guitarist

Jean-Yves Thériault (Blacky) is the former bassist for Canadian thrash/progressive metal band Voivod. He co-founded the band and appeared on the first six albums – War and Pain, Rrröööaaarrr, Killing Technology, Dimension Hatross, Nothingface, and Angel Rat. He departed the group in 1991 for personal reasons, and went on to co-found The Holy Body Tattoo Dance Society from 1992 to 1999. He composed, produced and engineered the scores for "White Riot", "L'Orage", "Poetry & Apocalypse", and "Our Brief Eternity".

Denis Bélanger Canadian singer

Denis "Snake" Bélanger is the vocalist and lyricist of the Canadian heavy metal band Voivod.

Eric Forrest is a Canadian heavy metal musician. Active since 1988, Forrest is best known for playing in a number of metal bands, including Voivod and E-Force.

Reunion with Snake, death of Piggy, and Katorz (2001–2006)

Voivod briefly disbanded in 2001 before Bélanger returned to the band. [14] The next incarnation of Voivod featured three of the four founding members: Denis Bélanger (aka Snake, vocals), Denis D'Amour (Piggy, guitars), and Michel Langevin (Away, drums) along with Jason Newsted (Jasonic, of Flotsam and Jetsam and Metallica) on bass guitar. Guitarist Denis D'Amour died at the age of 45 on 26 August 2005 due to complications from colon cancer. [15] Soon after they released Katorz (which is an "alternative" way of writing "quatorze", fourteen in French), in July 2006. The album is based around riffs found on the laptop of guitarist Denis D'Amour. Just prior to his death, he left instructions for his bandmates on how to use them. In November 2006, the song "X-Stream" was featured on Guitar Hero II .

Michel Langevin Canadian musician

Michel "Away" Langevin is a founding member and drummer for the Canadian heavy metal band Voivod. He has been a constant member of the band since its formation in 1982. Langevin is credited with the creation of the mythology of the post-apocalyptic vampire lord Voivod, about which the band originally coalesced, and is largely responsible for its continuing science fiction themes.

Jason Newsted American musician

Jason Curtis Newsted is an American metal musician, known for being the bass guitarist with the band Metallica from October 1986 until his sudden departure in January 2001.

Flotsam and Jetsam (band) thrash metal group from Phoenix, Arizona

Flotsam and Jetsam is an American thrash metal and progressive metal band that formed in Phoenix, Arizona in 1981. The band currently consists of vocalist Eric "A.K" Knutson, guitarists Michael Gilbert and Steve Conley, bassist Michael Spencer, and drummer Ken Mary. Flotsam and Jetsam went through several lineup changes over the years, and Knutson has been the only constant member of the band. They are also notable for featuring bassist Jason Newsted, who left the band shortly after the release of their debut album to join Metallica as Cliff Burton's replacement.

Voivod 2009 Voivod 1.png
Voivod 2009

Infini, return of Blacky (2007–2009)

Voivod were planning to work on what was to be their final studio album in late 2007, [16] which contained tracks recorded with D'Amour before his death. Voivod was part of the Heavy MTL show that was held in Montreal on the 22nd of June, 2008. Voivod also performed at the Monsters of Rock Festival in Calgary, Canada on 26 July 2008, and supported Judas Priest at the Bell Center, Montreal, Canada on 12 August 2008. Voivod also played a full set at Thrash Domination in Kawasaki, Japan, 20–21 September 2008, along with the bands Testament and Forbidden. The band consisted of Bélanger, Langevin, a returning 'Blacky' Thériault, and Dan Mongrain on guitar.

Testament (band) American metal band

Testament is an American thrash metal band from Berkeley, California. Formed in 1982 under the name Legacy, the band's current lineup comprises guitarists Eric Peterson and Alex Skolnick, lead vocalist Chuck Billy, drummer Gene Hoglan, and bassist Steve Di Giorgio. Since its inception, Testament has had numerous lineup changes, leaving Peterson as the only constant member. Billy replaced original singer Steve "Zetro" Souza in 1986, prior to the recording of their first studio album, The Legacy, and has been a member of the band since. He and Peterson are the only members to appear on all of Testament's studio albums.

Forbidden was a thrash metal band from the San Francisco Bay Area. Formed in 1985 as Forbidden Evil, the group was founded by Russ Anderson and Craig Locicero, who were both ever-present members. Since their formation, Forbidden have broken up and reformed twice with numerous line-up changes. The most recent line-up of the band comprised Anderson (vocals), Locicero (guitar), Matt Camacho (bass), Steve Smyth (guitar) and Sasha Horn (drums). After breaking up for the first time in 1998 and briefly returning in 2001, Forbidden reunited once again in 2007 but has been on an indefinite hiatus since 2013.

In early January 2009, Voivod announced that they were putting the finishing touches on their new album and expected to release it in the spring of that year. [17] The album, now known as Infini , was released on June 23, 2009. [18]

Target Earth (2010–2013)

By July 2010, Voivod had been writing and recording new music (including Dan Mongrain on guitar). On July 4, 2012, Voivod announced the title of their thirteenth studio album, Target Earth , which was released on January 22, 2013. [19] Target Earth has a more progressive sound than some of their last few albums, and is a return to a more "classic" Voivod sound that can be heard on Dimension Hatross and Nothingface. All the music was written by Blacky and Chewy, while Snake focused on lyrics, and Away took care of the artwork. [20]

Second departure of Blacky, Post Society, and The Wake (2014–present)

On July 10, 2014, it was reported that Blacky had left Voivod again. [21] It was announced that he was forced out of the band. For months he requested meetings regarding the band business and artistic affairs, but was denied such talks by one of the other members. In late January 2015 the band released the new single "We Are Connected" which is the lead track from the 7-inch split vinyl disc with the band At the Gates. It is the first music to feature new bassist Dominic "Rocky" Laroche. They also released a new, five-track EP, entitled Post Society , featuring two new tracks and a cover of Hawkwind's "Silver Machine", on February 26, 2016. [22]

As early as February 2015, Voivod began work on their fourteenth studio album, which was to be released in 2016 [23] but later pushed back to 2017. [24] [25] The band was expected to begin recording the album in August 2017. [26] In June 2017, Langevin told Rock Sverige that the songwriting was almost completed with an estimated release for early 2018. He also said that the album would probably be a double-album on vinyl due to the songs being "really long and progressive", describing them as "seven or eight minutes long songs" and with it being a concept album as well. [27] On November 6, 2017, Voivod announced on their Facebook page that they had entered the studio to begin recording their new album, [28] titled The Wake , which was released in September 2018. [29]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Voivod among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire. [30]

Musical style and influences

Voivod's style is considered progressive metal and thrash metal. [1] [31] Their 1991 album Angel Rat has been labeled alternative metal. [4] Voivod's influences include Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky, Dimitri Shostakovich, Yes, Einstürzende Neubauten, GBH, Genesis, Hawkwind, Judas Priest, Killing Joke, King Crimson, Motörhead, Nektar, Pink Floyd, Ramones, Rush, Van der Graaf Generator, Venom and UFO. [32] [33] [34] [35] [36]




Guest musicians


Voivod (band)


Related Research Articles

<i>War and Pain</i> 1984 studio album by Voivod

War and Pain is the debut studio album from Canadian heavy metal band Voivod, released on August 10, 1984 through Metal Blade Records. According to a 1986 TV interview with the band, it sold over 40,000 copies within 2 years of its release.

<i>Rrröööaaarrr</i> 1986 studio album by Voivod

Rrröööaaarrr is the second studio album by Canadian heavy metal band Voivod. It was released in 1986 on Noise Records. Estimated sales are more than 40,000 copies, worldwide. In a 2012 interview with Michael Dodd of Get Your Rock Out, vocalist Denis Bélanger stated that, while a thrash record, the album represents a progression from the punk/thrash sound of War and Pain to the more progressive elements that would feature on Killing Technology.

<i>Killing Technology</i> 1987 studio album by Voivod

Killing Technology is the third studio album by Canadian heavy metal band Voivod. It was released in 1987 on Noise Records and was the first to combine elements of progressive rock in the band's thrash metal sound. According to interviews contemporary to the release of Killing Technology, by 1986 Voivod were more influenced by hardcore punk and crossover bands than by other metal bands, with only Kreator and Motörhead still appreciated by all band members. Estimated sales are more than 60,000 copies worldwide.

<i>Dimension Hatröss</i> 1988 studio album by Voivod

Dimension Hatröss is the fourth studio album by the Canadian heavy metal band Voivod. It was released on June 29, 1988 on Noise Records and is a concept album which narrates the exploits of Voivod’s mascot cyborg Korgull. The cover concept and artwork was produced by drummer Michel Langevin. Estimated sales are more than 70,000 copies, worldwide.

<i>Angel Rat</i> 1991 studio album by Voivod

Angel Rat is the sixth studio album released by the Canadian heavy metal band Voivod. Produced by Terry Brown of Rush fame, it was released in 1991 by Mechanic/MCA Records and is the follow-up to their critically acclaimed release, 1989's Nothingface. On this album, Voivod adopts a more alternative/progressive/psychedelic rock sound, as opposed to the progressive metal of Nothingface and the thrash metal of previous releases. A music video was made for the song "Clouds in My House".

<i>The Outer Limits</i> (album) 1993 studio album by Voivod

The Outer Limits is the seventh studio album released by Canadian heavy metal band Voivod. It was issued via Mechanic/MCA Records in 1993. The album features a cover of "The Nile Song", originally by the British progressive rock band Pink Floyd, and Voivod's longest song "Jack Luminous", tracking in at 17 minutes and 26 seconds. When originally issued, the CD came with a miniature pair of 3D glasses in order to view the booklet art. The text in the upper right corner of the album cover reads "Number 8" to represent that it is actually the band's eighth album release overall following the compilation The Best of Voivod.

<i>Negatron</i> (album) 1995 studio album by Voivod

Negatron is the eighth studio album by Canadian heavy metal band Voivod, released on November 21, 1995 through Hypnotic Records worldwide and Mausoleum Records in the US. It is the first studio album not to feature original singer Denis "Snake" Bélanger, who temporarily left the band in 1994, with bass player Eric Forrest assuming vocal duties for the recording.

<i>Phobos</i> (album) 1997 studio album by Voivod

Phobos is the ninth studio album released by Canadian thrash metal/progressive metal band Voivod. It was released on Hypnotic Records in 1997. It is also the second and last studio album to feature bassist and vocalist Eric Forrest.

<i>Voivod Lives</i> 2000 live album by Voivod

Voivod Lives is the first full-length live album, and twelfth album overall, by the Canadian thrash metal/progressive metal band Voivod. It was released in 2000 on Century Media Records in Europe and Metal Blade Records in the US. The US edition features two bonus tracks recorded in 1999 for a broadcasting on the Swedish Sveriges Radio.

<i>Voivod</i> (album) 2003 studio album by Voivod

Voivod is the tenth studio album and thirteenth release overall by Canadian thrash metal/progressive metal band Voivod. It is the first to feature, since 1993's The Outer Limits, returning vocalist Denis Bélanger (Snake) and their first recording with bassist Jason Newsted (Jasonic), formerly of Metallica. It was released in 2003 on Newsted's Chophouse Records label. This is also the last album Voivod completed before guitarist Denis D'Amour (Piggy) died of colon cancer in 2005.

<i>Katorz</i> 2006 studio album by Voivod

Katorz is the eleventh studio album and fourteenth release overall by the Canadian heavy metal band Voivod, released on July 25, 2006. The name of the album is a phonetic spelling of "quatorze", the French word for fourteen.

Thrashing Rage is an EP by Canadian heavy metal band Voivod, released in 1986 by Noise Records.

<i>Infini</i> (album) 2009 studio album by Voivod

Infini is the twelfth studio album and fifteenth release overall by the Canadian heavy metal band Voivod, released on June 23, 2009. It is their last album to include contributions by their late original guitarist Piggy, who died nearly four years earlier, and their last to feature Jason Newsted on bass.

<i>Target Earth</i> (album) 2013 studio album by Voivod

Target Earth is the thirteenth studio album, and the sixteenth release overall, by the Canadian heavy metal band Voivod, which was released on January 22, 2013. This is the first Voivod studio album to feature Daniel Mongrain on guitar and the only one since 1991's Angel Rat with Jean-Yves Thériault on bass.

Cockroaches is an EP by Canadian heavy metal band Voivod, released in 1987 by Noise Records. Both tracks from this EP appeared on the cassette and CD versions of the Killing Technology album.

<i>Post Society</i> 2016 EP by Voivod

Post Society is an EP by Canadian heavy metal band Voivod released on February 26, 2016. It is the band's seventeenth release overall and the first studio release with Dominique Laroche on bass, replacing Jean-Yves Thériault.

<i>The Wake</i> (Voivod album) Voivod album

The Wake is the fourteenth studio album, and eighteenth release overall, by Canadian heavy metal band Voivod. The album was released on September 21, 2018 through Century Media Records.


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