Voïvod – “To The Death 84″ (Alternative Tentacles, VIRUS432, 2011) / “Warriors Of Ice” (self released, INDCD116, 2011)

Here, are two Voïvod discs I wasn’t aware of, that I just recently ordered from the http://www.irongang.com site with a great book on Away’s artwork, which I assume is on the way soon as well, to my mailbox. This is a band that paved way, along with conceptualists Celtic Frost, for progressive influenced music that existed in its early form in a realm blurring the boundaries between blackmetal and thrashmetal, progressive rock, punk, and even spacerock.

To The Death 84 has been released on Jello Biafra’s “Alternative Tentacles” label, and it goes to show how immensely influental early Voïvod was to bridge punk, progressive and metal genres. Recorded in January 1984 just prior to the release of the War And Pain debut, it sounds tremendeous to be recorded audience style with two mics – it has been re-mastered to CD/digital very well. It sounds like a soundboard recording. Most of the material is from the first album and second album, as well, plus some covers of Mercyful Fate and a couple of Venom tracks. This recording is a treasure for fans of old Voïvod, with classics like Live For Violence, Nuclear War, Black City, etc. etc. An essential effort for anyone who wants to hear historical True Metal. Fantastic purchase with lots of great early photos, and old Away art inside.

Warriors Of Ice is a 2009 Live recording with the Chewy/Blacky/Snake/Away lineup and it is a blitzkrieg of ferocious Voïvodness, from beginning to end. Chewy imititates Piggy’s guitar work nicely, Piggy used an odd signature like fast jazz, like a scale with timed breaks even, which gave Voïvod that King Crimson feel, as if played by early Chaos UK or The Exploited if one can imagine that. They do material from Angel Rat, which is always welcome to my ears, as I also have the demos for that lovely prog album, and I have recordings of the late 90’s Eric Forrest lineup doing Angel Rat tracks like The Prow and Panorama, thrashing it up all over with melody intact. They do those two signature Angel Rat tracks here. The CD also has early stuff like the opener Voïvod, being the band’s anthem, and Nuclear War from the War & Pain album as well. The excellent Floyd cover from my least favorite Voïvid album, 1989’s Nothingface, but the Astronomy Domine version here is great. Additionally, some stuff from Infini, the album of that year, which was the last to feature ex-Metallica Jason Newsted on bass, so here are some good tracks from that underrated CD. Also included are a couple of tracks from the blistering cyberpunk-thrasher 3rd LP, Killing Technology, like Tornado and Overreaction. It is definitely not for the faint hearted, this band, but I like to review their stuff here at AI, as the SF themes, concept LP’s, and general prog referential nods toward Rush, Floyd and Crimson, they are still the best band in Canada, unless you somehow count the “R”-name band…

For more information visit the Voivod web site at: http://www.voivod.com

Reviewed by Christian Eric Mumford

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