Saturday, June 4, 2022

Alchemy and Anarchy: Voïvod Reappears in America

L to R: Chewy, Snake, Away and Rocky of Voïvod (Photo credit: Catherine Deslauriers)

As tons of bands finally make their long-delayed return to stages around the globe, it’s no surprise that the veteran sonic alchemists of Voïvod are back with perhaps the most musically adventurous tour of the year.

After kicking off 2022 with the February release of its extraordinary 15th studio album, Synchro Anarchy, the band is now a day away from blasting through a North American run that concludes June 19th at the Brighton Music Hall in Boston.

Voïvod’s return to American soil is significant to this writer for several reasons. One, the current incarnation of the quartet – original members Michel “Away” Langevin (drums) and Denis “Snake” Belanger (vocals) alongside guitarist Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain and bassist Dominic “Rocky” Laroche – has spent recent years creating music that easily meets (and often exceeds) the high standard set by 1988’s Dimension Hatröss, 1989’s Nothingface and other early Voïvod classics. Two, the group is a perennial favorite of this very website via years’ worth of band member interviews and album reviews. (Check out the links at the end of this piece.) Three, this band has been creating its unique brand of wildly inventive Metal for nearly 40 years now. If you’ve never caught Voïvod live, now is the time to experience an esoteric ride like no other.

The COVID-19 era has not been kind to professional musicians, and Voïvod is one of many acts that faced considerable roadblocks and delays over the past two-plus years. Fortunately, the group has never been one to surrender to great challenges. Although the death of a key member has destroyed more than a few bands, Voïvod rose above the tragic 2005 passing of legendary original guitarist Denis "Piggy" D’Amour to create music that honors its fallen comrade’s spirit while moving its sound into thrilling new territories. (Those new to Voïvod’s post-Piggy output should immediately give 2018’s The Wake a listen.)

As Snake told me last year, “When we decided to keep going without Piggy, I think [Away and I] both had the same intention to keep Voïvod alive no matter what in honor of him. We said to his parents at the funeral that we wanted to do music in order to keep it and the spirit of Piggy alive as long as we could. It certainly bound a lot of things between me and [Away] when the tragedy happened, and that’s why we keep on doing it. We’re not going to give up easily after going through such things. Even the COVID’s not going to kill us!”

Four decades after co-founding the band, Away maintains his enthusiasm for all things Voïvod.

“Just to still be touring and recording is amazing,” he shared with me in 2018. “The people into Voïvod are very loyal; I really owe that to them. It really motivates me into writing a new album so they can hear it and we can go and play it all across the planet and meet our friends again year and year. It’s really my love of playing and recording music that keeps me going.”

As the tour progresses, I’m going to make it a point to avoid any mentions of the band’s current setlist. As always with Voïvod, I want to be surprised and enthralled – the same emotions I feel every time these guys release new music. I cannot wait until Away, Snake, Chewy and Rocky touch down in Boston for my latest opportunity to experience performers who are always distinctly themselves.

Voïvod US Tour Dates:
June 5: Detroit, MI - Small’s
June 6: Chicago, IL - Reggies
June 8: Huntington, WV - The Loud
June 9: Columbus, OH - Ace of Cups
June 10: Philadelphia, PA - The Fillmore Decibel Magazine Metal and Beer Festival (There will be a Voïvod beer)
June 11: Baltimore, MD - Ottobar
June 13: Pittsburgh, PA - Crafthouse
June 14: Buffalo, NY - Rec Room
June 15: Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
June 17: Brooklyn, NY - Market Hotel
June 18 Liverpool, NY - Sharkey’s
June 19 Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall

More on Voïvod on This Site: