Saturday, January 31, 2015

Live Review : Voivod @ the Masquerade

This was a show I had been waiting for since was announced. I think I was looking forward to seeing Voivod as much I was looking forward to King Diamond. So they are without a doubt one of my all time favorite bands. But regular readers know that means the bar is also raised really high for them. We got there right as the band was taking the stage. They opened up with "Warriors of Ice" off "War and Pain". Snake had a big smile on his face and seemed to be having fun right when he stepped on stage in a leather vest and Doom shirt. They followed this with one of my all time favorite songs, not just of their catalogue, but of all time... "Tribal Convictions". This is where sound crunched in and tightened it's guts. At first glance I thought Blacky was on stage and he was just low in the mix, since his bass tone has a growl to it that is just another defining characteristic of the Voi Vod sound, after all Away did not look like he had aged until I saw him up close when I shook his hand after the show, thirteen year old me would have been freaking out at this point.Later on Snake introduced the new bassist as Rocky and asked the crowd if he was greasy enough for them.

 One thing that is pretty impressive and speaks to the bands integrity is the fact the didn't just shove a bunch of new songs in your face, not that I mind the new stuff, but almost everything was off the first five albums. This is funny to me because when I listen to 'Target Earth" I sometimes think this is the album that should have come after "Nothing Face". Not taking any thing away from "Angel Rat" or "Outer Limits" as I love those albums too, that just the vibe I get from it. From "Killing Technology" they ripped into the beautifully dissonant thrashing space punk of "Forgotten In Space". This is the first song that grabbed my fiance who was at the bar for the first song and originally came to see Napalm Death. By the time Napalm Death was on and her mind had been blown by Voivod, she was having a hard time taking grind-core seriously after being bathed in what the Canadian metal legends do.

Of course as Voivod's career progressed they became more progressive with each album, so it only made sense for them to play something from "Nothing Face" next. So the even more winding road of "Inner Combustion" unfolded. Snake's voice was spot on all night. He contorted his face in a series of cartoon like grimaces through out. Away proved he is one of metals best drummers, his feet are insane. Chewy also did a good job with the old stuff, he also proved he can shred when he wants to thanks to his solo in the one and "Astronomy Domine" . Rocky doesn't have the same cutting tone that Blacky had for this era of their work, where the bass has more snarl than the guitar. Chewy does have a more traditional metal tone than Piggy as well, but he knows how to hit the dissonant chords to get their signature sound. The one new song is actually their new single "We are All Connected" which is being released as a split single with At the Gates. It's a good song that blends both sides the old and the new, maybe even more fluidly than "Target Earth" which was pretty spot on to begin with.

 They wrapped the show up with their punk fueled theme song "Voivod" and their last song which Snake dedicated to Piggy "Astronomy Domine"...the Pink Floyd cover off of "Nothing Face' which taught metal heads the world over about Syd Barrett era Floyd.I ran into the every one but Snake during Napalm Death's set. Napalm Death like Voivod , had not lost anything over the years. Barney Greenway, looks younger now than he did in their hey day. He was wildly energetic circling the stage like a windmill in a tornado. Their drummer takes a different approach than Away, but is pretty monstrous in his own right. I didn't realize Ringworm played this show until I passed their merch table, if situations were different that day I wouldn't have minded catching those guys. At is was I am glad I got there in the mick of time so I did not miss a second of Voivod's set. This is the show for 2015 others bands are going to be measured by.

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