Album of the day: Voivod – To The Death 84

Praise for Voivod‘s To The Death 84 from San Francisco’s aQuarius Records: The far out French-Canadian sci-fi metal institution Voivod, legendary geniuses at both raw punkish thrash and advanced psychedelic prog, recently brought us an excellent live album, Warriors Of Ice, their first recording without the presence of late, great guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour – although of course he’d had a hand in writing the songs, all old Voivod classics. It gave us reason to look forward to their future (studio) endeavors with Piggy’s replacement, Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain.

Looking in the other direction, though, we’ve got this blast from the ancient past, featuring their original lineup of Piggy, Snake, Blacky, and Away. Alternative Tentacles, as if to celebrate the continuing legacy of Voivod, have just done an official reissue, on CD and vinyl, of one of the band’s earliest demo tapes. As the title indicates, the year was 1984. Dystopian thrash was the primal order of the day. Light years from the technical and melodic extremes that they would eventually achieve – yet of course utterly “extreme” in its own right, and definitely already imbued with Voivod’s trademark strangeness.

This release consists of 15 tracks, including such destined-to-be-well-known headbangers as ‘Voivod’, ‘War And Pain’, ‘Blower’, ‘Suck Your Bone’, ‘Nuclear War’, and ‘Iron Gang’, amongst others you’ll recognize from Voivod’s first few albums. Plus, they do a couple of cool covers that indicate Voivod aligned themselves with the “black metal” bands of their day: ‘Evil’ by Mercyful Fate, and ‘Buried Alive’ and ‘Bursting Out’ by Venom! Also, worth the price of admission for any Voivod fanatic, there’s the otherwise unreleased (except on other demos) track ‘Condemned To The Gallows’, very cool and very Voivod, dunno why they never recorded it for any of their albums proper.

Sonically, the production is actually not that bad, it really sounds pretty darn good for a DIY demo done so many years ago!! No complaints there. Nor with the material, needless to say, it’s killer stuff, as anyone into early ‘Vod would expect – though you may be at bit surprised at Snake’s harsh vocal style here, much sicker and screechier than what you may be used to, interesting indeed.

We can only hope that Alt Tentacles will follow up this historically significant release with a reissue of the Voivod’s debut demo, the one that preceded this, 1983’s Anachronism tape, which consisted mostly of covers by the likes of Judas Priest, Motorhead, Budgie, and various NWOBHM acts… we’d love to hear that too!

At 40 years old, Aquarius is the oldest independent record store in San Francisco. We try to only carry music we love, and we’re always searching for more new, cool, weird and wonderful music. All of which we then share with you, our loyal customers.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, November 19th, 2011 at 3:44 pm and is filed under 2011, Album of the Day, Roadburn Recommended . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Album of the day: Voivod – To The Death 84”

  1. Butch says:

    Love it!

    Brings back memories of tape trading in the early 80’s!!

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