After releasing a highly acclaimed EP in “Post Society” last year, followed by a series of re-releases of their iconic 80’s records by the reactivated Noise Records label, VOIVOD had a good reason to tour the globe again, if they ever needed one. Set on one more trip around the world this time the band finally marked a small dot where Belgrade, Serbia should be on their map.
First time here in 35 years?
A truly devastating fact and a real shame for the fans of the band of all ages. Make no mistake, you could definitely see a generation contrast last night. This is yet another piece of evidence proving Voivod’s music is considered evergreen among metalheads. Fortunately, the band was determined to use their hour and a half show to make up for more than three decades worth of tours, mosh pits, gallons of sweat and smiles.
It seems the band was pleased with the reception. They performed in a small or intimate (if we’re going to be politically correct) club at the Belgrade Youth Center which was completely packed. Not the most fortunate choice of venue, given the interest and the solid number of metalheads there. But even though the club was crowded, the band or the audience did not seem to mind. The energy we created was incredible, so strong not even the largest arena could hold it down.
Even though Voivod might not be as famous as some of their contemporaries, they deserve the title of “legendary” more so than anyone else. Voivod inspired many musicians not to see the world in black and white by combining their love for two seemingly different worlds: the raw energy of punk and metal and the atmosphere and layered soundscape of the prog rock genre. Without them, we might never have had bands like Cynic, Death or Opeth, whose members professed their love for Voivod’s music on more than one occasion.
The best proof that the band was ahead of their time is the fact that the songs taken off of albums such as “Killing Technology”, “Dimension Hatröss” or “War and Pain” still sound fresh. The same goes for their latest EP, “Post Society” which the band was promoting with a couple of tracks last night. The setlist was comprised of all the fan favorites from the band’s “golden days”. Something for everyone, as they say.
The humble stage setup also helped take us through time into the 80’s, to a club in US the likes of which some of us have only had the chance to see in movies made during those times. You know, one of those clubs where the leather-clad gangs used to gather at, the same gangs a handsome protagonist would beat the shit out of to demonstrate his power. But what the show lacked in stage setup, the band made up for in their musical prowess and warm words. “We did not know what to expect from Belgrade, Serbia but what I’m looking at is fucking fantastic”, Denis “Snake” Bélanger said. Even though they’ve come a long way since the 80’s, the band is still as youthful but with added years of experience into the mix. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the show checked out every requirement even for the pickiest ones among us. “I think we made new friends. Or old ones”, Snake concluded.
The band thanked the crowd at the end of the show and waved a flag with a highly creative use of their name and logo paired with the name of a province in Serbia called Vojvodina (see the resemblance?). Even though they might not catch the play on words, the band was impressed with the flag nonetheless. I’ve also heard that the band members were hanging around with fans, taking photos and signing stuff after the show. Huge props for that, knowing what touring can do to musicians and knowing how others tend to neglect their fans out of pure vanity.
Even though Voivod’s show is something people will be talking about for weeks, let’s not forget the brilliant support in EARTH SHIP. Fans of sludge who came early and in great numbers had the chance to enjoy the heavy Berlin trio. Their crushing riffs were a catalyst for some serious headbanging, the crowd swinging their heads like blades of grass in the wind. Loud, heavy, and massive definitely best describe the band’s music. The set lasting nearly 40 minutes was just long enough to satisfy their fans, but not too long as to make Voivod fans restless.
Concluding this review with “we hope the band comes again soon” might seem tacky, but I’m sure this was on everyone’s mind right after the show. I’m glad so many people of all ages gathered not just to see, but truly enjoy and participate in these legends’ performance. I firmly believe that these types of shows are what keeps bands like Voivod moving forward despite all the pitfalls of the modern music industry and the fact we’re not getting any younger, at the risk of sounding tacky yet again.