Voivod look to the future

Canadian heavy-metal legends Voivod might not have a new studio record coming out in the near future but they do have a number of exciting projects on the go that will be certain to please the most ardent Voivod fan.

Since their 1984 debut, this Quebec-based band has carved a unique musical style through almost three decades of making music. From the band’s early thrash metal days through the more progressive material such as 1989’s landmark Nothingface record, the group has certainly experienced their share of ups and downs:

From earning the respect of heavy hitters such as the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and former Metallica member Jason Newsted through to the unfortunate passing of guitarist Denis D’Amour in 2005, there isn’t much that Voivod hasn’t accomplished or experienced.

First off, the news that Voivod fans will be stoked to hear: drummer Away confirms the band is currently in the process of remastering classic Voivod albums Rrroooaaarrr, Killing Technology and Dimension Hatross for re-release.

“I am actually in the process of finishing up the booklets and artwork for those albums,” he confirms. “We had actually started the wheels turning on this back in 2006 but ran into some difficulty.”

Those difficulties would include the label where those albums originally resided being bought out by Sanctuary Music which was in turn bought out by Universal Music, snaring the albums in a legal limbo for a period of time.

“It has only been in the last month that we were able to start the project again,” Away says from his Montreal home.

He confirms that the upcoming re-releases will see the original records remastered and will be expanded to include a DVD which will feature material from the “Iron Gang Archives”.

“I’ve been going through a lot of VHS tapes and cassette demos and converting that stuff to digital so that we can include it in this batch of remasters. It is a lot of work but very worth it.”

Asked about the fate of reissuing what could be two of the band’s most popular records (Nothingface and 1991’s Angel Rat), Away confirms there is no lack of desire for wanting to reissue those records but like the group’s other releases, they are currently caught in a legal limbo that is currently preventing the band from doing much of anything with them for the time being.

Also in the works behind the scenes are double vinyl reissues of both their Negatron and Phobos albums. And while those records are not necessarily being held back due to legal reasons, tracking down usable original artwork is proving to be the challenge as Away admits that the masters to those releases “are long gone”.

In addition to all of the above Voivod activity, Away is also celebrating the release of  “Worlds Away: Voivod & The Art Of Michel Langevin”, a book written by Toronto’s Martin Popoff. The book is part Voivod biography but mainly serves to showcase Langevin’s amazing artwork, dating back to his high school days in the 70’s right through to the artwork associated with Voivod’s 2009 release Infini.

“There is about seven to eight hundred drawings in the book alongside interviews with Jason Newsted, Snake, Blacky, and Dave Grohl. The book was actually years in the making but once you see it, you really understand why,” he says.

The book is hard cover and printed in the large 9 X 12 format on glossy paper making it more than just a collector’s item for the diehard fan. The book is currently available for purchase at www.voivodbook.com.

With so much going on in Camp Voivod these days, should fans anticipate new material from the quartet anytime soon?

“I don’t think we’ve actually said this in public before,” Away laughs, “but we are writing new material as of last month. We want to give it a try and to see what we can do with this lineup and take it from there.

“We actually went into the studio, improvised what we were playing and recorded everything. We’re picking bits and pieces that we like and will try to build a record from it. While it’s going very well, I think it is too early to say whether it will turn into a full album for release.”

In the more immediate future, Away says that a Voivod live record could be on the horizon.

“Since reforming in 2008, we have recorded a lot of live material at European festivals we have played as well as the Christmas show we did in Montreal last year.”

In the meantime, Away says the band is getting set to tour South America for the first time this coming fall while also making plans plans to return to Russia for a series of shows in October.

“We’re staying busy for certain; it’s nice to have so much going on.”

For more information on Away, check out his website here. You can also check out the official Voivod website here.

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