Québécois prog thrashers Voivod have released 14 studio albums, three live collections and two compilations since forming in 1982. But which is their best release to date? To settle any arguments, in 2016 we got vocalist Denis ‘Snake’ Bélanger to rank his 10 personal favourites in order.
10. Voivod (2003)
This was the album we did with Jason Newsted. Listening to it brings back so many wonderful memories of how we worked with him. We did it at Chophouse Studios, which Jason owned, and it was like being in a boot camp. We had so much fun, and had a great time making the album. He helped us a lot.
9. Katorz/Infini (2006/2009)
I’d put these two albums together, because both were recorded after Piggy died, but using demos he’d been working on. We didn’t change anything he’d done. None of the guitar parts were altered. For us, these were significant, because they represented Piggy’s final work. We wanted to pay our own homage to him and what he meant to Voivod, so we built the songs around his demos. It made these albums very spiritual.
8. Negatron/Phobos (1995/1997)
Again, I want to group these two albums together, because they feature Eric Forest on vocals, and not me. When these came out, I was really excited to hear what my friends had done with their new singer. And I was pleased for them. It was different to anything I had done. There was a unique vibe here, and I would regard them as worthwhile.
7. Angel Rat (1991)
As far as I am concerned, this has always been underrated. It deserves more praise than it’s ever got. I believe people were expecting something different from us, and that’s why it didn’t get a positive reaction at the time. But so much is happening in the music. We incorporate folk tales, weird stories and ideas. It was more psychedelic, and that put fans off. Now, it gets a much warmer response.
6. Nothingface (1989)
Our most accessible album up to that time. It was supposed to be the one to break us through to a level commercially. And it worked. We reached a bigger market. It has our cover of Pink Floyd’s Astronomy Domine, which I like a lot. And there are consistently strong songs throughout. We had a lot of attention on us, but rose to the occasion.
5. The Outer Limits (1993)
Piggy’s influence is very much all over the album. He wanted us to be more progressive, to cut down the number of songs we did and to make them a lot longer. I still find it hard to believe we did Jack Luminous, which is 17 minutes long! We did it live for the first time at Roadburn [in 2012] and we were shocked at how intricate and complicated it was. It took all our concentration to get through this. But that was typical of the album – we were very much pushing ourselves.
4. War And Pain (1984)
When our debut came out, I have to admit I thought it was the worst album on the planet! We were very naïve, had no recording budget and were just four kids entering a new world we knew nothing about. But the years have made me rethink my opinion. The energy on it is incredible, and the will to break out of a small town in Northern Quebec was amazing. Now, it’s regarded as something of a classic, and it means a lot to me, personally.
2. Killing Technology (1987)
We’d been known as a thrash band for our first two albums, but here we were beginning the move into other areas of music. We were still thrashy, but now we were ready to experiment. We were inspired to some extent by soundtrack music, and you can hear this in a few of the song structures. Killing Technology was a different kind of heaviness for us.
1. Dimension Hatröss (1988)
I think we’d reached the point where our style of performing was defined with this album. It was the second time we’d work with producer Harris Johns, and in Berlin. The city has a certain oppressive nature which we embraced fully. This gave the music a special atmosphere, which I know our fans appreciated. For me, the band as we know it today, began here.