APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2016

VirusAnother strong year is in the books for heavy music, so strong that making a year end list seemed unfair to every release that we did not include in our lists.  The underground continues to thrive with releases from legendary bands such as DARK FUNERAL, VADER, and NEUROSIS that will stand the test of time. Actually, most of the long running bands did not fail to meet or exceed expectations.  Thrash metal pioneers, MEGADETH, VOIVOD, and TESTAMENT, certainly released excellent records.  What is more important is that 2016 saw a lot of great releases from less trendy, more obscure bands.

Trees of EternityThis past year is personally notable as lost a dear friend and contributor, Brandon Stratton AKA rocknro11chef13.  As a small tribute, we’ve included albums that he would’ve likely picked for his year end list.  Life is short, my friends.  Embrace it.

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VOIVOD: New Song “We are Connected” Now Online

VOIVOD have recently recorded a new song for a split 7″ vinyl release with label-mates AT THE GATES. The collectors item will be available in stores April 7th, 2015. Check out the song, “We Are Connected“:

Pure VOIVOD!  Also, catch the band on their current tour with NAPALM DEATH, IRON REAGAN, EXHUMED and BLACK CROWN INITIATE.

Watch EPK for VOIVOD’s Upcoming Target Earth

On January 21st in Europe and January 22nd in North America, Canadian progressive metal pioneers VOIVOD will release their 13th studio album, Target Earth. In anticipation of this release, the band has now posted the official Target Earth electronic press kit, featuring behind-the-scenes footage, plus an exclusive interview with Away (Michel Langevin) and Chewy (Daniel Mongrain) about the making of the album.  Check it out below:

Recorded at producer Pierre Rémillard‘s Wild Studios in Quebec and mixed by Sanford ParkerTarget Earth features artwork by drummer Away, who used color schemes from each one of the band’s previous albums to make this new masterpiece. The album brings back original bass player, Blacky (Jean Yves Thériault), marking his first recordings with the band since 1991’s Angel Rat. It’s also the first to feature guitarist Chewy, who cut his teeth playing guitar to the late Denis D’Amour‘s riffs, and thus has matched his style to a tee. VOIVOD, as a full group, hadn’t sat down to write a record together since 2003’s self-titled album. The end result harkens back to the group’s late 80’s output and after 30 years together as a band, one of their best yet.

FEAR FACTORY Announce Cancellation of Shockwave Festival Tour

Due to reasons well beyond the band’s control, FEAR FACTORY will not be taking part in this Summer’s Shockwave Festival Tour, slated to commence July 6, 2012 in Seattle.  The announcement follows the Shockwave’s announcement that due to VOIVOD‘s recent cancellation and poor advance ticket sales, the tour has been cancelled.

Commented the band in a collective statement: “We are truly disappointed not to be part of the Shockwave tour. We send our sincerest apologies to all our North American fans planning to come out this Summer, but we will be back. Please look for FEAR FACTORY headlining dates in August.”

VOIVOD – Warriors of Ice

VOIVOD‘s latest live album, Warriors of Ice, is the definition of “fan service.” Picture a live album with every classic VOIVOD song on it. It was recorded on December 12th, 2009 at Club Soda in Montreal, Canada for a show the band played in order promote their latest live DVD, Tatsumaki.

So what fans can look forward to are perfect performances of 12 early VOIVOD classics, two songs from their latest studio album, Infini, and a cover of PINK FLOYD‘s “Astronomy Domine.” Having the band kick out classic song after classic song such as “Ripping Headaches,” “Voivod,” and “Ravenous Medicine” is just a beautiful thing.

Just like the performances, the production is flawless. You will feel like you’re listening to a soundboard recording. Crowd noise is kept to a minimum. Warriors of Ice is also ideal for musicians looking to learn the songs and play along.

However way you wanna look at it, Warriors of Ice is a slam dunk. The bottom line is that this is a must have for VOIVOD fans, and by default all metal fans are VOIVOD fans. (Sonic Unyon Metal)

MELVINS, WEEDEATER, VOIVOD, DANAVA, EVIL ARMY to Support DOWN on North American Tour

Support acts for DOWN‘s upcoming North American tour have been confirmed.  North Carolina’s WEEDEATER have been confirmed, and Canadian dates will feature support from VOIVOD while the bulk of U.S. dates will feature support from the MELVINS. Other openers will be DANAVA for the first half and EVIL ARMY for the latter half.

Also, WEEDEATER will be playing several shows in North Carolina and Tennessee before the DOWN tour begins and after the tour concludes. Several off-tour shows will also take place. Full list of dates are as follows (WEEDEATER are on all dates listed below):

7/28/2009 Drips’ – Hickory, NC
7/29/2009 Rocket Club – Asheville NC
7/30/2009 The Muse – Nashville TN w/ ZOROASTER
7/31/2009 Hi Tone Cafe – Memphis TN w/ RWAKE, THE LEWD, ROYAL THUNDER
8/01/2009 Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City OK w/ DOWN, DANAVA
8/03/2009 Beaumont Club – Kansas City MO w/ DOWN, DANAVA
8/04/2009 The Venue at Playmaker’s – Fargo ND w/ DOWN, DANAVA
8/05/2009 Burton Cummings Theatre – Winnipeg MB w/ DOWN, VOIVOD, DANAVA
8/07/2009 Edmonton Events Centre – Edmonton MB w/ DOWN, VOIVOD, DANAVA
8/08/2009 MacEwan Hall – Calgary AB w/ DOWN, VOIVOD, DANAVA
8/10/2009 Commodore Ballroom – Vancouver BC w/ DOWN, VOIVOD, DANAVA
8/11/2009 Showbox SoDo – Seattle WA w/ DOWN, MELVINS, DANAVA
8/12/2009 Roseland Theater – Portland OR w/ DOWN, MELVINS, DANAVA
8/14/2009 Grand Ballroom – San Francisco CA w/ DOWN, MELVINS, DANAVA
8/15/2009 The Wiltern – Los Angeles CA w/ DOWN, MELVINS, DANAVA
8/16/2009 House of Blues – San Diego CA w/ DOWN, MELVINS, DANAVA
8/18/2009 House of Blues – Anaheim CA w/ DOWN, MELVINS, DANAVA
8/19/2009 House of Blues – Las Vegas CA w/ DOWN, MELVINS, DANAVA
8/21/2009 In The Venue – Salt Lake City UT w/ DOWN, MELVINS, DANAVA
8/22/2009 Gothic Theatre – Denver CO w/ DOWN, MELVINS, DANAVA
8/24/2009 Black Sheep – Colorado Springs, CO
8/28/2009 Red 7 – Austin, TX w/ DIXIE WITCH
8/29/2009 Rock Bottom Tattoo Bar – San Antonio, TX w/ DIXIE WITCH
8/30/2009 Walters On Washington – Houston, TX w/ DIXIE WITCH
9/01/2009 CW Center Stage – Atlanta GA w/ DOWN, MELVINS, EVIL ARMY
9/02/2009 House of Blues – Lake Bueno Vista FL w/ DOWN, MELVINS, EVIL ARMY
9/03/2009 Brass Mug -Tampa, FL
9/06/2009 Volume 11 Tavern – Raleigh, NC
9/07/2009 The Half Shell – Virginia Beach, VA
9/08/2009 Sonar – Baltimore MD w/ DOWN, MELVINS, EVIL ARMY
9/09/2009 Northern Lights – Clifton Park NY w/ DOWN, MELVINS, EVIL ARMY
9/11/2009 Nokia Theatre Times Square – New York NY w/ DOWN, MELVINS, EVIL ARMY
9/12/2009 Electric Factory – Philadelphia PA w/ DOWN, EVIL ARMY
9/13/2009 House of Blues – Boston MA w/ DOWN, MELVINS, EVIL ARMY
9/14/2009 AS220 – Providence, RI
9/15/2009 Webster Theater – Hartford CT w/ DOWN, MELVINS, EVIL ARMY
9/16/2009 Main Street Armory – Rochester NY w/ DOWN, MELVINS, EVIL ARMY
9/18/2009 Koolhaus – Toronto ON w/ DOWN, VOIVOD, EVIL ARMY
9/19/2009 Emerald Theatre – Detroit MI w/ DOWN, MELVINS, EVIL ARMY
9/21/2009 The Vogue Theatre – Indianapolis IN w/ DOWN, MELVINS, EVIL ARMY
9/22/2009 House of Blues – Cleveland OH w/ DOWN, MELVINS, EVIL ARMY
9/24/2009 Sokol Auditorium – Omaha NE w/ DOWN, MELVINS, EVIL ARMY
9/25/2009 Pop’s – Sauget IL w/ DOWN, MELVINS, EVIL ARMY
9/26/2009 The Pearl Room – Mokena IL w/ DOWN, MELVINS, EVIL ARMY
9/28/2009 Jackpot – Lawrence, KS
9/29/2009 The Gypsy – Fayetteville, AR
10/02/2009 The Jinx – Savannah, GA
10/03/2009 Soapbox – Wilmington, NC w/ ASG

VOIVOD to Complete Final Record

Canada’s pioneering metal band VOIVOD will enter the studio this spring to record their final album using songs left behind by founding guitarist Denis ‘Piggy’ D’Amour who died in August 2005 from colon cancer.

An official band statement reads: “There remain 13 songs that guitarist Denis D’Amour (Piggy) had written with the band before his death, yet to be recorded. Michel Langevin (Away) and Denis Belanger (Snake) will track the last songs this spring bringing all the past and present members together to participate in a homage to the guitar legend of Piggy and the legacy of 25 years of a brotherhood forged by exploring metal, rock and punk ethics with an other worldly premise.

Jean-Yves Theriault (Blacky) and Eric Forrest (E FORCE) have eagerly agreed to contribute bass tracks along with current bass player Jason Newsted (Jasonic). The End Records and Nuclear Blast Europe will release this final record once completed.

VOIVOD may play select shows after the release as a thank you to the fans and to bring closure to a great career.”

KOSMOS – Kosmos

Just as their band name denotes, KOSMOS is a spaceship that travels to the far reaches of the galaxy. This Montreal, Canada group is comprised of a full cast of Montreal veterans in Jetphil (PARADISE), Michel “Away” Langevin (VOIVOD), Alex Crow (TRICKY WOO), and Vincent Peake (GRIM SKUNK). While it would shortchange the band to name them a “retro” band, KOSMOS do a perfect job in recreating psychedelic/prog/kraut rock of an era gone by with ample amounts of vigor. Warm keyboards, groovy bass, sweet guitars, and tasty drums provide the charismatic backdrop. Not only are some rockin songs, there’s also more tripped out jams like the Indian-inspired “Indu Kush,” the early 80’s video game soundtrack of “Dream,” and the alien communications in “Septial.” There are only two songs with vocalists and they rock so well that they could easily be radio staples. The only downside of the album is that there are more “segue” tracks than “actual songs.” However, the argument can be made that former are meant to enhance the interstellar atmosphere. In the end, KOSMOS are just good at what they do and it comes across as if it was all created with ease. The chops and quality songwriting on display make Kosmos such an easy and enjoyable listen. Onward to album number two. (The End Records)

VOIVOD: Update on New Video, Side-Projects, Reissues and New Album

VOIVOD drummer Michel “Away” Langevin has issued an update on the band’s current activities:

“Hello there, Here’s what’s up: The video for ‘Polaroids‘ is finished. It was done with Banger Productions and Ottoblix and contains some of my animation work. I started working on the video for ‘The X-Stream,’ also in collaboration with Banger Productions and Ottoblix. We will be recording the follow-up to Katorz in the fall 2007. I’m almost finished with the Roar re-issue on Sanctuary. It will include a bonus DVD pulled from the Iron Gang archives of the era. Expect a fall release.

Troubleman Unlimited are done with the layout of my art book. The book will contain 325 Voivod related drawings and covers the years 1976-2006. No release date yet but it’s getting close! Check out our new belt-buckles, soon on Bandmerch.com. My project LES ÉKORCHÉS is out on Indica/Outside. Produced by Glen Robinson. Info: lesekorches.com and myspace.com/lesekorches.

“My other project KOSMOS will come out this year on The End. Info: myspace.com/kosmostheband. Snake‘s project PARANOLAND is on the way. Also produced by Glen Robinson. Info: myspace.com/paranoland. Also in the works: The Outer Limits and Angel Rat re-issues on The End. Killing Technology and Dimension Hatross re-issues with bonus Iron Gang DVDs on Sanctuary. DVOD 2 and DVOD 3 are coming along too.

“That’s about it I guess. I’m very sorry about the delays, all of this is a lot of work! Peace, Away

VOIVOD: We Carry On

On August 26, 2005, the metal world lost one of its legends in guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour. Vowing to carry out one of his last requests to have the band’s final works heard, the surviving members of VOIVOD got to work in the studio and finished the powerful new album, Katorz. APESHIT met up with Denis “Snake” Belanger, Michel “Away” Langevin, and Jason “Jasonic” Newsted hours before their record release party in Hollywood to learn more about Piggy‘s amazing talents as one of the greatest talents in metal history.

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