While some of the band's more well-rounded fans may disagree with my view, I believed that VOIVOD died in 2005, as a result of cancer.
Denis 'Piggy' L'Amour was the founding guitarist of Canadian Thrash legends VOIVOD, and over the course of the band's career, he found a very distinctive and innovative style of guitar playing that emphasized dissonance and quasi-jazzy chord progressions in a genre that typically aimed towards playing one's guitar as fast as scientifically possible. As a result, Piggy gave VOIVOD a very unique sound to them, and on a personal note, he was the man that got me back into playing guitar. VOIVOD's “Warriors Of Ice” is a live album that attempts to continue the legacy of this incredible band, but with a new guitarist filling in the shoes of who I thought to be the heart and soul of the band's sound, it almost feels more of a tribute than a legitimate release.
That is not to say that VOIVOD isn't still kicking around though, but they do sound noticeably less fueled here than they used to. “Warriors Of Ice” is a fairly long live album that takes tracks from all over the band's career, with a particular focus on their Thrashier material. As it stands, the setlist here is fantastic, and unlike many live albums, there does seem to be a good sense of flow between tracks. Some of my favourite VOIVOD classics are here; including “Tribal Convictions”, “Nothingface”, and “Brain Scan”. Playing in front of an enthusiastic audience in their home province of Quebec, Michel Langevin (Snake) can be heard barking in French to the crowd between tracks, and while his voice has lost some of its melodic potential over the years, he still has some nice energy to his vocal style that transfers brilliantly in a live setting.
The recording of the performance feels somewhat rough, and while it may work somewhat with VOIVOD's harsh nature, “Warriors Of Ice” could pass off as a bootleg in the way it sounds, and that's not meant in a good way. This review was opened up on a fairly critical note by saying this was not the real VOIVOD anymore, and while I may still think that this is more of a tribute to the genius, rather than the genius itself, Chewy does reprise Piggy's guitar parts fairly well, although his more straightforward and conventional take on the riffs is noticeable and cannot replace the sort of intensity I could have expected from Piggy. The drums of Away are arguably the most impressive part of the sound here. Really, this is a decent enough live album for VOIVOD, although it is certainly not something that I would consider part of their essential canon.
(Online January 3, 2012)