Released: 2009, Spider Press
I'll state my bias right up front. I've never really liked the art of Michel Langevin. I realize his style is iconic and his work is an integral part of the enduring appeal of the legendary Voi-vod, but it has never appealed to me. I much prefer the Heavy Metal album cover art of Andreas Marshall (Blind Guardian), Dan Seagrave, (Edge Of Sanity), Ed Repka (Death), Eric Philippe (Iron Fire), Joe Petagno (Motorhead), Kris Verwimp (Sear Bliss), Kristian Wahlin (Morgana Le Fey), Travis Smith (King Diamond), Felipe Franco (Rhapsody), Dave Patchett (Cathedral), and Derek Riggs (Stratovarius).
In fact you could say the only Metal artist I like less than Langevin is Pushead and that guy, John Baizley who does all those hipster rock album covers like Kylesa and Torche. Who keeps hiring him to draws owls? Birds are not Metal...with the possible exception of evil crows, diseased ravens, scavenging vultures and possibly giant, screaming metal eagles like the kind that Judas Priest and Primal Fear have.
However, my personal taste in cover art does not detract from how amazing this book is. Written and produced by Metal expert Martin Popoff, WORLDS AWAY is absolutely gorgeous. Oversized, hardbound, 184 pages on nice glossy paper; it is a lot like Popoff's book about Derek Riggs in terms of delivery and execution, and it should be, it was the same creative team and the book is superb.
The narrative tells the story of Langevin and his early childhood, his inspirations, the origin of the name of Voi-vod, and countless gorgeous full colour reproductions of his early doodles, sketches and paintings. What follows is a chapter-by-chapter analysis of the evolution of the band and more specifically the art and graphics that help define the unique Voi-vod empire. This book is just loaded cool trivia, facts and quotes and many first hand interviews. WORLDS AWAY essentially doubles as a sort of unofficial Voi-vod biography. Langevin talk in detail about the inspiration, creation and production of each albums cover and concept, the characters, the story-lines and so on.
Popoff’s clever and engaging prose brings the story to life and his life-long appreciation and enthusiasm for the avante-garde Metal act makes him the perfect author for this project. Langevin’s unique style sets him apart and makes his art instantly recognizable even to the most casual metal fan. Sure, it may be a predictable way to end a review like this but it has to be reiterated, all Voi-vod fans need this book.