Text and pics by Arto Lehtinen
The legendary Canadian metal squad Voivod made their first ever visit to Finland back in 2009 at the prestigious Jalometalli Festival. Since then, the sci-fi / thrash / progressive metal legends have constantly played up here either at a festival or a gig of their own. The return of Voivod, supporting the new great album THE WAKE, is quite a pleasant surprise as the turn-out at gigs have been quite more-or-less not so crowded. However, Voivod came and conquered the Tavastia club.
Bio-Cancer hailing from Greece had been recruited to open up for Voivod on the this tour. Obviously this had to be a paid support slot to have more attention and publicity for the relativity unknown Greek thrashers. The five piece definitely thrashed brutal, and hard. These new and vicious thrash metal of the modern generation sounds definitely aggressive and pays respect to their influences and the pioneers of thrash metal. The biggest problem as far as the new thrash bands is concerned, is songs. They usually sound well played and planned, but the final execution is quite sloppy and intensive reckless driving with the full force ahead, but without all the hooks and catchy riffs to make a song sound extremely unique and one of kind. The first generation thrash bands usually have memorable, catchy riffs with hooks and rhythms, for example everyone remembers Testament “New Order” or Anthrax with “Indians” by heart.
Bio-Cancer definitely has the same kind of challenge to come up songs with catchy riffs. The band definitely works and plays fine live, but a lack of catchy and hooky riffs in their songs make them sound boring and one-dimensional thrash metal outfit. The singer seems to have adopted the old school thrash manners by having the exact dress code and and insane looking headbanging. However, the thrash and metal in general needs more and more young blood to keep the scene up and alive. Bio-Cancer needs to tour more and more and should have an opportunity of playing at festivals. Support young bands.
When Voivod has played in clubs in Finland, the turn-out has been quite lousy so to say. Seeing app. 400 people at the gig was totally overwhelming and pleasant surprise. The newest VoiVod album THE WAKE is definitely an absolutely amazing output. It shows the band is still vicious and creative to be able to come up such a strong album consisting of a number of killer songs. VoiVod is such an interesting band as they can’t easily be categorized or labelled as a band with one certain style. The band’s music is so unique and splendid that whenever they play the old stuff from the heyday of the 80’s or the more progressive material or then the more straight-forward rock stuff, there is always a VoiVod trademark in the sound.
The set was kicked off by “Post Society” and was followed by the old classic “Ravenous Medicine” and then “Obsolete Beings”. Even though VoiVod has been on the long tour being 34th show in Helsinki, the progressive thrash punk nuclear metal legends offered one hell of a show with 75 minutes. The floor was occasionally a real battle field, when circle pits broke out and some daredevils did some real old school stage-diving. The band was a having fun time at the stage when doing for example Kiss’ song “I Was Made for Loving You”. The band has faced ups and downs and often struggled during the long 36 years. Regardless, the band has kept the ultimate passion to tour and play live, that could easily be witnessed when the whole band was truly on fire as the playing and performance was so full of energy. The new bass player, Rocky, turned out to be one heck of a player as his moving on the stage was pure raging passion and his playing was phenomenal. The vocalist Snake took the audience with the sense of humour. He once remained to follow when a young stage diver jumped knees first into the audience. The guitarist Chewy ran all over the stage and spun his massive hair, but he kept the playing tight without loosing any notes. Of course Away’s intense drumming is the key to the sound of VoiVod.
As far as the set is concerned, it covered a lot of the songs from the latest album THE WAKE as Snake cited it as “It is our new baby”. The set had a lot of old classic VoiVod tunes from KILLING TECHNOLOGY, THE OUTER LIMITS. The set had been built to cover some unexpected selections such as Technocratic Manipulators from DIMENSION HATROSS, not the traditional “Tribal Convictions”. The gig was absolutely amazing as VoiVod definitely showed after 36 years that they are still one of the greatest prog/scifi/punk/thrash bands and especially the new album THE WAKE is a masterpiece.