Voivod + Bio-Cancer @ The Underworld, Camden

Date: 7th october, 2018
Review & photography by Thomas James Henry Saunders

Voivod is a band that never fails to bring in a crowd, a cheering, beer-drenched crowd at that.
Touring to celebrate a 35th anniversary is no small feat for any band. Yet for Voivod they felt fit to accompany the celebration with the release of their 14th full-length album “The Wake”, making this a double tour of sorts.
This is a band that has re-forged its fire and is keen to get back to business with twin helmsman, Michel “Away” Langevin and vocalist Denis “Snake” Belanger bringing the noise in no compromised form tonight.

Touring alongside are Athens based thrash outfit Bio-Cancer, bringing along their own old-school inspired rampaging thrash metal to the much anticipated night.

Upon entering the Underworld, which is quite possibly the most iconic London venue in recent years, the crowd are imminently jovial, laughing among themselves between the bar and well-stocked merch stand while waiting happily for the night’s ferocity to kick off.

Bio - Cancer Bio – Cancer

Bringing their brand of 80s inspired speed thrash to the stage tonight are the Greek band Bio-Cancer, who sadly, get off to a rather difficult start. It begins with issues with a number of monitors not working correctly during the sound-check, leading to a short disagreement between the band and the venue’s own technical crew. 

Bio - Cancer Bio – Cancer

After a five minute delay, the problem is resolved and Bio-Cancer retreat from the stage for their intro, an epic sounding theatrical piece which is pummeled by a wall of guitar as the band unleash themselves on the expectant crowd. 

Bio - Cancer Bio – Cancer

They play well and they play hard, with guitarist Thanasis bringing the solid sounding, blisteringly fast riffs to the show alongside guitarist & backing vocalist Stavros , whom together they make for a deadly mix.

After the first furious song, however, the problems persist, leaving Thanasis stranded and sat fiddling with his monitor during the second track.  So again the band are forced to halt proceedings as the problems are addressed, leaving the crowd to laugh at the situation and a good excuse to head toward the bar briefly.

Bio - Cancer Bio – Cancer

Lead vocalist Lefteris was clearly annoyed by the whole situation, storming about the stage and murmuring in Greek to his fellow bandmates while the technicians re-wired guitars and restored order to proceedings. Back to business, they appear clearly affected by the unreliable kit as they play on, stony-faced during the next tracks. But eventually they settle and begin enjoying the set and the crowd react in kind, headbanging along to Lefteris as he lets his piercing screams echo out throughout the venue.

Surprisingly a mosh-pit does not emerge throughout their set, although the front row were bumping fists and banging heads alongside the band which aided the overall atmosphere of their difficult set.

Bio - Cancer Bio – Cancer

By the end of their set, the band have overcome the difficulties of the night in great strides,  grinning out through their collectively sweaty hair in salute at the roaring crowd.

As the stage is reset and the iconic Voivod logo is raised, the crowd go about the bars, restocking themselves in beer, t-shirts and thrash vinyl! The mood among the crowd back at the front is noticeably more crowded, with the ordeal of getting a good spot being much more difficult than for Bio-Cancer. 

As the lights dim for Voivod, the mood of the venue erupts into chants of VOI-VOD VOI-VOD as pints are questionably raised as the band run on to the stage one at a time, taking the time to shake everyone’s hand as if greeting many kindred old friends.

Voivod @ Underworld Voivod @ Underworld

They don’t mess around, jumping straight into opening track “Post society” from the 2014 EP of the same title. The atmosphere, being front and centre was certainly something special, and one that you don’t get to enjoy at every concert. 

Denis “Snake” Bélanger is on amazing form tonight, firing on all heavy cylinders as the band go crashing into second track “Ravenous Medicine” form the 1987 album “Killing Technology” which sounds just as heavy as it ever did back in their conception.

Voivod @ Underworld Voivod @ Underworld

The riffs throughout the set came fast and heavy, with thanks going all to Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain who storms about the stage in a great raging smile as he poses for photos and interacts with the adoring crowd throughout the entire set.

Voivod @ Underworld Voivod @ Underworld

They play a good mix of classics, both old and new throughout the set, with the most tracks coming from the 1987’s “Killing Technology” and 2018’s “The Wake” with 3 songs apiece.  Other additions are more rare, such as “Technocratic Manipulators” from 1988’s Dimension Hatröss.

Voivod @ Underworld Voivod @ Underworld

The crowd are wild from start to finish, a large pit forms among the unfortunate pillars of the Underworld, with beer being spilt en-mass and many an elder generation of metal-heads re-kindling their moshing spirit with help from the raucous atmosphere and driving charm of Denis’s catchy vocal stylings and comedic presence.

Voivod @ Underworld Voivod @ Underworld

Between each and every song the band cheer along with the fans, with Denis beaming front and centre the whole time whilst his friend and co-founder Michel Langevin (Away) sat smiling way from behind his drum kit too.
Michel’s drumming tonight is also a stand-out as he hammers through each track with tenacity and an unyielding skill.

Voivod @ Underworld Voivod @ Underworld

They are truly gifted showman, who revel in the stage lights, sweat-drenched and ready for more as they pummel through both the set and the crowd themselves.
Even the newest member of the band Dominique “Rocky” Laroche, is a natural addition to the band as bassist, as he laughs out alongside fellow bandmates in great bouts of energy.

Voivod @ Underworld Voivod @ Underworld

Throughout the set, the band take moments of relief between the blistering tracks to joke with the audience, such as when Chewy plays the opening tunes to various 80s classics and laughing at the varied responses from the cheering crowd.

They end their main set of the self-titled “Voivod” from the debut 1984 album “War and pain” which easily doubles the size (and ferocity) of the pit. The crowd cheer loud and clear as they leave the stage momentarily, before coming back to play the final track of the evening, “Overreaction” from “killing technology” which goes down a real storm among the tightly gathered fans tonight.

Voivod @ Underworld Voivod @ Underworld

As Voivod take their final bows of the evening, the crowd roar loud and clear their unrelenting adoration for such an influential and yet still a ferocious live act with a lot to give.

Voivod setlist:

1. Post Society

2. Ravenous Medicine

3. Obsolete Beings

4. Technocratic Manipulators

5. Into My Hypercube

6. Iconspiracy

7. The Prow

8. Order of the Blackguards

9. Fall

10. Always Moving

11. The Lost Machine

12. Voivod


13. Overreaction






Copyright © The Independent Voice 2019