Nick Licata, Matt Albers
The term “progressive” is thrown around a lot these days. In politics, in culture, and of course, in music. While the word suggest a forward-thinking or postmodern mindset, the concept is by no means new. In the world of heavy metal, one of the bands most cited for spearheading progressive elements in extreme, underground, aggressive music, is Jonquière, Quebec’s Voivod.
After forming in 1982, the Canadian quartet has undergone their own transformations and evolutions, through both musical experimentation as well as many member changes (including the 2005 death of founding guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour). On February 28, 2016, Voivod stopped at the St. Louis, MO venue The Firebird on a North American headlining tour with some other fellow prog metal acts.
Blackened progressive thrashers – and friends of Damnation Magazine – Black Fast opened the show, as the first date of their run touring with Voivod on the tour’s second leg. They would be replacing the slot that would be vacated by Portland, Oregon female trio Eight Bells. Their psychedelic, post-black metal/funeral doom rock added another layer of experimental progression to the bill. Guitarist Melynda Jackson actually had to play sitting down on a chair on stage, as she had broken her knee just a night or two before the show! Providing direct support on the tour was the intensely enjoyable ripping of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania space speed metallers – and life-long Voivod fanboys – Vektor.
Voivod wasted no time in their triumphant return to St. Louis after about a decade, performing both classic, fan favorite songs, as well as tracks from their latest releases; their most recent and sixteenth overall full-length, Target Earth (2013), as well as their recently released E.P., Post Society (2016). Marking the debut of latest members Daniel Mongrain (guitar, 2008-present) and Dominique “Rocky” Laroche (bass, 2014-present), original vocalist Denis “Snake” Bélanger (1982-1994, 2002-present) and drummer Michel “Away” Langevin (1982-present) brought their A-game to the packed, eager small venue.
The prog metal pioneers could be seen clearly enjoying their time with the St. Louis fans, as well as each other, playfully bantering and laughing with each other both during and in between songs. With their positive and fun-loving attitude coupled with their ferocious musical prowess, it was clear that the spirit of Piggy was alive and well. Please enjoy our very own Nick Licata’s photos from the event below!
Special thanks to Ebony Jeanette of Concrete Marketing for setting us up with this a photo pass for this show! Make sure to check out Matt’s interview with Voivod drummer Michel “Away” Langevin, here!