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Voivod - Warriors of Ice CD (album) cover

WARRIORS OF ICE

Voivod

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Warriors Of Ice' - Voivod (5/10)

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.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#491338)
Posted Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Eleven years after the rather mellow "Voivod Lives", the French Canadian masterminds of progressive thrash metal release this final offering honouring the works of their legendary late guitar player Denis "Piggy" D'Amour with three quarters of the band's original line-up before the band carries on with new songs and a new album.

In comparison to the previous live record "Voivod Lives" that had a very lame crowd, the release of the old school DVD "D-V-O-D-1" that had a rather poor sound quality and the release of the "Tatsumaki" DVD that had a rather bad camera setting, "Warriors Of Ice" easily beats all of those previous live records together.

The sound on this record is heavy and authentic and a powerful fistful of metal hammers out of the speakers as soon as the track "Voivod" kicks off. Even the rather soft tracks like "Panorama" or "Global Warning" have a pitiless pace and turn out to be great live tracks. But this heaviness doesn't mean that the band doesn't sound technically brilliant and diversified. The guitars in "The Unknown Knows" or "Brain Scan" sound as perfect as the studio version with "Piggy" and this live release may prove to the last critics that Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain is the one and only that could have taken this heritage. He is not only heavily inspired by the late Voivod guitar player and imitates him close to perfection but he also has his own range and style that is similar to the one of his idol but not completely identical. I'm looking forward to the future album of the band with him as he may surely add something fresh and technically brilliant to the sound of the band.

What distinguishes this record from the previous live albums is the enthusiastic crowd in a rather small venue in Montreal, Québec. The fans cheer and sing along and contribute to a great atmosphere even if some cheering parts before the encores and after the last song have sadly been cut off from the final version of this great release. The interaction between the crowd and singer Denis "Snake" Belanger is very natural and intense in a very unique and charismatic French-Canadian language.

Let's add to all those positive facts that the album artwork is another great work from drummer Michel "Away" Langevin and that the rather small booklet contains a few nice photos.

The only negative points I could find about this release are the shortened cheering crowd passages and the rather sudden ending of the album as well as the fact that the material of the albums "The Outer Limits", "Negatron", "Phobos", "Voivod" and "Katorz" has been ignored for the set lists but the band has recently add a few songs to their shows and I hope that they will continue to do so in the future because there is some great and underrated material on the records of the nineties, too.

In the end, this album is without the glimpse of a doubt your definite Voivod live record and a great appetizer for the upcoming new era as this live record is the last transition between the old and the modern times. Get this great gem and enjoy.

Originally published on www.metal-archives.com on June 26th of the year 2011.

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Send comments to kluseba (BETA) | Report this review (#500330)
Posted Monday, August 08, 2011 | Review Permalink
J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Warriors of Ice is the latest live CD from progressive thrash metal legends Voivod, and their first live album since Denis "Piggy" D'Amour's tragic passing in 2005. Piggy's death served as an enormous obstacle for Voivod, but on this live effort they prove that they can still deliver even without their important and highly influential guitarist. New guitarist Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain certainly has some big shoes to fill, and for the most part, I applaud his ability to keep up with Piggy's relentless fretwork. Warriors of Ice is not a flawless live album by any means, but fans of Voivod will probably want to check it out.

With this album, Voivod mainly focuses on their earlier, thrash-oriented material. Expect classics like "Voivod", "Nothingface", "Ravenous Medicine", "Tribal Convictions", as well as many others on this CD. The setlist is generally pretty impressive, and although it's missing a few favorites of mine, their catalog is far too extensive to please everybody, even in spite of this album's long duration. The performances are pretty solid across the board, and Chewy does a great job filling Piggy's shoes. His playing does feel slightly more conventional than D'Amour's, but I give him tons of credit for being able to represent Piggy's work so well. Away's precise and technical drumming is extremely impressive, and his ability to achieve such perfection in a live setting is remarkable. Unfortunately, my biggest gripe with Warriors of Ice rests in the hands of the weak production. While still audible, it honestly sounds like an unofficial bootleg rather than a professional live release. Die-hard Voivod fans may be able to look past the mediocre production, but the sound quality does end up marring my enjoyment of the album.

Warriors of Ice is a decent purchase for Voivod's dedicated fanbase, but I don't find it nearly as essential as some of their studio efforts. The performances are often less inspired than their studio counterparts, and the muddy production isn't too impressive either. Warriors of Ice isn't without its high points, though, and the setlist should be enough to justify a purchase from any of Voivod's dedicated followers. This may be a fan-only item, but it's a solid and recommendable purchase regardless. 3 stars seem fair here.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#509909)
Posted Friday, August 26, 2011 | Review Permalink

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