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Classic Review: Voïvod - War and Pain
War and Pain

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 1984
Duration: 42:40
Tracks: 9
Genre: Thrash Metal


Review online: June 20, 2003
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.49/5 (89.79%) (47 Votes)

Ah the memories... I remember my jaw dropping open upon hearing the first track off this album in late '86/early '87, just a few months before the release of "Killing Technology". The quiet, dark intro punctuated by Snake's mad "Voïvod" scream is followed by 42 minutes of Thrash insanity without much breathing room. Back then Voïvod were simply categorised as "Thrash Metal", before they pushed the experimentation further and then people went overboard on genre definition wankering (proto this, neo that), but that's another story. When it comes to Voïvod, I'm pretty much stuck on this debut album - this is the one where I prefer Snake's vocal style, a shrieky voice that rivals other Thrash vocalists of the time, both tempered and aggressive in the delivery but without annoying the ear either, and he doesn't try to do anything fancy unlike on some later albums where I found he used styles that didn't necessarily fit him too well - but that's just a matter of taste anyway... Well, to some extent. ;)

Musically things get a bit more complicated - basically it's Thrash, but with so much more blended in - some juiced up NWOBHM-style solos, and I'd say Motörhead had quite an influence on these guys' early work: The sound of album, the guitars and the bass seem to be deeply rooted in the late 70s/early 80s Motörhead sound. Add to that an omnipresent doomsday/wasteland atmosphere to match the album's concept. Listening carefully, behind what many people discard as noise are some intricate musical manoeuvres that can keep you busy if you take the time to concentrate on the music. Sometimes it feels like two bands are playing together on the album, so this is a pretty busy sound we have here. Behind that omnipresent thrash metal onslaught is something that other bands didn't do at the time, and a slight glimpse of things to come for the band.

This debut by one of the few metal bands that have actually managed to experiment with their sound without turning into crap (not completely anyway :)) is a must have. The only common denominator to Voïvod's album is experimentation. Be prepared to love some and hate some because they've taken some damn weird turns throughout their career... Either way, "War and Pain" has been kicking ass for nearly 20 years... Get it.

More about Voïvod...
Review: Angel Rat (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Katorz (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Killing Technology (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Nothingface (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Rrröööaaarrr (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Synchro Anarchy (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Synchro Anarchy (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Voïvod (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Interview with vocalist Denis "Snake" Bélanger on December 1, 2018 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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