Voivod at The Underworld, Camden

Support: Necrophagia
June 18, 2017 at The Underworld, Camden
Promoter: The Underworld, Camden

Canadian thrash machine Voivod rolled into town, with Necrophagia and Nuclear in tow, to Camden’s legendary Underworld. Except the doors opened stupidly late, and Nuclear were nowhere to be seen.

It’s left to Necrophagia, and their old-school death metal, to open up the show. Now, I like my death metal hyper-fast and hyper-technical, which isn’t Necrophagia, but they sound solid, and at their most groove-laden, have an ominous vibe. Towards the end of their set, they head back to the 80’s, showcasing a raw thrash feel that sits more readily with my tastes. Killjoy is a powerful presence on vocals throughout, helped in no small part by the decapitated mannequin parts (at least, I hope it’s a mannequin) that he brandishes. Very solid.

Despite my love of Vektor and a great many things described as prog, I’d somehow never given Voivod a chance. Big mistake. Any notion that this is a contemplative prog metal show is thrown out of the window within roughly a minute of opener ‘Killing Technology’, and the breakneck speed doesn’t let up. It’s instantly apparent that Voivod have the crowd in the palm of their hand – any well-deserved break taken between songs descends into a packed crowd chanting their name – or in the case of ‘Fall’, the guitarist’s name after he jokingly breathes a sigh of relief after finishing the particularly frenetic and technical (even by Voivod’s standards) lengthy instrumental outro. Main set closer ‘Voivod’ is a particularly stellar number – also, inexplicably, the first to properly open the pit up – with the devotees in the crowd screaming along in the chorus. There’s even time for their cover of ‘Astronomy Domine’. It’s the perfect culmination of a show that barrels through you like some sort of sci-fi death machine (a common topic in Voivod lyrics, I believe), leaving you wondering how more than an hour has just passed, and why your neck hurts quite so badly. And when you’ll be able to do it all again.

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