Great Metal Albums of 1985: Voivod- War and Pain


It’s probably me but once again I’m in contradiction with Wikapedia. They say that the debut album, “War and Pain,” from Canadian thrash artists Voivod was released in 1984. I don’t remember seeing or hearing anything about it til 85. Anyway, I never got around to hearing them until 1986 when I saw them live twice that year. My impression of them at the time was that Voivod were so bad that they were actually good! I have maintained that thought about them for many years so with this post, I’ll ask the question: Was that earlier assessment of them correct?

The criticism of heavy metal and thrash in general has always been that the musical ability of those who play such music is limited. Musicians can only play four chords and the singer screams. Yes, I know that it was a total fallacy. As for thrash, it gets even further cast into that mold. I remember one person describing thrash stating the guitars sound like a vacuum cleaner and the vocals like a dog barking. Funny thing is that Voivod come pretty close to that with this album but somehow, it is still very enjoyable.

Probably the best way to describe “War and Pain” is erratic. All of the songs sound like they are just all over the place with the members just doing their bit at will. This is especially the case with guitarist Denis ‘Piggy’ D’Amour who seems hell bent on massacring his instrument. He pounds those chords to death only slowing down to throw in a solo when needed. Surprisingly, his solos are pretty good, at least to my ears. If it’s not the guitar work of D’Amour causing mayhem, then it’s the drumming of Michel ‘Away’ Langevin who like his fellow band member, seems hell bent on destroying his instrument. In this case, he is determined to put his sticks through the skins of his drums. As for singer, Denis ‘Snake’ Belanger, his vocals don’t sound like a dog barking but his voice is nowhere near melodic. While he doesn’t scream, his yells are blood curdling. With all this mayhem, full marks should go to bassist Jean-Yves ‘Blacky’ Theriault who manages to keep a steady beat while all around him is madness.

With all of this metal madness thrashing about, it’s hard to me to pick a favourite track. They’re all one big thrash metal free for all but yet at the same time, they are all likable songs. After a few listens, I have to pick the title track because it does have a near mainstream metal sounding intro before going into the madness. Other standout tracks are “Blower” and “Live for Violence.” The latter has a drum solo in the middle and it makes that track stand out a bit more. “Black City” can be included here too.

Track Listing:

  1. Voivod
  2. Warriors of Ice
  3. Suck Your Bones
  4. Iron Gate
  5. War and Pain
  6. Blower
  7. Live for Violence
  8. Black City
  9. Nuclear War



Denis ‘Snake’ Belanger- vocals

Denis ‘Piggy’ D’Amour- guitar

Jean-Yves ‘Blacky’ Theriault- bass

Michel ‘Away’ Langevin- drums

To answer the question, Voivod were not bad. It seemed back then that they just wanted make lots of noise in a good way. While “War and Pain” is not for the feint hearted, it is a good way to release lots of pent up aggression and have a thrashing good mosh.

Next post: Helloween

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4 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1985: Voivod- War and Pain”

  1. This album is just pure ear damage… in a good way.

    Liked by 1 person

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