VOIVOD Drummer Discusses 'Progressive' Next Album, Pays Tribute To CHRIS CORNELL

June 26, 2017

In a brand new interview with Rock Sverige, drummer Michel Langevin (a.k.a. Away) of Canadian progressive sci-fi metal innovators VOIVOD spoke about the status of the band's long-awaited follow-up to 2013's "Target Earth" album. He said: "It's almost done in terms of writing and we are recording in August and September. We have a few shows before that. After the European tour, we have festivals in Quebec with METALLICA, and as soon as we're done with that, we go into the studio and to finish up and record the album. I would say it will be out early next year. It's probably going to have to be a double album vinyl-wise, because the songs are really long and progressive. They're seven-[or]-eight-minute-long songs and we just realized it might have to be a double vinyl album and it's a concept album as well. Musical parts are coming back into other songs and it took a bit longer than expected, but we're almost finished."

Langevin also talked about the VOIVOD songwriting process and how it has evolved in the past three decades. He said: "We never really changed the way we write songs. Back then Blacky [Jean-Yves Thériault, bass] and Piggy [Denis D'Amour] were the main writers and we would sort of morph the songs together into VOIVOD, but there was a strong base with Blacky and Piggy. Right now, Chewy [Daniel Mongrain, guitar] and Rocky [Dominique Laroche, bass] are working together closely. A lot of the parts come from improvisations we do and we record everything. Then we try to pick the best parts and then Chewy and Rocky will rearrange it into songs and then we rehearse it and Snake [Denis Bélanger] comes in on vocals, so we have to extend parts and shorten parts. It's basically been the same way of writing since the beginning."

During the same chat, the drummer was asked for his memories of Chris Cornell, having toured with SOUNDGARDEN and FAITH NO MORE back in 1990.

"I was speechless and may people phoned me and wanted me to express my point of view on Chris's passing and I couldn't," Away said. "I said, 'There's nothing I can say right now.' First of all, he was very reserved and chilled and very quiet. On stage, he was the best frontman I've ever seen and he was actually the originator of, like, breaking everything and climbing everywhere, before Eddie Vedder started climbing and Kurt Cobain started banging stuff. Chris was doing that, so he was a pioneer for sure. Not to mention his incredible voice and presence, but he was also a very good friend. We traded art and he did a painting for me during the 1990 tour and right now I have a hard time looking at it. It's pretty intense. I met him a couple of times over the years in Montreal when he came there solo or with SOUNDGARDEN, and we did not necessarily kept in touch, but I went to see him and he was always super nice."

2013's "Target Earth", VOIVOD's first album of new material written without original guitarist Denis "Piggy" D'Amour's left-over riffs, was almost universally hailed it as a triumphant return to form, a return to the "classic" VOIVOD sound, and the best thing they'd done in years.

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