Veteran Canadian rock act Voivod will in June release “Katorz,” its first album for The End Records. The set is also the first to be released since co-founding guitarist Denis D’Amour (a.k.a. Piggy) died last August after a battle with colon cancer.
“It came about in unfortunate circumstances, but the result is mind-blowing,” drummer Michel “Away” Langevin tells Billboard.com. “Right before his departure, Denis explained to me that he had recorded all the tracks that we had been working on with [bassist] Jason [Newsted] and [vocalist] Snake [Belanger] for the past two years. He had recorded that on his laptop with Pro Tools, and even though he would have preferred to re-do the whole thing in a real studio, there was a chance that we could use the tracks. We built the album based on the guitar tracks, which was difficult, because normally, we go the other way around — we start with the drums, and then add stuff on top. But it sounds amazing.”
“‘Katorz’ means 14 — it’s the 14th effort of the band,” Belanger adds. “The first time Piggy put it together and gave us the demo was on CD, [and he had written] ‘Katorz,’ which is not the right way to write it. Of course [there is] an emotional side to it, so we took the demo, and the design of it will be his handwriting.”
The album was assembled in a much different way than Voivod has worked in the past. “After Ozzfest [in 2003], we set up and jammed a few days in a row, we kept it and Piggy worked on it a little bit,” Belanger says. “Everything was there — it was just a few things to arrange. But it’s all from improvisation.”
Although the band’s touring future is up in the air (“The chances are very slim — it was very difficult just to do the album,” admits Langevin), more releases are planned, including further studio albums taken from guitar parts that D’Amour left behind on his laptop. Thirteen songs should be completed and released later this year, with an additional 25 songs to follow at some point in the future.
Additionally, Voivod plans to issue a follow up last year’s archival live DVD, “D-V-O-D 1.”