A key benefit of seeing Voivod in 2022 is that one is almost guaranteed not to be the oldest metalhead in the joint.
Leading up to their 40th anniversary, the Canadian progressive-metal legends descended upon the Phoenix Concert Theatre on June 3, riding the release of their new album, Synchro Anarchy. Playing to a largely homogeneous, black-clad crowd of fellow aging thrashers, vocalist Denis “Snake” Bélanger remarked how wonderful it was to see everyone’s faces again, sans masques.
The Quebecois quartet churned their way through a smorgasbord of classic back-catalog tracks, as well as new tunes such as “Sleeves Off.” Snake prefaced the anti-conformity thrash ode with an anecdote from his teenage youth, when he rejected his father’s direction that it was “time to enter the system.” Then and now, his response remains: “I don’t want it / I’d rather do this all, on my own.”
Towards the end of their 75-minute set, a circle pit threatened to erupt but only culminated during their vigorous self-titled encore from their studio debut War and Pain. A vortex of middle-aged metal fans slammed into each other with gusto, like it was 1984 again.
Photography by Andy Lee