It’s not good to mince words when talking extreme music so let’s get down to brass tacks: the combined force of Voivod and Napalm Death on stage together on the Through Space And Grind tour, which arrives at the House Of Blues Sunset Strip on February 22, is going to take peoples’ heads clean off. We are giving away two pairs of tickets to see this epic event, which also features old-school San Jose death metallers Exhumed, the funny-ha-ha thrash antics of Iron Reagan and technically advanced prog- metal from Black Crown Initiate.
I haven’t seen Voivod since 1989, and even then, I didn’t really hear them due to the catastrophically bad sound at the Santa Monica Civic. Rarely seen in these parts for two decades, they’re making what I believe to be their first LA appearance since Dan Mongrain joined the band on guitar, replacing sadly departed founding guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’amour, RIP. Clips from recent shows with Mongrain and newer addition Dominique Laroche on bass alongside veteran members Away and Snake, sound superb, and the material from their 2013 album Target Earth feels right at home among tracks from their late-eighties peak. Their combination of progressive complexity and visceral rawness always endeared them to me – I suspected they were Floyd and Crimson fans long before they covered those bands. They’re part of a Canadian continuum that includes Rush and Nomeansno, bands that combine an extraordinarily grand vision with the necessary technical skill to realize it.
Napalm Death showed themselves to be in fit and fighting form on their last visit to the Strip. At the time I declared it the best hardcore-related thing I had seen all ages, and I can’t think of anything in the two years since that tops it for sheer impressiveness. They’re intense onstage in a way that turns down the volume on the rest of your life, as Tyler Durden would say. The experience is disorienting, unsettling, and one of the best things you could ever do to improve your day. The tracks we’ve heard from their forthcoming album Apex Predator – Easy Meat suggests they have not mellowed with the passage of the last two years; even the relatively spacious groove of “Dear Slum Landlord” seethes with menace.
To win tickets to the show at House of Blues Sunset Strip on Sunday, February 22 at 5pm, simply click the “Facebook like” icon below, and add a comment here with the name of one song you want to hear from any of the bands playing at the festival, just to prove to us you are not a robot with a nothingface (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but these tickets are reserved for human fans.) Only one entry per person – posting numerous times will not increase your chances of winning. Winners will be selected at random on February 15 at 8pm Pacific time and notified via email.
Good luck and may all your fear, emptiness and despair in the coming year be on vinyl!