Reborn Voivod Have Second Thoughts About Space Spider Idea

Metal band alters concept of new album featuring ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted.

Okay, get this. There are 13 songs on Voivod's new record, and each song represents a different universe in the Multiverse. The Milky Way is just one of 13 universes, and each is ruled by a giant spider whose web is made up of all the planets, suns, moons and galaxies.

At least that's the idea Voivod originally wanted for their comeback album, due March 4. Since then they've revised the concept and changed the record title from The Multiverse to plain old Voivod.

"We've been away for a while, so we didn't want to go so heavy with the concept this time," explained bassist and producer Jason Newsted, formerly of Metallica but now a full-fledged Voivod member (see "Jason Newsted Says His New Band Can Kick Metallica's Ass"). "We thought, 'Let's just get more direct with the tunes again and focus on that.' "

Voivod chose to self-title the disc because they felt like they were experiencing a new beginning. Newsted was onboard, original vocalist Denis Belanger (a.k.a. Snake) had rejoined the fray after almost a decade, and the group was sounding more direct than it had in years.

"We were having this rebirth and this transfusion," Newsted explained. "The feeling we had was that there was a new chemistry taking place — a life after death sort of thing. Before I joined, those guys had pretty much given up on the band, and I said, 'Come on, let's just give it one more shot.'"

The first single from Voivod will be "We Carry On," a pounding, razor-edged rocker that bypasses quirky dissonance in favor of head-on demolition.

"That's the first introduction people will have to the new Voivod, and we wanted it to be this old-school thing with a chainsaw, galloping buzz-saw riff," Newsted said. "The intention was forward motion at all times and don't slow it down."

Lyrically, "We Carry On" is one of Voivod's more straightforward tracks, addressing the band's struggle to survive: "Now we're ready for more adventures/ No crystal ball to see the future/ Driven by a need to create."

But sci-fi geeks shouldn't mourn too much. The video for the track will re-introduce audiences to the band's obsession with nuclear war and giant bugs. And since it's being created by Keith McCabe and Jeff Ertl, two staffers of George Lucas' special effects laboratory, Industrial Light and Magic, you can expect some pretty intense visuals.

"You're viewing the band from the spider's point of view," Newsted said of the video. "The spider weaves through some burned out forest after nuclear war and comes upon Voivod in the middle of the rubble, blasting metal. The footage we shot is very old-school. Now, we have no idea what those guys are gonna come up with [as far as special effects]. Anything can happen on the screen."

The clip will be McCabe and Ertl's first foray into music videos. The pair contacted Voivod by mail last year, explaining that they were longtime fans of the band and wanted to shoot a high-tech new vid.

"We didn't know what to make of it at first," Newsted admitted. "So we said, 'Send us your demo reel.' Then we sat down and watched it, and it didn't take long for them to completely kick our ass. Anything that you can come with in your mind, they can make happen. We explained that we had a budget, so they called on a lot of favors from a lot of people who have worked on some big sh--. And we got together in San Francisco this past week and put together a very dark, creepy, spastic, frantic video thing."

Voivod will begin a tour of approximately 30 U.S. cities on April 10. Then the band will head to Europe, where they'll play summer festivals. They may even wind up doing Denmark's Roskilde Festival, which is being headlined by Metallica.

"That would sure be cool if that could happen," Newsted said. "I think it would be fantastic to play some shows together. Those guys are actually into what we're doing. A sampler of our album is playing as the hold music on one of the message machines over there at their headquarters. I thought that was really cool."