Five Heavy Albums that Changed My Life with Michel “Away” Langevin of Voivod

When it comes to Voivod, we at the Canadian Decibel bureau do not mess around. It’s no stretch to say that the Canuck prog-metallers have changed our lives with some of their albums, so we figured we’d use the release of The Wake, the band’s fourteenth studio album, to catch up with one of them to find out what some of the heavy albums that changed their life are.

Read on to find out which classic punk, rock, NWOBHM and post-punk albums made a lasting impact on Voivod drummer Michel “Away” Langevin’s life and drumming style, and what he considers to be one of the greatest stoner metal albums ever.

Deep Purple – In Rock (1970)

After learning Beatles and KISS songs as a young teenager, my sister’s boyfriend showed up with some 8-tracks of Uriah Heep, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. When I heard “Speed King” from In Rock I was in a state of shock! Ian Paice’s drumming skills seemed out of reach to me, so I started rehearsing harder. “Child In Time” made me travel as well, which was a new sonic experience to my ears. To me it is still one of the greatest stoner metal albums of all time.

Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)

I first heard about the Pistols in the magazine Rock & Folk, which was available at my high school library. Soon enough they were making headlines around the globe, even in northern Quebec, so I could not wait to find a copy of the album. When I finally got it, I couldn’t believe the energy coming out of the speakers and the anger and uniqueness of Rotten’s vocals. The tom beats also struck me, and I incorporated it into my playing.

Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden (1980)

I saw this album at the record store among other vinyls and immediately thought, this is my favorite band. I purchased it without knowing the music, just because of the iconic cover. I took it home and listened to it and they instantly became my favorite group. They sounded exactly like I was hoping: metal, punk, prog, gothic, with a new 1980 style. When time came to do the War and Pain cover I was thinking of the first Maiden album, hoping it would have the same kind of power of attraction.

Motörhead – No Sleep ’til Hammersmith (1981)

I should probably mention Ace Of Spades but this live album is very special because I hitchhiked 500 km to see that tour. When the band started, they were so loud everybody in the room took a step back. Even though I was deaf for three days after, I went back home convinced that I should be a professional drummer in a metal band in the future, so I reached out to Piggy [Denis D’Amour], who I had jammed with previously. I loved the free style of Animal Taylor on drums and it became the basis for my own style. They were hanging at the bar before the show, looking like three mean bikers. When someone got enough courage to talk to them, everybody gathered around and they turned out to be super nice and appreciative of the audience, which was a lesson for me. Every time I listen to this album, it brings back wonderful memories of that trip to Montreal.

Killing Joke – Killing Joke (1980)

When we hired our first professional soundman, he was testing the sound system in the clubs with what we called alternative music: Bauhaus, PiL, Killing Joke. I was especially impressed with the tribal beats and it had a strong influence on my playing. Like PiL, Killing Joke still release fantastic albums. The first one to me is a perfect representation of the Cold War era, with a ritualistic vibe to it. Great album cover as well! When we curated one day of the Roadburn festival in 2012, we invited Killing Joke and they caused total havoc. Punk forever!