Voivod guitarist Denis D’Amour, better-known to fans as Piggy, died Aug. 26 at a Montreal hospital after a battle with colon cancer. He was 45.
Although fans focused mainly on Voivod’s futuristic lyrics, D’Amour’s complex, jazzy guitar work fueled the band musically.
One of the first Canadian thrash metal bands, the Quebec-based Voivod (which also originally included singer Denis “Snake” Belanger, bassist Jean-Yves Theriault and drummer Michel Langevin) released a string of such genre classics as 1984’s “War and Pain” and 1987’s “Killing Technology.” But the band truly hit its stride with the 1989 prog-metal effort “Nothingface,” headlining a U.S. tour supported by Faith No More and Soundgarden.
Just as it appeared the mainstream metal world might be catching up with Voivod in the ’90s, Theriault and Belanger exited the band. Voivod continued recording throughout the decade and was in recent years rejuvenated by the addition of former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, as well as the return of Belanger.
The new lineup toured as part of Ozzfest in 2003 and issued a self-titled studio album the same year on Newsted’s Chophouse label.
Voivod then signed with the End Records and was gearing up to enter the studio early next year. Newsted recently told Billboard that more than an album’s worth of songs had already been demoed. It is unclear what will happen to that material.
D’Amour recently completed guitar tracks for a reunion by obscure ’70s Montreal band Aut’Chose. Meanwhile, Voivod’s first DVD, “D-V-O-D-1,” is due Oct. 25 via Music Video Distributors. The project compiles all the group’s videos from 1983 to 1991, as well as classic live performances from the period.