War and Pain [Expanded]
Venom's Black Metal, Metallica's Kill 'Em All, and Slayer's Show No Mercy are widely considered the quintessential thrash metal releases of the early '80s, but Voivod's War and Pain fits right in there with the aforementioned titles. And it was probably the very first thrash metal release to emerge from Canada. As a result, when the 20-year anniversary of War and Pain arrived in 2004, an expanded, three-disc version was issued via Metal Blade -- disc one featuring the original album plus live performances (including their first-ever gig in June 1983), disc two comprised of "live demos," disc three being a multimedia bonus for your computer. Unlike the futuristic prog rock sounds that would serve as the basis for their future best work (1988's Dimension Hatross, 1989's Nothingface, etc.), War and Pain is Voivod's most straightforward metal release, as evidenced by such tracks as the album opener, "Voivod," and the title track. While fans of the group's subsequent challenging direction may find War and Pain a bit repetitive, you have to keep in mind that thrash metal was still a fledgling style at the time (in fact, many metal heads had yet to even hear the term "thrash" yet). The live tracks are of varying sonic quality, but longtime fans will undoubtedly be interested in hearing these early renditions, which include a pair of covers that spell out clearly Voivod's early influences: Venom's "Witching Hour" and Slayer's "Chemical Warfare."