Jeezus, I forgot all about this VoiVod demo. It's been over 25 years since I last heard it and just as long since I even thought about it. I feel so ashamed since I think about VoiVod a lot, especially about how much I love their first album War & Pain. When Metal Blade reissued it in 2004 as a deluxe 3 disc version for it's 20th anniversary I was happily reunited with the live Morgoth Invasion demo from December 1984. I never spent much time with the 3rd multi media disc, which contained some of the material from the To The Death demo. I could have spent the past 8 years listening to this stuff!
Oh well, my mistake. So here it is in 2012 and Alternative Tentacles has put out To The Death in all it's belligerent 1984 blood, guts & beer glory. A lot of VoiVod fans prefer the later albums that are a bit more refined but I've always been partial to the early ones. Their early material is some of the most abrasive metal ever committed to tape and this demo is even more obnoxious than War & Pain. The fidelity is actually pretty good for a demo. Personally, I'd prefer a bit more tape hiss to give it that dubbed a zillion times sonic wash, but I can always do it myself on my own deck. All of the instruments are audible and Snake's guttural vocals are plenty loud so you can enjoy his broken English lyrics delivered with his thick French Canadian accent. The real highlight of this album is Piggy's incredible guitar playing. Man, he smokes! He was probably around 25 years old at the time of this recording but his playing style is fully formed. The riffing is just killer. It doesn't sound like there are many overdubs and he really gets wild on the solos. A true one of a kind musician. God bless Piggy. RIP.
All of the songs from War & Pain are present and are even rawer than the ones that were originally released on their debut album. Things get a little loose at times but what do you expect from a bunch of dudes drunk on Canadian beer playing at skull crushing volume. They were probably banging their heads harder than you ever have, too. You also get a great version of "Slaughter In A Grave" that turned up on the second album and a frantic cover of Mercyful Fate's "Evil." And there are not one, but two Venom covers! "Bursting Out" is a perfect showcase for Blacky's "blower" bass and they use "Buried Alive" as an intro for "Suck Your Bone." Totally metal. Not for the weak or timid. Only for those who live to the death forever!