Lineup: Diccon Harper (bass), Francois Blom (vocals), Greg McEwan (guitar), Paul Blom (drums),
V.O.D’s first full length album for Morbid Records. Recorded at Academy Studios in Yorkshire (a favourite of bands like Cradle Of Filth, Solstice, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Anathema). Engineered by Mags, this album culminated the band’s blood, sweat and tears to that point during a freezing English winter. The legendary album’s tracks include: Bloedrivier, Doom, A Beast Is Born, Funeral, Vir Zoë, Religion, If I Had A Soul Part III, J.M.S.P., Goodbye, Ring Of Brodgar, and Needledive. It also featured a hidden track of Welcome To South Africaaargh!!! and the live version of March Of The VOD, taken from the Live ’93 video). The initial cover print had a typo, with J.M.S.P. and Goodbye switched around.
The cover art was of a Norman Catherine painting entitled Blood River. The album was followed by an extensive European Tour covering everywhere from the Czech Republic and Slovakia to France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, UK, Ireland & more.
“Bloedrivier” is a very strange album, mixing many different styles and musical directions, not unlike Hypocrisy’s “Abducted” album. I didn’t listen to the band’s demos, which -as long as I know- were in hardcore vein. In this album the band represents their hardcore roots but at the same time, moves into a more metal direction.
The album can be divided into two parts. The songs 1-7 represent the main part of this album and they have the same direction, some kind of mixture of melodic heavy metal, doom metal and death/thrash metal. The rest of the songs are more rooted in Hardcore and altogether they have a quite different sound.
The first part of the album starts with the instrumental title track which serves as an intro to the album. After a doomy guitar interlude, the drums and bass join and the thing turns into a thrashy instrumental. “Doom” is also in this vein, with tons of catchy guitar melodies which add quite an emotional atmosphere to the music. The vocals are quite harsh, not the typical death grunts. One important thing to note here is the use of bass guitar. Imagine Steve Harris playing bass for a thrash or death metal band, in his Piece Of Mind and The Number Of The Beast way. This is some excellent playing and adds a lot to the power of their sound. Next in line we have the speed metal monster “A Beast Is Born” which also gives way to a doomy breakdown part. “Religion” is a strange “heavy metal meets doom metal” type of ballad which is amazingly emotional and melancholic. The highlight of the first part though, is “If I Had A Soul Part 3”. This is the doomiest song of the album, with a slow tempo, very simple but effective melodies and again a killer use of bass guitar. Absolutely amazing.
The next part has 3 “real” songs. “J.M.S.P.” sounds like old Napalm Death. “Goodbye” is some melodic hardcore. Both of these songs sound like they were recorded in a different studio in a different time and compared to the rest of the album they are a bit weak. The album closer “Needledive” though, is a very melodic & catchy tune which ties the things to the first part of the album.
There’s also 2 hidden live tracks at the end of the CD. They are both your basic death/core tunes, with a poor sound, so nothing to write home about there.
Overall, “Bloedrivier” is a unique, highly enjoyable and overall catchy album which most of the time delves into the melancholic side of emotions. Highly recommended if you like Iron Maiden, My Dying Bride and Suicidal Tendencies equally.
When I saw the band during the Katatonia/In The Woods/VOD tour last month I couldn’t say I was very impressed with the stuff Voice Of Destruction was doing, so it was a big surprise to find out that the “Bloedrivier” album was that good.
As it turned out, the band mainly played old songs then, something I hope they won’t do too long, because the new material is very strong. Thriving death metal with an eye for technical details without sounding clinical, and a vocalist that is capable of doing more than just grunt. He reminds me a bit of the first The Gathering (now Wish) vocalist Bart Smits.
With a very cool packaging containing a real syringe in the transparent tray of the CD, and a moody cover, the album layout has more power than a lot of bands posing in the woods with 20 pounds of steel and leather…
Zuid-Afrika is eigenlijk nooit een goede voedingsbodem gebleken voor kwaliteitsmetaal (dat geldt omzeggens voor bijna het gehele Afrikaanse continent), maar VOD is een band die die er wel degelijk maar zijn. Musikaal gezien tapt VOD uit verschillende vaatjes. Aan de ene kant is er de traditionele death metal met wat meeslepende, doomy stukken, aan de andere kant bouwt de band om de haverklap trashy versnellingen in, die één enkele keer uitmonden in een grindcore gerichte brok agressie als “Jou ma se Poes” (uit het uitgebreide ‘jemoeniehuilnie, jemoenietreurnie’ – vocabularium dat Zuid-Afrika rijk is). Jammer dat de tekst van dit nummer niet verstaanbaar is… De zang laat af en toe wat te wensen over, hoewel er over de afwisseling niets te mekkeren valt. Die twee bonus-tracks, waaronder bands lijflied “Welcome to South Africaaargh!”, afkomstig van een live video uit ’93, zijn trouwens overbodige luxe, want de opnamekwaliteit is maar aan de povere kant. Alleen al omwille van het feit dat ze uit Zuid-Afrika komen gun ik ze van harte enige erkenning buiten de eigen grenzen, al vrees ik dat hun afkomst wel eens het tegenovergestelde effect zou kunnen hebben.
Oh, this has two songs from their 3″ MCD (’95) and 9 new ones + 2 bonus tracks taken from a live video’93 (!?!).
After many wild experiences, this 4-piece V.O.D. still trust in true thrashing metal that has a lyrical depth. Guess as you do feel like singin’ ’bout some more serious things, if you’ve lived in South Africa, like V.O.D. have. This CD is a bit annoying in too many places, to say the truth…. But it’s pretty variable metal with decent sounds recorded in London and released by Morbid Records, like the 3″.
Simple titles like ‘Doom’ (a very impressing cut), ‘A Beast is Born’, ‘Funeral’, ‘Religion’… Huh, this is a pretty strong debut, let’s hope they’ll continue…
This is one of the living legends of today’s underground… VOD (don’t confuse with the NYC hardcorers) started playing punk/hardcore back in 1986, when the political/social situation in South Africa was really hard (fuck Apartheid). In fact, THEY created the SA metal scene.
Since the beginning’s punk/hXc, their style changed a hell of a lot… This CD is beautiful, gloomy, depressive but still brutal. While bands like MY DYING BRIDE or ANATHEMA have forgotten the meaning of the ” brutality ” word and denied their death metal roots, VOD enhances them with great amounts of heavy, doom, and even gothic influences. The result is an underground metal masterpiece. As if the killer material was not enough, the production is really great (done in the Academy Studios – MDB, ANATHEMA, CRADLE OF FILTH, early PARADISE LOST) and the cover artwork awesome.
Talking more about one of 1996’s best CD’s would be just a waste of time. BUY IT NOW!!!