Voice of Destruction Biography
Line-up changes saw people come and go, with McEwan always remaining central in the band. Bassist Diccon Harper was recruited from fellow Cape Town band Phoenix, which signified the band's first step towards a more 'metal' direction, a move that alienated VOD more and more from their original punk following. Stuart Hendry stepped on board as the vocalist, while the drummer's stool continued to be occupied by various personalities. Work began in earnest on the debut VOD album, tentatively titled "Trojan Horse". The bands' songwriting improved by leaps and bounds, as they penned crowd-pleasing tracks like "March of the VOD", "Stormbringer", and "Legions of Death". Sadly though, the album was never recorded. Various attempts at studios all over South Africa, all financed by the band, failed to yield the desired result.
VOD continued to build on their fearsome reputation by playing all over their native country, forcing all other bands ( and fans ! ) to cower in the face of their intense live onslaught - no South African act could match their on-stage energy or profeciency. At this stage the final major line-up shuffle occurred, with long-serving Hendry leaving the band. His replacement was Francois Blom, brother of drummer Paul Blom, the later having joined, left and rejoined the band previously. With this, the definitive and doubtlessly strongest line-up the band had had to date, VOD entered the studio yet again to record that elusive debut album. The effort failed yet again, and the band proceeded to put the recordings out as "The 7th Demo", signifying how many failures they had had in the studio. While the demo show-cased the musical muscle the band had developed, it also caught the attention of Johannesburg-based Inhouse Records, a label that had committed itself to the signing and releasing South African metal bands. They quickly snapped the band up, and the result was the acclaimed "The Black Cathedral" demo. With an excellent production and vastly-improved musicianship, this tape gave major hints of the musical majesty the VOD sound was becoming. The tape sold well internationally, and secured a good deal of interest for the band, and the label. It was soon followed by the compilation, "The Death of Africa... ?" ( Inhouse Records ), which featured VOD's finest moment, the epic "If I had a soul" Ep. This song alone garnered major interest in the band, and prompted labels like Peaceville to sit up and pay attention.
VOD's original brand of energetic doom/death created a major splash on the international scene, and demand for the debut album was never as strong. Yet once again, things were not to be. Greed on the part of the label saw VOD, and all other Inhouse bands, forced to wait endlessly for album recordings that never materialised. Inhouse Records, as the sole signing force in South African metal, had managed to build the scene up to high levels, and then strangeled it off completely. VOD soldiered on, widening their sound by adding a second guitarist, Johan De Jager from Namibia, and recording addition material. Johan soon left the band though, and there was growing concern that the band was stuck in contractual obligations that were leading them to nothing.
Offers of a deal by Morbid Records in Germany gave the band new impetus, and they ventured into the studio to record their latest batch of atmospheric yet extremer than even songs, including the likes of "Doom" ( after the essential computer game ), "A beast is Born", "Religion" and others. The band took the decision to relocate to the UK, where it was felt they had a greater chance of success. The deal with Morbid Records saw the release of a mini CD that contained the amazing "If I had a Soul " Ep, as well as two newer songs. Then, at the beginning of 1996, Morbid Records released "Bloedrivier", the band's debut full-length album. The album was named after a famous South African battle that took place between Boer ( Afrikaaner ) settlers and the Zulu tribe during the 1800's, where so many Zulus were slaughtered that the rivers in the area flowed red for days.
Current plans in the VOD camp included the release of another album, this one featuring new material, as much of the material on "Bloedrivier" was about a year old at the time of release. Several tours across Europe are planned. We can only say that VOD are a band to behold, one that stands head and shoulders above others.
Not since Sepultura has a band had to fight for its life like this and overcome the confines of cultural isolation to succeed in its endevours. VOD finally look set to claim what is rightfully theirs, and it's about time !