Volume 91, Issue 33

Tuesday, October 28, 1997



Monster return

By Sara Falconer
Gazette Staff

Monster Voodoo Machine, one of the most underrated rock groups in the industry, played their 'final' show to a frenzied crowd of devoted fans at The Volcano in Kitchener last year. On Oct. 23, 1997, three-fifths of Planet Voodoo are sitting in the basement of Mrs. Robinson's reflecting on the appropriate rebirth in that same city.

"We're back in Kitchener, where we left off," lead singer Adam Sewell notes contentedly.

But why did they leave? The decision to pursue other projects was unanimous, they explain. Originally a hardcore metal band, their increasing use of keyboards and samples gave them a reputation as an industrial band. It worked, for a while at least, but none of the members were really satisfied. Sewell wanted to push the envelope in electronic directions, while the rest were more interested in the traditional guitar/bass/drums approach.

The result was the extinction of Voodoo and creation of Def.Con.Sound.System and Semi-Auto Reflex. Sewell's technology-intense D.C.S.S. was a short-lived project and although he intends to work on it in the studio, he admits that as a live act it "just didn't rock." Semi-Auto has been more successful and several members of MVM will continue to produce this simple, heavy, catchy thug core. Both groups are currently working on debut albums.

Guitarist Jason Cuddy says after working as Monster Voodoo Machine for almost six years, these ventures were a "nice break," but Sewell takes full blame for the electronic experimentation that led to the group's breakup. After he had tried it for a while on his own, he came to the realization it had been the wrong style for them. "The sooner we lose the pseudo-industrial tag the better," he announces. "We are a heavy metal rock band. I'm not afraid of that for the very first time."

Planet Voodoo turned out their new demo within a few weeks of their reunion and all agree with Cuddy that it feels very natural. "We're doing what we do best," he says. What they do best is not exactly 'in' anymore. "Metal is a four-letter word," says Sewell. Dean Bentley, drummer, agrees that anything remotely metal is a stigma right now, but he expects a resurgence of rock in the near future. "Everything always comes full circle," he says.

The new, stripped-down Monster Voodoo Machine certainly has come full circle and six years of trial and error have filtered out all but the most essential aspects of the band. Hopefully their more aggressive, 'cheap-rock-entertainment' sound will earn them the recognition they deserve. "We've always had one foot firmly entrenched in the underground and the other one kicking at the door of mainstream acceptance," Sewell explains.

They have toured with many big groups like Marilyn Manson, Carcass, Pigface and Fear Factory, but even the 1995 Juno for Best Hard Rock Album failed to bring the band widespread fame.

The small crowd at Mrs. Robinson's goes insane when Planet Voodoo takes the stage again at long last. Their energy and connection with the crowd is almost legendary and when they play live, they rival any of the world's greatest rock acts. Yup, they have still got it and watch out, because their newfound focus has made them now, more than ever, a force to be reckoned with.

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997