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Voivod - Target Earth CD (album) cover

TARGET EARTH

Voivod

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.75 | 60 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Sothoth
4 stars I know. The cover looks like something spray-painted on the wall of a comic book store. If I came face to face with that gun-toting character in a war scenario, I wouldn't stand a chance since I'd be laughing too hard to aim properly. It's a bit of a shame since a good number of Voivod's previous album sleeves possess sweet and pretty killer artwork that genuinely reflected the wild music within. In this case, rest assured that Target Earth is not specifically groovy disco sci-fi metal from da streets, but it's good. Damn good at times.

I honestly did not expect the band to persevere after guitarist Piggy's passing, especially considering he was essentially the backbone of the band's unique sound. Bringing in Chewy, though, as their new guitarist and getting their original bassist Blacky back in the fold has not only kept the band going, but revamped the band with a new sense of energy. If they could add a full-time keyboardist named Bunny and a saxophone player named Spanky, then they'd really be all set, but as for now, Voivod are officially back doing what they are best known for, which is their brand of cyberpunk metal with lots of tritone chord progressions meshing with some Pink Floyd and Rush influences.

And I dig it. Right off the bat, the music harkens back to their late 80's golden age, channeling aspects of everything from Killing Technology through Nothingface. Chewy was no doubt a fan of that era of the band growing up, and especially Piggy's rhythm techniques, thus his contribution to the band's current sound has such a strong vibe of works like Dimension Hatross that Target Earth almost feels like some lost recording from 1988.

Soundwise all instruments are clearly discernable, including Blacky's heavily distorted bass licks. Many of these tunes have abundant tempo and time signature shifts, as tracks like "Kaleidos" can attest, which must be a chore to pull off on stage. This is definitely some of their busiest and most difficult material since Nothingface, and yet these songs never lose themselves into convoluted riffs tossed together willy-nilly. They are catchy and memorable to the point where I was whistling parts of the somewhat psychedelic "Warchaic" long after my first listen. Although the overall sound is somewhat constant, the speed and attitudes vary from track to track, with slow trippy passages complimenting thrashier d-beat backed riffs.

Snake the singer is another key factor in Voivod's vision, providing vocals that are really hard to classify except that they work perfectly with the cyberpunk and space-rock mentality. A bit rougher in tone these days, bringing back a bit of that Killing Technology 'throatiness' while retaining his detached, cool demeanor, Snake still has a commanding presence, although during the first track at key moments there's some effects tacked on to his lyric dispensing that causes him to sound like Dave Mustaine with a stuffed nose (not a particularly good thing) that luckily aren't repeated later during the album's running time.

These guys should feel proud of what they achieved here. While a whole lot of heavy bands from the 80's continue to pump out new garbage under their flagship name just to play their old tunes during metal festival tours and whatnot, Voivod actually captured what made them great back in the day and revitalized that sound for this age. It can be debated as to whether a band mining almost entirely into its back catalogue for inspiration can be considered a 'progressive' act, even if that old material defined the group hitting a creative stride, but in this case I wouldn't bother. I'm just enjoying this stuff.

Prog Sothoth | 4/5 |

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