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Voivod Target Earth album cover
3.91 | 102 ratings | 5 reviews | 25% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Target Earth (6:05)
2. Kluskap O'Kom (4:24)
3. Empathy for the Enemy (5:46)
4. Mechanical Mind (7:40)
5. Warchaic (7:01)
6. Resistance (6:45)
7. Kaleidos (6:28)
8. Corps Étranger (4:35)
9. Artefact (6:26)
10. Defiance (1:32)

Total Time: 56:42

Line-up / Musicians

- Denis Bélanger "Snake" / vocals
- Daniel Mongrain "Chewy" / guitar
- Jean-Yves Thériault "Blacky" / bass
- Michel Langevin "Away" / drums

- Katajjaq Inuit / vocals-throat singing (2)
- Periklis Tsoukalas / oud ? (3)

Releases information

Artwork: Michel Langevin

CD Century Media - 8961-2 (2013, US)
2xLP Century Media - 8961-2 (2013, US)
2xLP Century Media 9982611 (Germany) (2013)
CD Century Media 9982612 (Germany) (2013)
CD (Ltd, Med) Century Media 9982610 (Germany) (2013)
CD (Ltd, Med) + CD(RE) + Box (Ltd, Nu) Century Media 9982611 (Germany) (2013)

Recorded in January at Pierre Rémillard's Wild Studio in St-Zénon, Quebec, Canada.
Mixed by Sanford Parker.

Thanks to UMUR for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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VOIVOD Target Earth ratings distribution

(102 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

VOIVOD Target Earth reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Voivod have always refused to do anything to fit into any particular genre, remember their version of "Astronomy Domine" or "21st Century Schizoid Man"? Not what someone may normally associate with a thrash band, but there's the point. Under Piggy's guidance Voivod were never just another thrash band. There are many who thought that the band would implode after Piggy's passing, but here we are in 2013 and yet again the band are doing just what they do best, which is whatever they want. It is going to take a while to see if this band will ever gain the kudos of 'Nothingface' or 'Dimension Hatröss', but amazingly the latter of those two is now 25 years old!!

This is Voivod for now, and these crazy Canadians show no sign at all of slowing down. It is quirky at times, extremely staccato at others, yet always in your face and a real refusal to compromise. I have most of Voivod's albums and take it from me this maintains all that they have stood for over the years, while giving us metalheads something else to savour.

Review by 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.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Target Earth" is the 13th full-length studio album by Canadian progressive/thrash metal act Voivod. The album was released through Century Media Records/Iron Gang Factory in January 2013. Since the death of original guitarist Denis "Piggy" D'Amour in August 2005, the band have released "Katorz (2006)" and "Infini (2009)", which were recorded with guitar tracks demoed by D'Amour before his untimely death. A rather unusual way of recording, that presented the band with a number of technical difficulties, which they overcame in order to honour their fallen brother. It´s up for discussion if the end results were artistically succesful, but they probably helped the band through their mourning process and they were certainly both interesting studio experiments. On "Target Earth" the band have added a new guitarist to the lineup in Daniel "Chewy" Mongrain. Mongrain is not completely new in the lineup though as he has toured with Voivod since 2008 and also recorded the "Warriors of Ice (2011)" live album with the band. He is also a member of technical death metal act Martyr. "Target Earth" also sees the return of original bassist Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault on a studio recording. He too has been part of the band since 2008 though.

So 3/4 of the original lineup is back together, but the big question is of course how Mongrain pulls it off playing on new original material, keeping in mind that D'Amour was always the main composer in the band (not to mention one of the most original and unique sounding guitarists in metal). Thankfully Mongrain delivers a performance that is both true to the Voivod sound but also adds a few personal touches along the way. His touch is espeically heard in the well played guitar solos, but there are other details in his playing that set him apart from D'Amour too. It´s still predominantly dissonant riffing that´s on the menu though, so don´t despair if you miss D'Amour. This still through and through sounds like Voivod. Of course that´s also obvious when Denis "Snake" Bélanger starts singing in his trademark raw punked singing style.

Stylistically the music on "Target Earth" sits somewhere between the progressive thrash of "Dimension Hatröss (1988)", the psychadelic tinged progressive metal of "Nothingface (1989)" and when it´s most melodic "Angel Rat (1991)" and "The Outer Limits (1993)". But the band still succeed in creating a sound that´s somewhat unique for "Target Earth". The band are as always very well playing and it´s an absolute joy to hear Jean- Yves "Blacky" Thériault´s distorted bass on a Voivod album again. The sound production is professional and powerful sounding. The material is generally entertaining and as usual sci-fi themed, which songtitles like "Target Earth", "Kluskap O´kom" and "Mechanical Mind" bear witness to.

After a couple of albums that didn´t exactly live up to the quality I expect from Voivod, it´s safe to say that "Target Earth" is a return to form. "Target Earth" is simply miles ahead of "Katorz (2006)" and "Infini (2009)" in terms of quality and memorability. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Review by Necrotica
4 stars Few metal bands have inspired as much intrigue as Voivod; the progressive thrash outfit were responsible for some of the most unusual records of the 80's and 90's. Combining the ferocity of speed metal, the eclectic and technical nature of progressive rock, and fascinating lyrics about science fiction and war, Voivod seemed poised to revolutionize the metal scene. While they didn't exactly connect well with the mainstream crowd during their "heyday" (their most successful record, Nothingface, reached only 114 on the Billboard 200 chart), they certainly gained a bevy of loyal hardcore fans nonetheless. Even with a few weak experiments here and there (the band's industrial years come to mind), fans of progressive rock and thrash alike were starting to notice Voivod's efforts one-by-one. Perhaps that's why the death of the group's legendary guitarist Piggy in 2005 resonated with so many of those fans. Piggy was practically the sound of Voivod, giving that atonal, angular sound that made the band so notable in the first place. So what was next? Would Voivod be gone forever? Would they create a record that would completely alter their sound altogether and alienate their fanbase?

Thankfully, neither of these scenarios are the case here. Recruiting new guitarist Daniel Mongrain (a.k.a. Chewy), Voivod decided to press on and released a record of all-new material, Target Earth. Thankfully, Chewy has a style very similar to Piggy, so his work feels warmly familiar when trying to fit in with the other members. Musically, Target Earth strikes a balance between the aggression of 1987's Killing Technology and the dark, atmospheric side of 1989's Nothingface; as such, the whole experience sounds like a reboot of the band's old discography, as if the industrial 90's records never existed. The band also return to the sci-fi lyricism and eerie guitar dissonance as well, along with irregular drum patterns an unorthodox bass lines. With all of this in mind, Target Earth is something of a rehash, but that's not necessarily a bad thing; in this case, it's welcome for the most part. Songs like the opening title track, "Warchaic", and "Kaleidos" exhibit these familiar strengths in full form, with all of Voivod's expected quality present. While the instrumentation is more of the same, Snake's vocal attack is, well, just that. An attack. The vocalist hasn't sounded this confident and energetic in years, and he displays a great deal of the thrash style he utilized on old Voivod records such as War and Pain and Rrroooaaarrr. Along with this, he also brings out the progressive years of the band, with his spacey droning mixing in with the aforementioned thrash barks. This results in a great deal of vocal contrast and diversity. "Empathy For the Enemy" sees both Snake and the instrumentalists going for a creepy atmosphere, with drawn out clean guitar lines and unpredictable drumming patterns mixing with Snake's Pink Floyd-esque spacey vocal work. Then there's "Kluskap O'Kom," which opts for a direct speed metal assault; the aggressive vocal style is mixed in with 80's thrash with hints of progressive rock and punk music, and the song moves at a wonderful pace.

Unfortunately, the album has its flaws. The biggest one is the fact that so much of the record sounds so familiar to the band's heyday. It shouldn't be a big problem, but it gets frustrating; there were numerous instances where I was able to pinpoint what would happen next in the music because it's, well, same ol' Voivod. There are definitely differences, such as a bigger emphasis on jazz fusion with this record, but they're still overshadowed by familiarity in the end. Also, while Chewy is a great guitarist, Piggy's absence is definitely felt. Only Piggy himself was capable of utilizing his trademark guitar work to full effect, and even Chewy fills his spot effectively, it just simply doesn't sound the same.

Even with that said, Target Earth does manage to be a great return to form for the boys in Voivod. They've come a long way, and it's remarkable to hear such a good record from a band who lost their most important member. Even with Piggy's death, the band were still able to churn out an excellent record out with their trademark style and lyricism. With all the members turning in solid performances and the compositions being familiar-yet-fresh, this is one of the first great albums of 2013. Voivod, I applaud you for continuing to press on and release such high-quality material.

(Note: this review was originally published in 2013)

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

Latest members reviews

4 stars Ah, hear we go! After nearly two decades, Voivod returns to making truly unique technical metal. I suppose they finally decided they had extended Piggy the proper grieving period and hired the new guitarist Chewy to succeed him. Chewy had some big shoes to fill, and while his soloing isn't quite ... (read more)

Report this review (#902325) | Posted by Failcore | Tuesday, January 29, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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