Target Earth (Century Media)
The fact that VOIVOD have finally released their sixteenth album, is a triumph for not only their fans, but all of metal in general. As one of the progenitors of Progressive Metal as a sub-genre, you can make a case that many of today’s bands are influenced by the style VOIVOD pioneered in 1980s. Although this is their first album since 2009′s Infini, and their first for Century Media; the band has been crushing it with projects galore for several years now. Rather than rest on their laurels like so many others, the band has turned in another stellar album, full of all of the twists and turns that made them respected to begin with back in the day.
Starting off with the title track, the aggressive, and technically impressive first song has everything in it you love about the band. From its winding guitars and urgent beats, to SNAKE‘s sneering lead vocals, the song is gem. All of the trademark melodic interplay between the guitar and bass is there too, owing a lot to the return of bassist BLACKY, in his first recorded Vv action in over twenty years. The driving pace of the song is not without a few left turns into the weird zone. Like much of the album it has all of the Thrash, Prog and bizarro Jazzy stuff you can handle, and some you likely can’t!
“Kluskap O’Kom” is about as straight up thrashing a song as this band has ever conjured. The verses have a clever melodic bent, but keeps the same tempo as the rest of the song, blistering. The chorus parts are pure shout-a-long fun. Dan (Chewy) Mongrain has stepped out of the shadows of PIGGY (RIP) and really taken up the mantle with his brilliant writing and playing. “Empathy for the Enemy” is a moody jam with Snake again chirping in with his awesome vocal performance. This may be one of my favorite overall performances from him in years. “Mechanical Mind” was the single, but in true fashion for this band, it is far from a typical musical piece. AWAY‘s tremendous drumming carries this track, but really all of the members contribute memorable parts. Angular riffs and jazzy cymbal hits transport the listener to a different head space. This is easily my favorite track of the album, and one I would love to hear played live. “Warchaic” is another song that is just full of sick changes. Mellow and introspective one minute, space rock-opera the next, and razor wire riffage of the highest order. The last 3/4ths of the song is just insanely good. “Resistance” again has that punky MOTORHEAD proto-metal feeling track the band does so well. Then it shifts gears into a creepy crawl of chords and strange beats and hits. “Kaleidos” it a track that the band started playing live over a year ago. Hearing it now recorded properly, it definitely proves to be another of the strongest tracks here. I think in the live setting, some of the slick guitar effects were lost a bit. No matter. “Corps Étranger” is a track that calls to mind the earlier work of the band and is simply majestic. I highly doubt even the most accomplished modern guitar players will be able to pull off some of these parts. Oh and Snake raps in French (Canadian) and it totally rules! “Artefact” has a touch of doom to it and some killer tribal sounding drums. Away remains one of the finest drummers of this or any eras, and does so without resorting to the trickery of others. Finishing off things like a death blow, “Defiance” is a minute and a half of weird, rage and mind bending technique. It fades out raging, a fitting close to another brilliant chapter in their legacy.
by Keith (Keefy) Chachkes