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Album Review: VOIVOD – Target Earth

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So, it would probably be a fair assumption that if you were considering getting this album, you’re a prior fan of Voivod. And, if you’re a prior fan, the thing on your mind most of all in regards to Target Earth is the absence of guitarist, the late Denis (Piggy) D’Amour. And if that is mostly on your mind, then you’re probably wondering if Target Earth with new guitarist, Daniel (Chewy) Mongrain, and Jean-Yves (Blacky) Thériault back on bass, is really any good.

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Albums like these are always so unfair for listeners and the bands that make them. The band simply wants to make music, while the fans, even if they don’t explicitly admit it, want the sound of a departed bandmate to remain a constant. Piggy was not only a founding member, but with Voivod from the beginning up until his death. So Target Earth is Voivod’s first album to not have Piggy on it in some way. But at the same time, it's not as if Voivod has had a concrete sound throughout the years; it’s fluctuated at times but still pulled off well. And it’s safe to say that still remains true with Target Earth.

Right off the bat, Target Earth has a very classic sound. The guitars are crunchy, Denis (Snake) Bélanger’s gritty vocals lead the way, and the drums have a boom that can only be explained by a gigantic arena. The good news is that the album certainly SOUNDS like Voivod. The flavors of their thrash influences are greatly shown on tracks like “Kluskap O’Kom”, and “Corps Étranger”. And the rest of the album follows their brand of progressive metal. Chewy, far from inexperienced in the world of metal, holds his own very well. You’ll probably even forget that Piggy is not on this album on several occasions.

However, the bad news is that it’s not exactly a spectacular album. Target Earth is not the album you’d use to introduce Voivod to someone who isn’t already a fan. In comparison to some of Voivod’s past work, Target Earth can come up a little short. There are some truly awesome songs like “Kluskap O’Kom”, or "Mechanical Mind"; but at times it misses a lot of the aggressiveness from past albums and kind of sits more on the higher notes of Chewy’s guitar work. But nevertheless, it’s by no means a trainwreck of an album. Again, it still very much sounds like classic Voivod which fans will be able to recognize right away.

So, if you are actually a prior fan of Voivod, then this is definitely an album to pick up. Just to have all original members with a proficient replacement back in the band is reason enough to want Target Earth. I wouldn’t call it Voivod’s finest hour, nor even a comeback since they never really left; it’s just a new chapter in one of metal’s most well-known bands. Even though Target Earth isn’t a the best Voivod album, it’s a clear testament that they have no intention on throwing in the towel just yet. I figure that with a new bandmate, their sound is in transition, but may yet usher in a new and great chapter for Voivod.

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8.5/10

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