“Layer upon layer is plied and piled like a metal JENGA tower ever threatening to collapse but always managing to defy gravity.”
Review by David Feltman
For an album that wasn’t going to exist, Target Earth boisterously announces a new era for Canada’s Voivod. While it is sad to see an album without founding guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour, especially in light of tragic death, it’s also nice to know that the band isn’t going to break up as was previously suggested. Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain picks up Piggy’s torch on the new album and his jazzy dissonance and metal heft marks him as an appropriate successor.
Target Earth aims for the earlier era Voivod, the faster, thrashier Voivod. But that’s something you should be able to discern just by looking at the album art. The songs’ pacing is often hectic and chaotic, which underscores the technical virtuosity that propels the album. Like the best King Crimson, an anarchic wall of sound lays an unsubtle foundation for complex song structures.
Moments in tracks like “Kulskap O Kom” maintains a thrash-like edge, complete with shredding solos, while building and expanding the framework to epic proportions. The songwriting is dense, like Amazon jungle dense. Layer upon layer is plied and piled like a metal JENGA tower ever threatening to collapse but always managing to defy gravity and hold the center.
Riffs on tracks like “Mechanical Mind” throb and pulse when not hurdling at full speed. Denis “Snake” Bélanger nasal growls fall somewhere between Ozzy and Mastodon’s Brent Hinds and add a welcome dose of ferocity. Snake’s vocals prove to be the leash that firmly grounds the album, keeping the ever-bucking tempos in check.
Target Earth is a great addition to the band’s discography both for long time fans and newcomers. Most of the 10 tracks clock in between six and seven minutes, offering a substantial serving of new material. If you’ve never checked out the band before, this would be a perfect time to correct that mistake.