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Target Earth

(Century Media)

Reviewed by : David Perri
Rating : 8.5

VOIVOD's winding and wound path is the stuff of legends, the band indelibly impacting the Canadian and global metal scenes and receiving the type of reverence that is reserved for only the impossibly special few. After the death of Voivod architect Denis "Piggy" D'Amour in 2005, the group's future was very much up in the air, right at a time when the Montreal torchbearers had resuscitated their dimension hatross through the self-titled 2003 record that featured ex-METALLICA bass player Jason Newsted as well as the subsequent Ozzfest appearances that introduced Voivod to a generation of fans weaned on the likes of Voivod disciples TOOL and SYSTEM OF A DOWN. Piggy's death was a way-too-premature tragedy, and the band soldiered on in his wake with 2006's Katorz and 2009's Infini, records that were constructed based on riffs and demos Piggy had left on his computer's hard drive: the completion of Katorz and Infini were feats that were no doubt emotionally draining and a testament to Voivod's will to carry on and spread the gospel of Piggy in the face of even extreme adversity and anguish. Having toured since 2008 with original bass player Blacky and Dan Mongrain (MARTYR) in Piggy's spot, Voivod resurrected itself, literally, and brought to life its roaring killing technology, an essence that is a fundamental pillar in, like, seven different metal subgenres. 2013 brings us Target Earth, the first Voivod album with Mongrain at the guitar helm, and to describe it as classic Voivod is a monumental understatement. Essentially the exact mid-point between Dimension Hatross and Nothingface, Target Earth is both a late-'80s progressive thrash fascination street and a timeless ode to Piggy's dissonance, even if those riffs and structures are being channeled through Mongrain's impressively capable and authentic playing. Even the drums have a certain late-'80s aura about them, the big snare and menacing toms the perfect compliment to Blacky's classic 'blower bass' sound, a tone that is as distorted and caustic as Snake's punk snarl. When 'The Mechanical Mind' was released as a 7" single back during the autumn it only hinted at the signals and subdivisions that were coming our way, as Target Earth is Voivod returning to form in the truest sense of the term. Which is not to say the Jason Newsted and Eric Forrest eras weren't valid Voivodian tales because they were, as the spirit of Negatron, Phobos, Voivod, Katorz and Infini can certainly be felt here on Target Earth; when Away says that every Voivod fan will feel at home during Target Earth he's not exaggerating (Target Earth will also feel especially home-like for Canadians, as the record features Voivod's first ever French-language track, 'Corps Étranger). Long live these warriors of ice.