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Voivod
Target Earth

Company: Century Media
Release: 2013
Genre: Progressive
Reviewer: Vinaya

  • Inspiring comeback



  • It's going to be hard for any band to make a more inspiring comeback this year than Canadian cult heroes Voivod already have this early in the year. With longtime guitarist Denis D'Amour (aka "Piggy") having passed away following a battle with cancer, it would have been understandable if the band elected not to even put out another album, let alone mustering up one of this quality.

    The band had managed to continue on (at least in a gigging capacity) after D'Amour's passing in 2005, adding another curiously monikered member in the form of new guitarist "Chewy" (real name: Daniel Mongrain). The real test for the new lineup (which is otherwise all original members) would be its ability to produce new material that lived up to their brilliantly freakish past triumphs. And although I am fairly new to the band's music, what I hear on Target Earth has me joining the majority of those who have weighed in on the subject online in praising the album as a Back in Black-like bounce back from tragedy.

    AC/DC, however, this ain't. Like much of Voivod's most celebrated work, Target Earth finds the band in brainy, staunchly non-conformist form. Clever, often dissonant guitar riffs and smart, socially conscious lyrics fly over the jerky, complex, but rock solid foundation laid down by returning original bassist Blacky (Jean-Yves Thériault) and drummer Away (Michel Langevin). Vocally, I'd say that if anything, Dénis "Snake" Belanger's delivery is more harshly eccentric than ever, maintaining his usually quirks, but adding a shouty quality that I feel he has rarely displayed since the band's thrashy beginnings. I have to say, however, that Chewy (gotta love those names!) deserves recognition for managing to do pretty much exactly what had to be done to follow in Piggy's footsteps. His riffing on the album adheres very much to the style that Piggy made an integral part of the Voivod sound, but his solos break from that style somewhat to showcase a thoughtful playing approach all his own. (See his lead break on the album's first single, "Mechanical Mind," for a shining example.)

    Not much has been done to modernize the band's sound, and upon listening to tracks like "Warchaic" and the leadoff title tune, it becomes clear that none is needed. This is an album that manages to bring much of what fans love about Voivod into the present day, the band's ahead-of-its-time core sound arriving intact in a world that actually may be more ready for it now. (My suggestion for a second single: the catchy, up-tempo "Resistance.") My only complaint would be the somewhat clanky rhythm guitar sound (a Strat?), which to my ears becomes somewhat grating after a while- especially when combined with all those eccentric, somewhat dissonant riffs. Oh, and like some other reviewers, I'm not entirely sold on that cover either. The music, however? Definitely.


    About this Writer:
    Vinaya Saksena // Vinaya is either a writer who dabbles in guitar playing, or a guitar player who dabbles in writing. A Maximum Metal staffer since 2004, he has also served as a reporter for several newspapers in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Although his obsession with music is such that it does not allow time for much else by way of hobbies, he also enjoys traveling, trivia, photography, British comedy and the occasional A-Team re-run.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

    The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: VOIVOD
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Dimension HatrossVoivod
    1988
    David Loveless10/3/2007
    Post Society EPVoivod
    2016
    Vinaya Saksena5/20/2016
    Target EarthVoivod
    2013
    Vinaya Saksena3/2/2013


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: VOIVOD

    No Summary reviews currently exist for them.


    ALL INTERVIEWS FOR: VOIVOD
    INTERVIEW BAND INTERVIEWER DATE
    Michel "Away" LangevinVoivodJosh Greer2/15/2013


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