Voivod formed in 1983 and have never achieved the commercial success they deserve but have maintained critical acclaim throughout their career by releasing records that are starkly different and follow no set formula.
This is their thirteenth studio album and the first to feature Dan Mongrain and first to be without the writing of founder member Piggy who tragically died in 2005. As a band they have been through many peaks and troughs from their chaotic thrash period in the early 80’s to almost becoming MTV darlings with their Pink Floyd cover in the late 80s. The departure of two founder members, total disintegration of the band, Jason Newsted joining and now finally full circle with 3 of the original members back together again.
“Target Earth” opens the album with the unmistakable sound of the famous “Blower” bass with frantic pounding of drums before the whole band launch with the unique vocals of Snake and the signature twists and turns of the guitar. It is rare that a major player can be replaced in a band to spectacular effect. Mongrain’s unique guitar sound whilst very much Piggy influenced slips in comfortably and retains Dan’s character. The guitar tone is thicker than older albums and adds a warmer feel to the overall sound.
The first three tracks transport us back to the “Killing Technology” vs “Nothing Face” eras, these tracks retain the chaos and intricacies of these periods. “Mechanical Mind” could have been recorded during the “Dimension Hatross” years, the power, dream sequence vocals with the bass and drums screaming vintage Voivod. “Warchaic”briefly breathes a sigh of relief from the preceding chaos ; before descending back to the turmoil of swirling riffs. The songs are long and it takes time for it to sink in due to the sheer depth and weight of the material. “Resistance” and “Kaleidos” is more reminiscent of the later albums but essentially Voivod at the core.
While there is a lot of classic Voivod sounds to relate to here there are also plenty of new elements present which has created some of the most challenging music they have committed to tape. The few years this line up has spent touring has paid off and really shines through.
As one of metal’s most underrated bands it shows that veterans can still release relevant music. If you have never heard Voivod this is a great place to start and for the old die-hard fans – fear not – Canada’s Nuclear Warriors have not compromised.
Denis “Snake” Belanger – Voice
Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain – Guitar
Jean -Yves “Blacky” Theriault – Bass
Michel “Away” Langevin – Drums
Empathy for the Enemy