I was a fan of Voivod back in the early days, starting with War and Pain and up through Dimension Hatross, and even Nothingface. They were progressive, musically, and to a certain extent, I could understand where they were going. After a while, though, the band’s musical direction and my musical tastes diverged and I stopped paying attention to them. I still listened to their old stuff once in a while and when I ran across demo represses (such as Anachronism) or bootleg live CDs from their early days, I picked them up. The local independent record store always put the old stuff in the Metal section, but the new stuff tended to be filed in the Rock section, so if a new Voivod album came out, I never knew about it because I never looked in the Rock section. [Holy shit, what stupid assholes must work at/run that store! You don’t split the stock, ever. But if you are stupid enough to think that you have to, at least put a couple CDs in both places, or a fucking sign. This type of idiocy helped kill off records stores. -Editor] Still, it was a sad day for me when I heard that Piggy had succumbed to cancer at the age of 45. I was surprised that they were even still around at that point because I’d assumed that they’d broken up long ago. Fast forward to 2013. Blacky is back on bass and Piggy has been replaced by former Cryptopsy/Gorguts guitarist, Chewy. Target Earth was hyped as the first “post-Piggy” Voivod record and something of a comeback. All of the albums previous to this were written using riffs that Piggy had written prior to his death, so this was going to be the true test. Could they create a record without Piggy that was still Voivod? The answer would depend on what you considered “Voivod” in terms of their music. For me, it was the old stuff. I wanted a return to their Thrash roots but with a modern twist. I wanted this album to be more like the era that I loved, as opposed to the Technical/Progressive era that I disliked. Well, I guess the only way I’ll hear the old Thrash style of War and Pain or Killing Technology is to listen to those albums. Target Earth is definitely not a return to their roots. This is Progressive Metal like their later stuff. If you’re a fan of the newer Voivod style, you’ll probably like Target Earth. I didn’t find the overly technical playing and weird song structures to be to my liking. I like aggression, atmosphere and memorable riffing. This doesn’t have any of that. If anything, this album is anti-melodic and anti-memorable. There isn’t a riff on here that I could remember after the album was over. There were no standout tracks. All you get are songs that are technical as all hell. This LP was interesting from a technical point of view, but Target Earth was about as exciting as a physics lecture at your local community college. For me, Target Earth is an album that I wanted to like but was ultimately disappointed in. Much like the new Cryptopsy LP, it didn’t kick enough ass. Technicality and ass kicking ability are not mutually exclusive! Technicality and creating memorable riffs are not mutually exclusive either. Clockwork Angels by Rush is a Progressive Rock album that has science fiction themes much like Voivod does on Target Earth. The Rush album, though, is technical, memorable and it also kicks ten times more ass than Voivod does. It can be done, folks. For those still interested, this LP comes in multiple formats. The deluxe edition has an extra CD with live tracks from their show at Roadburn (2011). The set list is composed of songs that were mostly from the later, more technical/progressive era of Voivod’s career, so if you like the newer stuff, you’ll definitely like the bonus disc. The live tracks were released separately last year, so they aren’t exclusive to this release. It sounds like a soundboard recording, so the audio is pretty good. Hardcore fans probably already have this live material, but if you don’t, the deluxe edition of Target Earth is definitely worth the money.
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