Review Summary: The first masterpiece of 2013, Voivod are back and kicking just as much ass as ever before
Voivod really are like a machine in that they keep pumping out consistently high quality products and in doing so have given us the first amazing release of 2013. Until now the year has been cursed and plagued with atrocities such as The Wretched And Divine and the latest hunk of crap thrust upon us by the over-produced mass murderers of good music everywhere Hollywood Undead. That ends with Target Earth, the thirteenth studio album by thrash veterans Voivod. Not only is this a whirlwind of fantastically crafted riffs from new guitarist Daniel Mongrain and a blitzkrieg of varied drumming, but it is also highly consistent across its entire duration which clocks in at just under one hour. This is an unforgettable album that perfectly merges the progressively-oriented thrash styling of Voivod's early releases with more of a commercial nature in the vein of bands such as Judas Priest with their highly catchy vocal lines.
For those expecting a straight to the point, thrashy as hell roller coaster then this is definitely not the album for you. Target Earth has perhaps even more of a progressive bent to its sound than any album the band has put out before, with its frequent tempo changes and riffs that switch quick enough to set off every epileptic kid on planet Earth. The Quebec quartet has really taken their progressive nature overboard with songs such as Mechanical Mind (which also happens to be the longest song on the album). This track packs in so many different riffs and a high level of technical proficiency that it was destined to be an incredible thrash song right from its inception and it really does not let you down with a sound to it that screams "Hi, im Target Earth, I'm here to kick you in the crotch". This song has so many different tempo changes that it is a wonder the members of the band can keep up with some really amazing faster paced riffs and then the slow and plodding category of guitar work that crushes your skull underfoot. This is not a song to be messed with as it really is a highlight in the band's discography and is just one of many reasons why Target Earth is an integral part of any thrashers I-Pod.
The vocal work on this release is something rather special with a varied performance from Denis Belanger that jumps from his higher register to his usual mid-range tones with some occasional lower notes that help him fit in when the songs slow down a little. Kaleidos is a work of art on the vocal frontier with some brilliant jumps from the higher side of his voice to the lower notes providing a feeling of real variety. Something that should be noted right from the get-go with this release is that this is not break neck thrash, being much more mid-paced for the most part which does dive back and forth between the faster speeds the genre is known for and Belanger really fits in well among this seemingly random mixture of tempos, always managing to keep up and till excel no matter what speed the band is playing at. The drumming provides some of the most incredible thrash beats in years with a highly technical performance that never once bores the listener and always sounds absolutely amazing no matter what speed Michel Langevin is playing at.
This is one hell of an album that should have any thrash listener more than ready for the rest of 2013 to see what other gems it has in store for this album really is brilliant. It is a varied thrash album that never sticks to just the standard lightning fast tempos of the genre and instead strives to go that extra way to make it more of a progressive release with a lot of cool tempo changes. The guitar work is sheer madness, the vocals are varied and the drumming is some of the best in the genre. The songs that are recommended are the title track that opens the album up with some great mid-pace riffs, Warchaic with its clever use of progressive song structures to make for an interesting listen and definitely check out Kaleidos for a superb vocal performance.