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After years of wondering how the band will fare without their main composer, then hints about a possible new album, followed by some live previews of new songs and a one year delay since its announcement, time has finally come. Target Earth is upon us and is here to prove all the skeptics that Voivod can live beyond Piggy.
So let's address the main concerns. Live shows (and subsequent live albums) have proven that Dan Mongrain was more than able to blend in with the band and play the old material, but what about the new songs? If I remember correctly, the first to be unveiled was Kaleidos, a piece that is very much reminiscent of the Nothingface era at first sight with Blacky's bass prominently displayed. So, are they just aping themselves here? While it is obvious that the songwriting here hearkens to the "classic" Voivod sound more than anything else, and it could be argued that it sounds more like "the real" Voivod than possibly anything since Nothingface, never content to rest on their previous achievements, they have decided to add some new twists to their signature sound while reflecting on their whole career as well.
Evident from the start, this is probably one of the most aggressive albums they ever recorded. Possibly influenced by Dan's writing with his previous band Martyr, but also drawing obvious parallels to such works as Killing Technology or even the Eric Forest era, the band is bursting with anger and energy with the title track immediately setting the tone for the album, followed by Kluskap O'Kom frenetically charging in and making a statement: we'll be reborn. The atmosphere is tense, dark, post-apocalyptic even, once again very reminiscent of Killing Technology in many respects.
Among the unusual elements is the inclusion of acoustic guitars on Empathy for the Enemy with the "hidden" track on Katorz being the only other occurrence I can think of, and the French lyrics on Corps Étranger, although Snake previously sang one song in French in his side-project Union Made. Another puzzling element is the album's closer, Defiance, a short piece that fades out in barely more than a minute and sounds both like an homage to Phobos and a teaser for things to come.
While clocking at almost an hour, the album will leave you waiting for more. With the legacy of Voivod now strong and secure, one can only do what the band has always done: look forward.