"Target: Earth"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Voi Vod is the band that cannot die. The only band that has known more tragedy and hardship has been Lynyrd Skynyrd, but that barely slows the French Canadian mutants down. Surely there can be no better definition of a diehard cult band than these guys.

I was one of the legions who thought late guitarist Dennis "Piggy" D'Amour was irreplaceable. And of course, he is. No one can be EXACTLY like Piggy. But after hearing "Target: Earth", I'm equally sure nobody can get closer to that unique sound than Mr. "Chewy" Mongrain. The new Voi Vod guitarist does an uncanny job of playing in the quirky, indescribable tradition of Piggy. In fact, this album sounds more like classic Voi Vod of the late 80's than any of Piggy's Voi Vod efforts of the 2000's, such as "Katorz" or "Voi Vod".  It's been described as a natural successor to "Dimension Hatross" and I don't disagree with that at all. But I do hear influences from "Killing Technology", "Nothingface" and even the albums from the Jasonic years here.

If you like orthodox heavy metal songwriting, steer clear of "Target:Earth"! Nothing here fits that pattern. Songs can jump around wildly in tempo and texture, with Chewy's guitars mining the unique Piggy guitar sound. There are all sorts of weird tangents and side alleys that the band pursues seemingly at whim. Snake's whiny vocals are just as polarizing here. With Jasonic's departure, original bassist Blacky is back on deck and this album features his fat and juicy playing very prominently.

One thing I noticed about "Target Earth" is that the album starts with more mid-tempo and slightly psychedelic tunes like the opening title track and "Empathy For the Enemy", gradually picking up speed over the course of the album until most of the later cuts like "Resistance", "Kaleidos" and the French-language "Corps E'tranger" motor along at a frantic, nervous pace. Not to the point of total holocaust speed like on "RRROOOAAARRR" and "Killing Technology", but pretty fast. A highlight song for me is the off-the-wall but strangely catchy "Kluskap O'kom", which features shouted gang vocals...a first for Voi Vod.

It might be blasphemy for me to say it, but I have never been a Voi Vod fanatic. There's a fair amount of tunes from them I don't like at all and there are times during "Target Earth" where my attention starts to wander. But really, in a world dominated by cookie cutter bands all trying to imitate each other, Voi Vod is always a breath of fresh air and a reminder that there are bands out there that just cannot be duplicated. "Target: Earth" should make long time fans extremely happy and continue to confuse the hell out of those who just don't get it.