As far as their prowess as a live band is concerned, plaudits have rained down upon the current Voivod lineup like some kind of frothy meteor shower. Replacing the late, great Denis ‘Piggy’ D’Amour was always going to be a challenge for new guitarist Daniel Mongrain, but recent gigs have been nothing short of triumphant and so the band’s first material without their fallen comrade may not face the expected degree of cynical scrutiny.
As it turns out, Target Earth is stunning, with Daniel seemingly channelling his predecessor’s gift for sonic alchemy, as churning dissonance and angular squall mutate into songs that are both exuberant and memorable. In fact, this is the closest Voivod have come to matching the wild brilliance of Dimension Hatröss and Nothingface.
The combination of Snake’s unmistakable voice, Away’s loose-limbed percussive push and Blacky’s grinding bass undertow sounds as virile as it did 25 years ago, with Daniel’s guitar work sealing the deal. From the scorched-earth gibberish of Kluskap O’Kom to the grotesque thrash futurism of Mechanical Mind and Artefact, this is a sizzling rebirth and the best possible tribute to Piggy’s genius.