Thursday, January 17, 2013

Voi Vod : Target Earth

O.k I'm going into this with expectations set on stun. I have a lengthy history with this band I picked up "Dimension Hatross" when it came out and have been a fan ever since, though that most long term relationships with a band there are highs and lows, in fact I just became o.k with the Eric Forest albums, something I doubt I'll be able to do with the Jason Newstead years, but now we are looking at life without Piggy. The deceased guitarists sound was such an integral part of their sound until I enter this with some trepidation.

The album rooooaaars to life with the title track. Snake employs a familiar robotic chant in his delivery. His weather voice carries a new coating of grit to it which matches the heavier tone than any incarnation of the band he has fronted since "Dimension Hatross" while I love "Nothing face" and " Angel rat" this album has a heavier denser feel to it than either of those, which at the time marked Voi Vod headed from the confines of thrash metal.

First let's get my initial impressions of Chewy out of the way before we get into the meat of the first song. At first listen I wasn't blown away by his tone.But after a few listens it's growing on me. When it comes to soloing he is more of a shredder than Piggy. Though to Piggy's credit I always thought of the more dissonant nature he approached soloing to be an important element in the bands sound...until the took on a more rock n roll direction.

Blacky's bass kicks off the futuristic rumble that's "Target Earth" the guitar certainly serves up a Piggy tribute, the mix is weird when it fades momentarily to allow for it build back in. I like the lower register Snake sings in when his voice floats underneath the pounding. In six minutes a lot of ground gets covered, the songwriting is more progressive that a verse chorus structure and more in movements. There are many of the classic staples of there sound right from the first few minutes, like the angular syncopated churn of the riffs. Away's drumming sounds like a much younger man behind the kit as he is killing it like he did on Hatross and has always been one of my favorite metal drummers.

"Kluskap O'kum" is more straightforward than the opener, it even has the old school thrash gang vocals chime in. The songs strong points are the power of Snakes vocals, the muted chug in the last minute,it has all the elements from say "War and Pain" era but wi out Snakes scream. The more progressive side creeps back with " Empathy for the enemy" which has Nothingface like melodic singing on it but the tight chugging is heavier than anything from than album, the grit on Snake's voice is more apparent here. Its similar to the kind of wear and tear Robert Plant was showing but the time they got to "Coda". The vocals are well produced and Snake is aware of what he has to work with going tinpot this album and makes it sound heavier as a result.

"Mechanical mind" is very Dimension Hatross sounding, and as a whole I would say that's the album this one has the closest resembelence to. This one churns like angular maze, the melody slithers and moans from within. I think Chewy's playing on this really shows his grasp of what makes the band great and it's some of Snakes best singing. In the face of the cyber ambiance , there is still aggression and drive. This a perfect Voi Vod song in many respects, the solo adds to this and while Chewy is a technical graceful guitarist he doesn't allow this to hamper what the band is going for.

"Warchaic" starts slow and reflective, then builds into a forward drive that brings to. Inds some of their more rock nroll moments though it stays darker. Snake's voice really sounds great on this album. There is some particularly tasty guitar work about two minutes in, the drums pound it all into place mid way through.

"Resistance" for the greater part has more of a punk rock feel like something from Angel Rat. It feels like a slight step back into the Newstead days, perhaps it's left over from those sessions, way too straight forward me even with the quick punchy part, though it might grow on me over time. The guitar solo is more Piggy like in dissonance. The slower section at the end darkens it up and provides a redeeming element.

"Kaleidos" has an angular bounce to it, in parts is a little too bright for me. There is a disjointed collision but it's the goal rather than a mistakes it congeals back together when they intend it too. The chug at two half minutes pulls it bck together and the spacey interlude bridging some of these parts is a good touch as well. I suppose this could be their wink at Nothing face. It does darken back up towards the end, but of course on this one being one of my favorite bands faces more scrutiny as I hold the, to a higher standard.

"Corps Etranger" gets darker and militant in the intro reminding us of their Pink Floyd influence before going to thrash. The punches on this are technical and cutting . Every thing grinds like gears on a steam punk space ship of some kind while flying ahead, until the really weird march in the final minute and a half where the French robots march out.

"Artefact" back to the nothing face, before the chords take on their signature dring of discord. the drums drop into tribal double bass at times. I suppose this is where the Hawkwind influence becomes apparent.the syncopation is what brings this back into a more tasteful form I prefer to digest from these guys, something I might appreciate more with further listens. The closing chords of the 1:30 defiance is really only thirty seconds of a song and it weird way for the album to end so I won't factoria in when scoring this one. I will put this one at 9.5, as they more straight forward Angel Rat punk sections bring to mind the Newstead years, when Voi Vod is straightforward I prefer it with the type of sonic scathing they delivered on Killing Technology . But for a comeback album , and one that is missing a key component , they have surpassed by expectations by far, which is an achievement considering how night the bar had been raised. If you have ever had any Intrest not only in these guys but in sort of cyber progressive metal which they might have spawned....Tool, Fear Factory, Neurosis, Meahuggah, then class is in session .

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