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The fact that I have written some reviews has led me to a new finding. I have realised that there is a certain scheme. I like the furious first works of many extreme bands - and I do not like their more or less irritating outputs after a drastic change. Yet the albums I like most of these bands are sometimes those at the interface of their old and their new style. Celtic Frost's "To Mega Therion" is simply a milestone, Ancient Rites' "Fatherland" must be mentioned in this context as well and maybe even Bathory's "Under the Sign of the Black Mark". (Okay, with regard to Quorthon, I should rather mention "Blood Fire Death", because it combined black metal and Viking sounds met on an equal footing. But who cares about such details?) "Killing Technology" is also one of these transition albums and, from my point of view, it presents the climax of Voivod's discography (although the anarchic debut is fascinating as well). Let me tell you why.
The production of Harris Johns does not score with a very heavy configuration, but it puts the focus on an individual sound. The album has a mid-heavy, sometimes minimally computerized appearance and it spreads a solid amount of punk vibes, although the metallic elements prevail. Nevertheless, this is not a heavyweight, earthy sound. The airy yet enthralling mix leaves room to breath while having a somehow futuristic touch. Yet this does not mean that Voivod slacken the reins, no way! The album goes the next logical step after the apocalyptic debut and the still very sinister and thunderous second album. Now the Canadians feel free to break the chains of their pretty narrow-minded concept and to demonstrate their technical abilities and combine sharp leads with many amazing breaks and surprising twists and turns. The songs are cleverly designed, they channel the energy of the compositions and let it out whenever the time is right.
Voivod do not strive for extraordinary song patterns. The more or less complex structures seem to be the result of a natural process. The songs have a good flow, because their single parts are built upon each other in a logical manner. This does not mean that smoothness prevails. Bulky riffs were not sorted out. "Forgotten in Space" holds some of them and even the actually straightforward "Tornado" surprises with a petulant part. It's amazing: on the one hand, the songs do not lack of accessibility. On the other hand, Voivod do not want to make it too easy for the audience. There exists still this rebellious element which seems to be firmly embedded in the DNA of the group. Thus, the band does not fraternize with its fans. I would rather speak of a challenging relationship for both sides. Yet I actually wanted to praise the riffs. In short, all of them are excellent. The entire guitar work of Piggy (R.I.P.) reflects the enthusiasm and the ingenuity of the four-piece. So many good ideas shape the songs that "Killing Technology" belongs to the rare full-lengths which do not have a clearly identifiable highlight. Indeed, the opening title track blows the listener away, but the following tunes are no less exciting. Whenever I listen to the album, I have another favourite. Seven songs, seven hits. Nevertheless, "Order of the Blackguards" might be the scout which leads interested groups to the entire album by the fastest means. It represents the straightest track, compact and intensive. Its impressive vehemence is inter alia based on the permanently gnawing bass of Blacky, although guitar and vocals are naturally of high importance as well. The song finally culminates in a speed part where Snake shouts its title again and again. I promise that this piece will have an infectious effect on Voivod rookies.
Incidentally, Snake walks a fine line, too. He does not really sing, but his shouts are free from dirt and more variable than before. A few robot-like samples round off the picture. All in all, his vocals sound less furious but more expressive than before and the voice lends the pieces even more individuality - and this term constitutes another keyword for the description of the album. Maybe I should ask an expert, but right now I do not know any comparable album. The mix of technical yet speedy rhythms with some noisy, defiant punk tendencies and a futuristic, ominous scenario has remained unique. It is therefore a great pleasure that the album will be rereleased at the end of April. Nonetheless, this review is about the original vinyl from the year 1987, because any kind of "bonus" endangers the pure brilliance of the original edition of "Killing Technology". And this, my highly appreciated Voivod maniacs, is not a new, but an important finding.
Voivod is one of many bands that underwent many drastic changes throughout their career, and one of few that had never received any flak for it. Starting off as a thrash metal band, they got more and more complex as they soldiered on throughout the years until, finally, their thrash roots were left behind in favor of a more progressive sound. One of the albums that is part of this transition is "Killing Technology", which still has some of the band's thrash elements, but also gives us a glimpse of what the band will do in the future.
The factors that determine that "Killing Technology" is not only a thrash metal album, but also one of the greatest, are obviously present. The fact that there are one to two different tempos in a few songs remain, and "Order of the Black Guards" is just one of the many songs that proves it. Unlike "Thrashing Rage" from the previous, "Rrrroooaaarrr" album, however, one of those time signatures in each of those songs aren't shoved at the very tail-end of them. In "Forgotten in Space", the time signatures change with the chorus, something that Voivod had never done before, but they will do a lot in the future. There is also the fact that the lengths of some of the songs are getting longer, the title track being more then seven minutes long, whereas songs from the previous albums don't really get past five.
Also a factor of change on this album is the fact that Snake's vocals are getting smoother. They're still gruff and aggressive, like on the previous albums, and you hear that a lot I "Ravenous Medicine", but you can also hear his smoother tone of voice as well. It can especially be heard in "Tornado", where he sings each verse in this voice. In my personal opinion, this album contains a healthy balance between the two voices, as any album before or since seem to use either one more than anything else. The band also seems to be branching out in terms of lyrical themes. Their previous releases usually consisted of songs relating to death, destruction, and horror, three cliches commonly associated with thrash metal. On "Killing Technology", though, Voivod decided to think outside the box a little bit and write songs relating to science fiction. The title track, and obviously "Forgotten in Space", are clear examples. "Tornado" is also noteworthy, for it's about, well, a tornado. It even gives a rather accurate description of how the titular tornado works!
Of course "Killing Technology" has all of the trademarks of Voivod, like the bizarre chord patterns and complex time signatures, but they are more played out than anything released before. The standard power chords used in songs made prior to this album are almost non-existent, for Piggy gearing his guitar sound more towards using more complicated chord patterns, like diminished and arppegiated chords. These chords make impressive, if not unusual, licks that take up the entirety of each song, thus diminishing the likelihood of Voivod being labeled as a run-of-the-mill thrash metal band. Voivod is known for having many different time signatures in their songs, but that doesn't mean they can't be fast. After all, they were still a thrash metal band at the time they released this album! "Tornado" consists of a super-fast tempo that many, if not all, thrash metal bands use to convey aggression and destruction. In Voivod's case, the tempo could be used to convey the sheer power a tornado could unleash.
I know this is kind of off-topic, but I seriously believe that the band's album artworks could be indicators of the bands ever-evolving musical style. The covers of their first two albums, "War and Pain" and "Rrroooaaarrr", depict a soldier and a war machine respectively. You could expect either of those things that appear on those album covers to appear on covers from any other thrash metal band, but the cover of "Killing Technology" is far different. It depicts what appears to be an alien at the controls of a spaceship, which at the time of its release, was quite uncommon. It's a clear indicator of the music you're about to hear when listening to it. It's also interesting to note that as the band changed its musical style, the covers to every subsequent album got more and more surreal. The proof is in the covers of "Killing Technology" onwards.
Let's face it, every band changes their sound to some extent (except AC/DC and Motorhead), but no band has ever gone a more dramatic transformation than Voivod. One of the very first signs of this is in this album, "Killing Technology". It has a lot of the things we love about thrash metal, but it's also a hint of what's yet to come. Upon the release of this album, Voivod had officially begun their first phase of their journey into outer space with their weird and wonderful music. All systems go!
What was the greatest thrash album released in 1987? Many would point to Among the Living, Persecution Mania, Terrible Certainty, or even Schizophrenia. I would respectfully disagree and point to a different album. That different album would be Killing Technology, Voivod's best album. This took what was good from their previous albums and some of the newer stuff they were cooking up and created a masterpiece. This has some of it all: great riffs, unique and expressive vocals, noteworthy atmosphere, and great songwriting.
Many reviewers have commented on the riffing, and it is excellent. When they need to be fast, they drive very well, and when they need to create a mood, they can go places most bands would need a textbook for. Interestingly enough, it's less the technical acumen of the playing and more the quirkiness. I imagine a reasonable thrash player from this time could cover a Voivod song after a little practice, but they probably couldn't write a similar song without copying. This album and the playing on it is more to the progressive side of tech thrash. It's an excellent breath of fresh air, as it really is unlike almost any other thrash band, Vektor was influenced by them and their are a few sonic similarities.
Moving on to the vocals, he has a rather punky voice. If you could remove the nasal from Mustaine, I think you would get pretty close to this. He also shares what I would consider Mustaine's only vocal strength: conviction. He sounds like he believes and feels everything he is singing about. Even when he sounds cold, it feels more like a sense of irony than detachment. This doesn't make him a great or even good vocalist, but I feel he fits the music, and I really haven't heard many who sound like him.
This is also one of the first very Sci-Fi metal albums. Many bands had of course used this for lyrical fodder, but I haven't heard any older bands utilize it to the same extent Voivod did. They wrote lengthy, yet very catchy and enjoyable songs about aspects related to outer space with covers that look like something from the Ed, Edd and Eddy cartoon's alien comics.. They also took a relative weakness of their previous albums, production, and turned it into an excellent dystopian atmosphere. Much of what makes this transition so excellent is their ability to take their previous aggression and merge it with their new prog sensibilities and weave songs of a higher quality.
This is as good as Voivod ever got. Hartross was excellent as well, but the quirkiness was starting to descend into stoned weirdness and a kind of neutered weakness by Nothingface. The previous albums were simply too generic, as they sound more like some garage band than what produced this. I wouldn't recommend this to everybody, but if you're fine with longer songs, you should love this. The bonus tracks from the Cockroaches EP aren't essential, but they are on a par in quality, so I would recommend them none the less.
When it comes to the fast-paced and volatile world of thrash metal, few bands have been as inventive and groundbreaking as Canada's Voivod. Also one of my favourite metal bands, it is rather remarkable to hear them go from the relatively primitive speed metal of their early records to the more dissonant and experimental thrash of what I consider to be their best albums. Their biggest transition album would be their third record, 'Killing Technology'. Although it is much less refined than the following masterpieces 'Dimension Hatross' and 'Nothingface', it sets the stage for them by presenting Voivod's exciting refurbished style, and progressive tendencies. Although the first two albums were charming enough, 'Killing Technology' is where the Voivod I love really came alive.
Hot on the heels of the band's second record 'Rrröööaaarrr', 'Killing Technology' is most notable for being the first record where Voivod decides to adopt a progressive metal sound into the thrash formula; something that was even more rare back then, than it is today. Although the fairly raw bite of the early Voivod is largely left intact, 'Killing Technology' features more complex and intricate compositions, as well as a more adventurous style of musicianship than before. Most notable and progressive in the way that Voivod plays is the excellent and startling guitar work of Denis 'Piggy' L'Amour, who remains one of my favourite rhythm guitar players ever. Heard here, he has a very unique style of riffage that relies mostly on strange chords and frantic switches that sound as if they could be rooted in space rock. As with every notable Voivod album, Piggy's guitar work remains the centerpiece of the music.
Looking back on Voivod's career, it does feel as if the follow-up 'Dimension Hatross' overpowers 'Killing Technology' in virtually all respects, taking the paranoid prog thrash sound to the level of mastery, The work here is fantastic all the same however; staying fast and energetic throughout most of the record, but throwing in surprises that keep the music interesting. Although it is usually up to Piggy (especially on this album) to make the band's sound unique, the other musicians flesh out Voivod's sound very well. Michel Langevin's drumwork here stands out, often going beyond merely keeping time and giving some killer fills to the songs. Denis Belanger's vocal work here is much less melodic than it would be in the band's future, instead revolving around a much more thrash-oriented style of screams and howls, which can get monotonous at times when compared to the much more dynamic melodic style of Belanger, but stays on par with the energy of the band. Unfortunately, Jean- Yves Thierault's bass playing isn't nearly as audible as it would be on the next two records, but it still manages to keep the rhythm section going while Piggy solos.
While not nearly as impressive as some of the material Voivod would release in the few years after this, 'Killing Technology' is an essential album in the band's development, really taking both them and the thrash metal sound to new heights that had not been yet heard before. Things still sound a bit raw and light on memorable songwriting to call 'Killing Technology' one of the best Voivod albums, but it remains a great album for the band and genre.
This album has been a really big step forward for Voivod. It is more unique, diversified and elaborated in regard to the technical and especially lyrical quality than the first two albums. Voivod present a really cutting-edge and straight thrash metal album which has the heaviness of the earlier works and already the inspiration of the future albums.
"Killing technology" is a very dark, cold, technical and spacey post-industrial killer opener which has no lengths in its seven entirely brilliant minutes and one of the most underrated songs of the group. "Overreaction" and "Tornado" develop a very heavy and tension filled atmosphere and are two of the bands absolute hymns which are still regularly played live today even if the two songs maybe sound a little bit too similar. You can discover progressive tendencies for the first time on the courageous and very interesting "Forgotten in space". The dark "Ravenous medicine" has an interesting lyrical intention by touching the topic of animal slaughter and pharmaceutical experiences with those poor creatures which are shown in the somehow cheesy cult video clip. "Order of the blackguards" perfectly combines thrash metal with the science-fiction space topic and surprises with a very eerie and spacey style of singer Snake. "This is not an exercise" has many interesting breaks plus a very tight drum play and grows more and more on me, it is somehow the inside tip of the album.
The two additional songs on the more recent editions of the album are from the "Cockroaches EP" and fit perfectly to the style of the rest of the album but are not as strong as the album highlights "Killing technology", "Tornado" or "Forgotten in space" and are just two nice gimmicks and fillers for the new editions.
All in all, this album is one of the best thrash metal albums of the decade and combines the heaviness and straightness of the bands earlier works and the creativity of their later progressive style on a couple of songs. The only weak point of this album is the fact that some songs sound too similar and that the bands repeats itself a little bit too much on this album and experiences less.
When it comes to classic metal bands that have innovated the way others approach the genre, Voivod is one that cannot be ignored. After two albums of blistering, slightly absurd, Venom-esque metal, Voivod stepped their game up for “Killing Technology” and once again stood out from the crowd. Remember, during 87, bands were getting more and more brutal and death metal was already an identifiable entity from thrash. Voivod took an entirely different route, combining their original metal influences with hardcore punk, discordant chords, and progressive song structures. Expand on their already desolate lyrical themes with more focus on futuristic ideas, you’ve got yourself a classic album that anyone into metal, punk, and hardcore can find common ground with.
The album starts off with some chords over some tom work, and then bursts into a real punky rhythm and some chords that have become analogous to Voivod. The song seems somewhat straight forward to begin with, rotating around a couple different ideas, with the varied rhythmic and picking patterns really standing out. However, much like the mid 70’s Sabbath albums, the song goes into some other area, and thus the true brilliantness of Voivod is seen. They do a great job at creating songs with different movements, and manage to tie it all together by the time the song is over. You can see this throughout the album, but done in a variety of ways.
“Killing Technology” just has so many memorable songs and well developed riffs/themes within. Piggy’s guitar playing has always constantly evolved while still incorporating his bluesy vibrato in his lead work. As I mentioned, he uses some pretty odd chords. He makes use of tritones, inverted fourths, as well ones whose names I’m not so familiar with. Blacky’s bass playing has a really nice buzz to it, and pounds alongside Piggy and the solid punk-infused drumming of Away. Snake’s vocals are intense, expressive, and full of character. He adds that much more colour and uniqueness to the Voivod sound.
As I mentioned, the lyrics here have some futuristic themes with their already violent themed lyrics. Songs about a tornado’s path of destruction, technological invasion, and becoming lost in space give you an idea of how the band creates lyrics that paint a pretty horrifying picture. Seriously, what’s more terrifying than becoming a medical experimentation as they feed you the ravenous medicine? Fans of Stanley Kubrick’s films will appreciate the themes presented here.
This is an album that’s stood the test of time for over 20 years now, and it’s no wonder that these French Canadians have made such a name for themselves, and paved the way for many other great bands from Canada. You can hear traces of this record’s influence in bands like Martyr, Cryptopsy, and Gorguts, as well as plenty of other more technically inclined metal bands from around the globe. This album is worthy of shelf space in your collection – if not just for Away’s artwork alone.
'War and Pain' and 'Rrröööaaarrr' may have firmly erected the foundations of Voivod's hostile thrashing punk sci-fi wasteland, but it was Killing Technology that truly put the band on the map. Armed with a legendary Harris Johns mix and a slew of frightening and alien riffs (for its era), this is the first true masterpiece from Canada's greatest band. Though I'd give the edge to 'Dimension Hatross' as my all time favorite, few metal albums over the decades have been able to match the vision and originality of this classic.
Who could forget the rumbling ambience and the robotic voice which herald the title track? WE ARE CONNECTED. Followed by one of the freakiest metal riffs I have ever heard and Snake's signature punkish, almost conversational vocals, the lyrics create a pastiche of paranoid dystopian futurism. "Overreaction" takes off with the groove of intense punk bass smothered in Piggy's unique chord selections. We're not in fucking Kansas anymore. "Tornado" begins with subtle distorted chugging, a percussion swell and then a panic inducing barrage of chords. "Too Scared to Scream" wonderfully sums up the feelings I once felt about this album...as a 12 year old I could barely believe what I was hearing. An album that challenged all thrash/speed metal conventions of its day with its unmitigated forward thinking dorkery, yet remained truly dark in nature. "Forgotten in Space" creates a descending extraorbital nightmare which truly suits the claustrophobic environment of its prison ship subjects. "Ravenous Medicine" is not only one of the best song titles ever, it was one of the more famous songs on the album. Who could forget the video? Snake's vocals rule on this track. "Order of the Blackguards" is anchored by its quick and groovy thrashing and eruption of glorious chords. "This is Not an Exercise" is pissed off post-industrial thrash metal fury.
The CD version contains two extra tracks from the "Cockroaches" EP. "Too Scared to Scream" and "Cockroaches" fit the tone of the album perfectly, the latter in particular is extremely enjoyable. The mix of the album is perfect to capture a grimy dystopic edge. These are the sounds of rusted guitar strings in an apocalyptic wasteland. Trash can drums and ripped leather punks in gasmasks. In fact, the album almost perfectly mirrors the early 80s cyberpunk explosion in science fiction circles, its metal equivalent. The musicianship is impressive, as I mentioned before there is simply noone who played guitar like Piggy did. Blacky's filthy, distorted bass was another of the joys of these earlier albums.
Voivod is a band with many killer albums, in terms of overall output I'd consider them a candidate for the best metal band in history. Though I have a fondness for their very early material and its rough and tumble style, this third album is where the magic really started. The vision conjured here would be further honed into the perfection of 'Dimension Hatross', and later taken to progressive extremes as the band shifted focus from its heavier edge to a more melodic tone, and then cycled back around again.
Unless you're a poseur who has been living under a rock all these years, you already know these things. If somehow you do not, acquire this and the rest of their albums, then educate yourself in one of the most enduring and original dialects in the metal cosmos.
The title of this review is tongue waaaay in cheek, as I respect UltraBoris' opinions most of the time. But when it comes to this album, whoa, waitafuckinminnit, my friend! What were you smoking when you listened to it, so I can avoid it in the future?
I fondly remember getting this album in 1986 (still have it on vinyl!) and being utterly blown away. Why? Because, after two raw, primitive Motorhead/Discharge-influenced efforts that were good but not great to me at the time, this was the album that made me take Voi Vod seriously and understand where they were coming from as a band with their concept. OK, the production is a bit thin, but it is better and cleaner than before, and everyone just got a huge charge of energy on this album, as well as the increased musical ability that comes from constant touring.
Piggy's guitar sound and style are unique to him and him alone, and on this album he scrapes, squeals, scratches, and riffs his way to manic godhead. His fills and soloing have lots of character as well, unpredictable and full of left turns. Blacky and Away, oh my gawd...those guys owned this album. Epecially on the furious "Overreaction" and "Ravenous Medicine" (the video for the latter tune is awesome as well--try to find the Noise Records "Doomsday News" video compilation to see it), they roar along like a diesel engine from hell, unstoppable in their energetic assault. The arrangements on this album are fabulous as well; complex, flowing, jagged, wildly unpredictable (to use that word again, as it is accurate), full of vigor and crazed lyrical excursions courtesy of Denis "Snake" Belanger. Snake is the voice of Voi Vod, no two ways about it. Eric Forrest was good, but Snake is his own man and voice altogether. Without him, Voi Vod was not the same, and I'm glad he's back at the helm.
This whole album rocked my world back then and still does to this day. Sorry, UltraBoris, but I disagree wholeheartedly with your assessment of this album as crap. It's too near and dear to my heart to think otherwise.