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Over the years I’ve been largely indifferent towards this album. War and Pain is one of my favorite thrash metal releases and Hatross and Nothingface are okay for what they are (not my favorite style, though, not by far). Furthermore, I can thoroughly enjoy Angel Rat as a well-written pop album. But this, this has consistently left me cold, and the best I am able to say about it is that famed diplomatic word, used by reviewers of all colors and sizes – “transitional”. It was only recently that I realized how much this fucker actively annoys the hell out of me.
Killing Technology is an unwieldy amalgam of punk rock bratishness and that characteristically adolescent concept of “high-minded” prog rock, the kind that reeks of Rush and the newly discovered collection of SF novels and movies in your uncle’s closet. And it works about as well as that description indicates it would. I mean, don’t get me wrong, dear reader, I’m all for progressing and not playing Venom covers all your life, but, you know what, if I were forced to make an analogy for the type of progression Voivod went through, I’d have to say “cancerous growth”. Think about it, it’s uncontrolled, without rhyme or reason, ugly to look at and thoroughly destructive to the system. And it often smells bad, too. (Insert here the obligatory disclaimer how I realize that Piggy actually died of cancer and how I don’t wish to be insulting to his memory, etc.)
You see, I don’t actually mind the basic “sound kernel” (thank you, Richard Meltzer) of Voivod. Snake’s whiny voice, Blacky’s distorted bass and Piggy’s weird tonalities are all to my liking. It’s just that here they collide in the ugliest possible manner, as if the band let every element of their sound grow into a grotesque mass of nonsense, which is where my previous analogy comes in. And that production job could not be any thinner if it were Terri Hatcher’s thigh. I realize that this was the first album that maximally highlighted the (in)famous sci-fi atmospherics and involved compositions that Voivod are still hailed for, and was thus a brave step into the unknown. And I’m sure they had immense fun writing and recording this. Voivod, in 1987, were nothing if not an adventurous band. But, hey, there’s nothing wrong with admitting that, often, the first step happens to be a misstep.
The overriding problem, the one massive obstacle to my enjoyment of this album is exactly that, though. Namely, the band’s unbridled enthusiasm. The enthusiasm that I see as being responsible for the thorough lack of depth present here. Everything on Killing Technology is resolutely being pushed into the listener’s face at any given moment. If Snake is whiny by default, while also being menacing, here he is whiny to the max, and not menacing at all. These dorky inflections and warblings he displays on Killing Technology make me think of an over-caffeinated kid having a Star Trek marathon and proceeding to tell everyone how much he enjoyed it, all in the look-how-weird-and-alien-I-am voice. And if there’s some purpose to these song structures, I haven’t identified it, not after five years of trying to get into this album. Honestly, the different parts seem merely piled on.
You’re not thinking I’m going to let Piggy off the hook, are you? No, of course not, because he’s the main culprit. Face it, people, the majority of what he’s playing here, be it the riffs or the solos, is simply downright annoying. I mean, just listen to the beginning of “Cockroaches”. It’s all in the choice of notes and chords and how he strings them together. I swear to you, he had some kind of aural torture in mind. There’s nothing here on the level of brilliance of “Nuclear War” or “Tribal Convictions” where his bizarre style works beautifully, and the songs build towards something. No, Killing Technology is just one big, smelly compost heap of annoying guitar noises.
These elements, Snake’s and Piggy’s irritating, weird-for-the-sake-of-it performances, and the nonsensical song structures, amount to the lack of depth that really cripples this album. They’re wielding their spacy weirdness proudly in front of your eyes, occasionally bludgeoning you over the head with the exceptionally stupid parts (…tell my whyyyyyyyy…; …you’re mind’s running sloooooow…). As a result, the level of involvement on the part of this here listener hovers somewhere below zero. Every once in a while, I catch myself saying, “well, it’s brave… and different…”, just to have something nice to say about the album, because I’m sweet like that. But, what I’m really thinking is “I hope it’s near the end”. That, or wishing for power failure, since I have a nasty habit of forcing myself to not push ‘stop’ before an album, any album, finishes, no matter how bad it is.
And sometimes I catch myself thinking how it could have been better, and often remember that the original vinyl copies did not contain the two most annoying songs, but it’s a small consolation. Really, there’s nothing that could have been tweaked here, it should have been thoroughly rewritten, but I’m not normally the person for the “what-ifs”, so I say, this shit sucks.
“Shut up you lie!”
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.