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How much radiation can your body stand? - 94%

Brainded Binky, November 11th, 2014

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!