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Individual - 98%

Felix 1666, April 19th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1987, 12" vinyl, Noise Records

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 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.