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Xyrth, June 30th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1987, CD, Combat Records

Voivod have always been a terrific band, in their own league right from the start. But to be honest, their first two albums, however enjoyable, weren't that special if we take out the band's sheer personality and Away's iconic art. One can say that those albums were a Canadian echo of the work of brutish British speed metal's two dominant males, Motörhead and Venom, that pummeled the listener with their filth, grit & sleaze, to which Voivod just added a post-apocalyptic flavor (geekly discarding the sleaze part). But their third album is most definitely a very different beast. No longer content to roam the earthly toxic waste burning survivors to a smoking crisp as he went, mighty Korgull decided to go airborne and expand his dominions into outer space, where possibilities where as endless as Piggy's creativity. Killing Technology was truly the launching platform from which the Voivod rocket was ignited, to reach heights of splendor most bands can only dream about.

The four-piece had no trouble in releasing this colossal masterpiece during the 80s thrash metal heyday to easily compete with anything created back then, and it constitutes one of 1987's finest and top releases. Originality is the name of the game here, as Piggy's riffing style steals the show with ease, with his otherworldly atonal patterns and Fast Eddie Clarke-through-a-wormhole solos. The guitarwork at the 5-minute mark of “Forgotten in Space” is all you need to hear to realize the man was ahead of its time. Mind-blowing stuff is an understatement. I can't imagine what was like to listen to that in '87, as I discovered this band and record many years later and still impressed the shit outta me. The visionary axeman is greatly complemented and dare I say, enhanced, by the amazing rhythmic section of Blacky and Away. The former's powerful bass lines are as catchy and enjoyable as any other instrument here… or on any other album in existence, while Away's drumming, while not the fastest or most complex, is also quite original and groundbreaking. Among his varied percussive arsenal, he used immensely influential proto-blastbeats on several tracks here (“Order of the Blackguards”, for instance), something quite innovative at the time, at least in this side of the Atlantic.

As for Snake, what can I say. Charisma is his middle name. Not only his singing style has a personality the size of a super nova, but the phrasing and pace of the lyrics delivered by him are something quite unique as well. That is another of the factors that have always separated Voivod from other bands; not only are the lyrics interesting and lexically deranged, but the rhythm and patterns at which Snake spits the words function just like another sui generis musical instrument at the band's disposal, another of their robotic tools to probe your senses and leave them simultaneously aching and in bliss.

“Hydrocarbonic smog, methane ice crystals
Ultraviolet rays in the galaxy core
Rotations and orbits of somebody
Atoms and molecules through my body”

Well, they were just getting started in that department, as it would be perfected in the following two masterworks released one and two years after this one, respectively, with Nothingface in particular showcasing Snake's Escher-esque lyrical construction and utterings. The themes found on Killing Technology might not deviate too far from the thrash formula of the time, the seven minutes of the monumental title-track dealing with the fear of atomic war and the dependence on machines, or “Ravenous Medicine” describing terrifying psychological and bodily experimentation, for example, but some of the ideas expressed here show some of the deep thinking they'd employ later on. While science fiction was not a new subject for metal, or even rock, Voivod's approach started to reach farther than most, and that, coupled with the fact that musically this record followed the steps and complexity of Watchtower's debut and Master of Puppets, resulted in another quantum leap for thrash metal into the prog/tech metal galaxy.

Starting a legend to be written in stellar dust to forever shine among the constellations of metal's elite celestial map, the release of Killing Technology thirty years ago, was the first in a streak of subsequent masterpieces that maintained almost unparalleled top-notch quality for any 80s metal band, despite progressively shifting style by escalating in complexity but toning down aggression, leaving the most conservative of their fanbase scratching their scalps in confusion. Indeed, if you ask some of the oldest Voivod fans out there, they'll tell you their favorite albums are the '84 debut and 1986's RRRÖÖÖAAARRR, before Voivod became “weird”, their primitive reptilian brains not able to process the warp speed level of (use your choice of: ‘evolution’, ‘mutation’ or ‘ascent’) the Canadian outfit experimented before their confused eyes. I understand and respect that appreciation of the good old straightforward metal approach, but Voivod proved to give and be SO MUCH MORE than a mere Canadian Venom. So excuse me, but no… the good stuff was just beginning!