VOIVOD — Killing Technology

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VOIVOD - Killing Technology cover
4.17 | 39 ratings | 8 reviews
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Album · 1987

Tracklist

1. Killing Technology (7:35)
2. Overreaction (4:46)
3. Tornado (6:05)
4. Too Scared to Scream (4:21)
5. Forgotten in Space (6:12)
6. Ravenous Medicine (4:24)
7. Order of the Blackguards (4:29)
8. This Is Not an Exercise (6:21)
9. Cockroaches (3:48)

Total Time: 48:03

Line-up/Musicians

- Denis "Snake" Bélanger / Vocals
- Denis "Piggy" D'Amour / guitars
- Michel "Away" Langevin / Drums
- Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault / Bass

About this release

Full-length, FAD / Noise Records
April 3rd, 1987

All songs written and arranged by Voivod
Produced by Voivod and Harris Johns
Recorded and mixed at Musiclab, Berlin, Germany 1986
Engineer: Mixed by Harris Johns, assisted by Piggy and Blacky
Cover Concept and Artwork by Away
Executive Producer Karl-U.Walterbach

Thanks to UMUR, Unitron, adg211288 for the updates

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VOIVOD KILLING TECHNOLOGY reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"Killing Technology" is the 3rd full-length studio album by Canadian, Quebec based progressive thrash metal act Voivod. The album was released through Noise Records in April 1987. It´s the successor to "Rrröööaaarrr" from 1986. The original vinyl version of the album only features 7 tracks, while the cassette and the CD versions feature the two tracks from the 1987 "Too Scared to Scream"/"Cockroaches" single as bonus material.

"Killing Technology" marks a change in Voivod´s sound from the raw punked thrash/speed metal of the two predecessors to a techncial/progressive thrash metal sound. There is still the odd nod towards raw and unhinged sounding hardcore punk, but Voivod have generally opted for a more sophisticated playing and writing style on this album. Most tracks are long and structurally adventurous, and it´s interesting how much Denis "Piggy" D'Amour´s guitar riffs and writing ideas have evolved over such a short period of time, and how much the increased dissonance and unconventional chord progressions change Voivod´s sound.

Lead vocalist Denis "Snake" Bélanger still sounds right out of a hardcore punk group, singing raw shouting vocal lines, but even he has added an extra layer to his delivery, singing more varied and even at times hitting a semi-melodic note. His voice and vocal style will probably always be an aquired taste, but his rather distinct sounding style arguably brings an original touch to that part of Voivod music.

"Killing Technology" features sci-fi themes lyrics and imagery, and the alien nature of the music itself fits perfectly with the sci-fi themed lyrics. The often space like coldness of the music and the robotic sound effects on Bélanger´s voice on the title track even further enhances the feeling of being aboard an alien space ship travelling the universe. "Killing Technology" features well written and relatively varied tracks. To my ears the original vinyl tracks are the main attractions, while the two CD/cassette tape bonus tracks sound slightly out of place and actually disrupt the flow of the album. Tracks like the title track, "Forgotten in Space", and "This Is Not an Exercise" are killer material, featuring a great balance between the raw and thrashy and the sophisticated and proggy, but more immedate tracks like "Tornado" and "Ravenous Medicine" are no less intriguing.

"Killing Technology" features a raw yet detailed and powerful sounding production job, which suits the material perfectly. So upon conclusion it´s through and through a high quality release by Voivod. To this day I´m still not sure how Voivod were able to create such a unique sound and even pull off selling a decent number of copies of this album. Even more admirable they were able to build a career writing and playing music that is as far from being mainstream as you can possibly get. A huge achievement in my book...A 4.5 star (90%) rating is fully deserved.
aglasshouse
In the short time span of a year following Voivod's second album the band reinvented themselves drastically and almost frighteningly well in time for their third release. It marked a short lived second generation of Voivod, one that mediated the hardcore punk infused, lo-fi thrash that they represented in their earliest years, and the eccentric and boundlessly creative prog thrash that would garner the group their most popular image. Thus Killing Technology represents a half-and-half mix of both sides, still bearing anarchic similarities to Rrröööaaarrr but also bearing the fruits of a more technical, progressive edge in its earliest Voivod incarnation.

The actual music of Killing Technology though is, at times, hard to swallow, and it's not hard to see why it can be polarizing to some. The riffing is obviously enthusiastic and full of youthful energy, but it's also rather unmelodious and rather unpleasant (the metal kind, more as in interesting than bad) at times. The searing scratch of the guitar can broadside the vocals at a completely different melody to what Snake is singing, creating at times an almost black metal vibe such as on songs like 'Tornado'. To counter this, Piggy's guitar can rip into a battering crunch that blends perfectly with the even faster and furious drumming but also the heavy twang of Blacky's bass creates a monstrous, pulse-pounding combo. Not only this but with the unspoken quasi-concept of the dark and horrifying unknown side of space attached like a tag onto many of the songs does well to give Killing Technology an almost alien feel comparative to many of the bands other releases. This is of course what gives Voivod such uniqueness as it hits home the point that very few Voivod releases sound similar, giving the band an ever-present freshness that many other bands of their caliber could not achieve.

Nonetheless it cannot be denied that Killing Technology was the mark of a truly upward slope in quality for Voivod, it terms of quality, creativity, and overall success. One of thrash and prog metal's biggest names are on the fast-track to the upper echelons of greatness and it seems nothing can stop them.
voila_la_scorie
The elixir that Voivod concocted in the late eighties might be rejected by some for being distasteful, too caustic, too alkali to swallow. For others, however, Voivod's three releases between 1987 and '89 are an intoxicating brew. Hailing from Quebec, a bastion of progressive music in the seventies, and being fans of hardcore punk and heavy metal, Voivod created their own unique sound in heavy metal. While bands were becoming darker, heavier, faster, more technical or more polished and slick, Voivod smartly sat upon their own vision of sound and dropped "Killing Technology" in 1987, a very surprising follow up to their speed/trash sophomore album, "RRROOOAAARRR".

From the first song, the title track, the band flies right in the face of metal expectations with a high-toned, garage band guitar sound and speedy riffing that resembles a chicken clucking. Though there are heavy chords and passages to be found on the album, guitarist Piggy (Denis D'Amour RIP) often chooses to go for a higher-tone guitar sound rather than blast us away with doom and thunder. Given that much of the song themes are about science fiction, this metallic sound sits very well. In fact much of the music is easier to imagine being played inside a cramped and unkempt, scavener/pirate type space vessel than seeing the band perform back here on the good green earth.

Denis "Snake" Bélanger delivers the vocals of a hardcore punk singer in a speed metal environment but there's a human side that is screaming through the mechanical environment of the ship's interior pictured on the cover. He packs such energy in his delivery and simultaneously infuses that human punk theatric in his barks and bellows. I really find his vocal work entertaining.

The song lyrics often sound like a B-grade sci-fi movie. I guess it can't be helped as the band members are all francophones and doing their best to write songs in English. But then again, maybe that B-grade sci-fi impression is what they were going for. It does give the album a charm and appeal.

One of the incredible things about this album though is the prog element. When I heard this in 1987, I had no idea about progressive rock. I knew only metal. But these songs were doing so many things differently and some of the weird chord changes, time signatures, tempo changes and what not captured my attention even if I didn't understand it. It sure doesn't sound like what you'd normally expect when you think of prog metal from the eighties or from any time for that matter. Voivod are unique to be sure.

I love the bass! Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault always gets his bass feature on at least two songs during this period of Voivod's career and you can hear it abruptly jump in on "Tornado" and "This Is Not An Exercise" and open "Overreaction". The drumming is overproduced and the production unpolished, but again it works to the benefit of the atmosphere.

Favourite songs of mine are "Order of the Blackguards", "This Is Not An Exercise", the title track, "Ravenous Medicine", and "Forgotten In Space", each of which have something in them I love to hear even 30 years later. The vocals, the themes, the outlandish guitar chords and riffs, the bass, the drumming, they all make this a memorable album for me. I'd personally rank this a full five stars but it's true that not all the songs are out-and-out winners and so I'll temper my excitement and give it four.
Warthur
Voivod had not got quite as deep into the technical, progressive realms which they would conquer as their own on the subsequent Dimension Hatross or Nothingface when they recorded Killing Technology; there is still a technical edge to their thrash assault here, but the centre of gravity is still well towards the thrash end of the spectrum. But on the plus side, it's pretty good thrash, certainly pushing the technical edge of the subgenre further than anyone else was attempting at the time. If you have heard Voivod's classic albums and want to hear what a rawer, dirtier Voivod might sound like, this is probably the best place to hear it.
Nightfly
In the eighties thrash metal scene, of which I was a fan, whilst there were many great albums, in retrospect there was also lots of samey bands all trying to play faster than each other. One of the better exceptions was Voivod, a Canadian four piece that formed in the early eighties. Killing Technology, their third album was the start of something special and remains one of their finest albums where they became more than simply just another thrash metal band.

If there was such a genre as space thrash then Voivod would be it. On Killing Technology, with its sci-fi themes the band became more progressive without sacrificing power and aggression. The music is bold, inventive, fast and very noisy. Yes, to my ears Voivod came across as one of the heaviest of the thrash metal bands, not simply relying on speed, which could stretch the heaviness of many bands a bit thin. Oh yes, they were fast but what was far more important was the riffs. In Denis “Piggy” D’Amour (sadly now deceased) they had one of the most inventive guitarists in the genre churning out brutal yet imaginative riffs one after another. They go from dark and brooding to razor sharp and fast, almost discordant at times yet nearly always compelling. The band sounds like they might fall apart at times - there’s a certain looseness, it’s chaotic yet it all works beautifully. Side one of my original vinyl copy has the edge where the opening title track is a peak, yet only just, the album working brilliantly as a whole.

Killing Technology is one of their best, along with follow up Dimension Hatross. By Nothingface in 1989, which is still a decent album, they were starting to smooth over the rough edges, less chaotic, which was always part of their appeal. Killing Technology remains not only one of the bands finest, but also one of the best of the eighties thrash metal scene.
Conor Fynes
'Killing Technology' - Voivod (7/10)

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.
bonnek
Killing Technology is the first Voivod album where they reveal their progressive tendencies. Voivod turned out to be a very influential band, but back in 1987 this sounded downright weird and unlike anything that preceded it. It's a strange hybrid of thrash metal, punk, complex time signatures, wild song structures, chromatic guitar playing and sci-fi themes. An explosive cocktail, to say the least.

The album sounds raw, aggressive and dirty. For many people it may disguise the obvious progressive nature of this album, especially the punk attitude and aggression of the vocalist Denis Belanger (‘Snake’) may be off-putting at first. On later albums he added more melody and tone but here he’s truly a harsh and relentless tornado.

The bass guitar is mostly distorted and vigorous, it’s an important element to the grim sound. A good example is the opening of Overreaction.

The drums are fast, thrashy and slightly tribal, they have more dynamics and complexity then other thrash bands of that era but they’re probably not on the level of Slayer’s Dave Lombardo. The sound of the drums is my only gripe with this album, it’s a bit too watery, too brittle. I think the snare has been made too reverby (‘gated’). It’s a typical production choice back then that makes for a big sound but that lacks attack and drowns out all subtlety.

But the signature Voivod sound is of course created by the uncrowned guitar genius Denis D’Amour (‘Piggy’), one of the most original players out there in the cosmos. He’s been copied a lot but his dissonant chords and bizarre chromatic progressions always remain recognizable. On later albums he would also add big spacey sounding lead guitars, but those are not very prominent yet here.

Killing Technology is not my most-played Voivod album and I started out this review with a neutral 3 stars in mind. But I was surprised at the maturity and daring complexity of the compositions. Combined with the brutal energy and vitality of the performance, 4 stars are more then deserved. If the production had been slightly better it might have been even more.

Members reviews

kluseba
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.

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