Joined: 30 Jan 2003
|Posted: Sat May 14, 2011 9:45 am Post subject: VOIVOD - KILLING TECHNOLOGY
|VOIVOD - KILLING TECHNOLOGY
(Noise Records, 1987)
'We are connected ...'
In 1992 I visited a pen pal of mine who lived in London, Ontario. Going through his music collection of albums, CDs and video tapes I came across a live bootleg video of Voivod recorded on the Killing Technology tour, somewhere around mid-late 1987. Coming from Dublin, Ireland where we rarely saw any the North American/European thrash bands of '86-'88 (for whatever reasons) seeing this live bootleg was a revelation. Here was the Voivod from the golden era of thrash, and in my opinion their greatest album; it was raw, in-your-face, chaotic, frantic, everything and more I imagined a Voivod gig from those days to be. At the time Angel Rat had just been released, and though a brilliant record in its own right it was a far cry from the tumultuous noise that was KT. Seeing that bootleg made me envious of those who had seen Voivod back then, not to mention other underground thrash bands from '86 & beyond ...
Voivod's third album and second for German label Noise Records hit the streets April 3rd, 1987. Bearing in mind that the band's second album 'Roar', was as noisy as fuck (to put it mildly) and only die-hard thrash fans into the more extreme bands (Sodom, Possessed, Bathory, etc) were listening to 'em, we were left wondering; almost a year after Metallica released Master of Puppets and was seemingly set to conqueror the world what was Voivod about to release? Would it be as inaccessible (to some ears) as their first two albums or would it be (shock, horror) parent-friendly thrash?
We needn't have worried. Killing Technology sounded like Voivod and as hoped was as abrasive as their first two, though ... different. In fact, it sounded nothing like anything that had been released up to that point. This industrious, cacophonous record was the natural progression from the rebellious 'Roar', and was extremely futuristic in its presentation. The whole package cried sci-fi, from its bizarre creature-in-a-cockpit artwork and 1980's computer font on the album (where Noise mistakenly muddled Blacky and Away's names in the main band pic) to the cosmic song titles boasting man-made & otherworldly doom, Killing Technology was just ... out there.
'The Red Cross is turning Black ...'
Killing Technology was recorded in Harris Johns' Music Lab Studios in Berlin. The reason for this was two-fold; after a European tour with Possessed and Noise label mates Deathrow, instead of flying to the US to record their third album they were invited to stay in Germany and record it there, a notion that pleased the band at the time. "The music lab was basically the first professional studio we got to work in," commented drummer Away in a Metal Hammer interview, 1987. "Everything seemed to work right, the equipment, the atmosphere ... on the musical side we're totally satisfied. It's a step in the right direction in every way; it sounds more mature than its predecessors and there are vast improvements in the song material as well. We also worked with sound effects, which was a first for Voivod, which shows that we're developing musically but without leaving our roots ..."
Those sound effects were prominent as soon as the needle touched down on Side A as an ominous series of beeps and humming opened the album before a distorted voice announced 'We are connected!' (Voivod never relied on the soft acoustic guitar intro approach, did they?) Killing Technology, the monstrous title track rumbled forth, and one is lost in its glorious noise, and, for its time current political commentary - the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was proposed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983, to use ground and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles.
'Use the Killing Technology/How can I destroy the enemy/Security plans are not easy to find/That's my generation, the nonsense time.'
"The lyrics in Killing Technology are about the abuse of high-technology, which can have disastrous consequences. The few people in power are playing a dangerous game. We've made our standpoint on lunacies like 'Star Wars' clear ..." stated Away. Though they stressed at the time that the band took no position in the commentary of the song it is hard to agree with this; many a Hardcore band during the mid-80's were anti-Regan and singing as such - Voivod, though a metal band were a rare exception to the Satan & sex rule. To realise a proposed global 'spider web over the atmosphere' with Death Star-like lasers pointed straight at Earth - 'the fear will come from the sky' - despite their supposed apathy they made their stance crystal clear. In fact, Voivod was more vocal of the current climate of the 1980's than most of their peers; they wrote about nuclear meltdowns such as the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl disasters ('Welcome to the China Syndrome', sneered vocalist Snake) something that rings with prophetic cynicism when one thinks of what happened in Japan, 2011.
Elsewhere, there was the Orwellian Forgotten in Space, which concerns solving our crowded prisons problem by blasting criminals into space (one wonders how long fact will catch up with fiction). Musically, this is perhaps the greatest number on the album, all 6 minutes and 13 seconds of it. It twists and turns and rolls with blistering guitar solos from Piggy; sheer brilliance. Ravenous Medicine (for which they shot a promo video) Tornado, This is Not an Exercise and Order of the Black Guards, complete with an EPIC riff around the 2.45 mark, these were the songs Voivod released in 1987, innovative and progressive, not some stagnant Metallica/Bay Area rip-off like so many others were beginning to do at the time.
'All Systems go, Blow the Reactors!'
The reviews were mostly favourable upon its release. Kerrang 'Frash expert Xavier Russell called the record 'TECHNOINTENSE!' in a 4 K review, commenting on Snake's vocals - 'Why he can almost sing now' - and Piggys '... improving axework.' Metal Forces, in a less colourful review added that KT was 'a superb slab of vinyl from the crisp production through the excellent material and dare I say it more than adequate musicianship' in a 93/100 review, while Metal Hammer, handing out a generous 5/5 commented that while 'Roar' was 'most definitely a bit on the weak side but thankfully, this time Snake and the boys have managed to get steam up and have succeeded in turning KT into a monster.' Well worth a 5, they argued, 'but if donï¿½t like volume, steer well clear of this.'
I remember I recorded KT onto a cassette tape with Possessed's Beyond the Gates on the B-side which I played over and over again cycling to and from work. I loved the album then, and I love the album now, which is why I had this done:
When we look at the bulk of Voivod's work (and what a catalogue) this is my favourite, hands down. Others prefer the follow-up, Dimension Hatross, or the weird and technical Nothingface, but for me, KT is *it*, a bona-fide classic that still staggers and impresses some 24-years after it was released.
With this blistering-charged record the boys from Jonquiere, Quebec proved they were a force to be reckoned with, and rightly so.
Forgotten in Space, live 1987:
Last edited by Bacteria13 on Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:08 am; edited 1 time in total