written by Elpida Chokmetidou & Giorgos Tsekas
Would it be too ambitious (and out of reality) to write about an album and how it sounds with a description of a setting? Probably…but I can take the chance…I can vision a man dressed in a Celtic Frost T-shirt , a bomber jacket and denim walking into a dirty bar full of smoke where anarchy and violence is dominating the place. Men and women cyborgs, robots and aliens, breaking the whole damn place down stabbing each other punching and screaming, while holding in their hands, bats, crowbars and chairs and are ready to smash some heads while our hero is sitting face to face with the bartender asking for a glass of milk. As the album continues its 48 minutes journey he enjoys the brawling and the mess and as he finishes his milk he goes to the jukebox, he takes a penny out of his pocket and picks again Killing Technology…
It seems to me like a darker and more vicious version in the vein of Clockwork Orange of “Stranger In A Strange Land” 7” single artwork cover or something, but you got my point. In more musical terms it’s like Venom jamming on Destruction songs after reading Isaac Asimov books. The Canadians surely defined thrash and progressive both by leaving away from raw punkish speed and moving to technical thrash by using atonal chord riffing and frightening synths/robot sounds along with schizophrenic vocal lines.
Well I could have described it better I guess but this crescendo of futuristic Thrash and violent progressive based on furious guitars, unorthodox rhythms and crazy chords along with computerised vocals and angry screams matches perfectly with the aforementioned hostile underground dystopian background out of space. After all, I stretched my imagination as the band created an album ahead of its time without thinking about the consequences of composing without limitations. Progressive 100% with abstract structure, this glorious LP marked the beginning of Voivod’s classic era,- which ended with Angel Rat in 1991), Killing Technology along with Dimension Hatross (1988) and Nothingface (1989), is a concept piece about the sci-fi journeys of a creature called the Voivod. Speaking of Voivod comes out of Voivode (/ˈvɔɪˌvoʊd/, also spelled voievod, voevod, voivoda, vojvoda or wojewoda) which is a title denoting a military leader or warlord in Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe since the Early Middle Ages. It primarily referred to the medieval rulers of the Romanian-inhabited states and of governors and military commanders of Hungarian, Balkan or some Slavic-speaking populations. In the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, voivode was interchangeably used with palatine. In the Tsardom of Russia, a voivode was a military governor. Among the Danube principalities, voivode was considered a princely title.
With more musical terms it’s like Venom jamming on Destruction songs after reading Isaac Asimov books. The Canadians surely defined thrash and progressive both by leaving away from raw punkish speed to technical thrash by using atonal chord riffing and frightening synths/robot sounds along with schizophrenic vocal lines.
Nevertheless, we can’t say that we are reviewing the album as we don’t smash it without killing it, making a deep anatomy, like famous Argentinian writer Cortazar suggests for music books and movies when someone wants to review it or criticize it. We present the album for someone who has never heard a single note out of it or wants from us a small reminding of its glory. Cortazar also says that if you want to review a work of art then you should do it when it is alive and well, even 35 years after its original release, Killing technology is alive and kicking !!!
Voivod had plenty technology-connected accidents to draw inspiration from at that point; the album was inspired by the US Star Wars Project, the Chernobyl Accident, the explosion of Challenger’s shuttle etc. So, humans being unable to control technology was already a thing. On the other hand, extreme genres have to convey a message, so add a political twist to the lyrics and you got yourself something special. Voivod had the urge to talk about Nuclear War and atmosphere pollution from a critical and political stand, so for example “Over Reaction” is about the China Syndrome; Doom in general was their field. Another thing that makes “K.T.” stand out, is the time and place of its recording. As Chewy has already pointed out (Noizzeater, Jan 2020): “[…] when we signed with Noise Records, we were recording in Berlin. We did two albums there Killing Technology” and “Dimension Hatross” and it had a huge impact on us I think, recording in Berlin while the wall was still there. We had this kind of feeling of oppression around. We were walking along the wall and looking at it and it was like, “Wow, this is crazy!” There were like helicopters over our heads and the surveillance and all the checkpoints and it was kind of like entering another world for us, you know? And it really inspired the “Killing Technology” concept.
“Killing Technology” was the band’s first album to combine elements of Progressive Rock into the Thrash arena they threw themselves into, while the influence of Hardcore Punk, Crossover and Motorhead’s filthy Rock’n’Roll was clearly evident in all tracks of the album. Imagine a mix of The Legendary Pink Dots, with Die Kreuzen (a bond for which we’ve talked again at another point; available for Greek readers here: https://metalinvader.net/talking-about-crossovers-voivod-die-kreuzen/ ). According to Snake (Metal Forces, #21, 1987): “[…] one thing we definitely are not is black metal with all that stupid stuff about Satan. I mean, I’ve never seen Satan at all so why should I write about him. I prefer to say that we try and bridge the gap between hardcore and the technical development of heavy metal. I like hardcore very much because it’s very energetic and we try and base our music around that type of energy while including the technical changes of riffs and beat of heavy metal. I think our music is actually quite challenging to the listener.”
Thirty years after its original release, “Killing Technology” is one of the albums that heavily influenced the extreme genre, as the use of acerbic tritones and semitones has been shaping the structures of many bands. It’s safe to say that Voivod have managed to extend the borders of extreme music and open new pathways for other musicians to flourish in.