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 drum work 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.
(Online June 13, 2011)