Groundbreakers: Voivod’s Killing Technology

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BEHOLD. BEAR WITNESS. We present to you the birth of… the skronk.

 

The year was 1987 and the thrash metal movement was arguably at its creative peak. This fertile musical breeding ground not only saw the release of undeniable thrash classics, but also held the embryonic stages of what would eventually become death metal, black metal, and a whole host of now established and beloved extreme metal subgenres. The previous year, Slayer‘s Reign In Blood, Metallica‘s Master of Puppets, Flotsam and Jetsam‘s Doomsday For The DeceiverKreator‘s Pleasure to Kill, and Megadeth‘s Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying? were all released. So where does an oddball, Canadian d-beat happy band like Voivod go to stand out within this rich and varied musical landscape? The answer was clear; get weird, get proggy, get dissonant. Or, in a more succinct term, get skronky.

 

 

Voivod’s first two albums were curious affairs; they used odd, ugly chords and had a charmingly primitive drum style, but just didn’t quite “punch the meat” in a way that deserved international attention. That all changed with Killing Technology, wherein they fully embraced a prog rock sensibility in their chord voicings and compositions while maintaining their thrash aura and, shall we say, headbangability?

All of a sudden, Voivod was not the sound of the angry weirdo quietly huffing paint in the corner. They were now the sound of a tortured warrior, a powerful force haunted by the existential pains and ghosts of the 20th century. Uncertainty lies behind every aggressive posture. Twisted emotions are forced unto the discomforted listener with relentlessly melodic dissonance.

 

 

The effect Killing Technology had on musicians that came after can be heard all over the extreme music spectrum. Never before had a full-length metal album been so heavily based around harsh semitones and tritones. This bold move not only laid the groundwork for dissonant death metal heavyweights like Gorguts and Atheist, but planted seeds for the entire genre of “mathcore” ala Rorschach, Deadguy, Botch, and Dillinger Escape Plan. Plenty of guitarists that garner near universal respect from the progressive metal and hardcore communities credit Voivod’s sole axeman Denis “Piggy” D’Amour (RIP) for tearing their young minds asunder and expanding their vocabulary of what’s possible to play on an electric guitar.

We’re almost 30 years on from the release of Killing Technology, but even after decades of other artists bringing the skronk and bringing it hard, these riffs still sound original and poignant. They show just how likeable dissonance can be when grafted onto a high-energy package of punkish/metalish rock n’ roll tunes. Give the whole record a spin and I bet it’ll hit you weirdos hard, right in the gut, just like it’s been hitting other weirdos hard in their guts since 1987. Then you can move on to other gems in Voivod’s career like 1989’s Nothingface, 1991’s Angel Rat, and their laughably improbable return to form that is 2013’s fabulous Target Earth. Enjoy, ya freaks.

 

(Image via)


Groundbreakers is the Toilet ov Hell’s Hall ov Fame where we induct some of the most important and influential metal albums of all time. Catch up on previous entries into this hallowed bowl.

Neurosis – Souls at Zero
Death – Symbolic
Fear Factory – Demanufacture

  • YourLogicIsFlushed

    Did they also invent dank album art?

  • Killer writeup you rotund, orange baby.
    “punch the meat” lol

    • Dagon

      still better than “beat the meat” amirite?

      • Dr. Dubz

        Sometimes love is tough for us landlubbers.

        • Dagon

          You are a fortunate exception, Dr.

          It’s cold out here in the sea as well.

          • I have some questions for you.

          • Dagon

            Of course we have personalities, you silly. Except Toby, the hammerhead who works at Glooble. That dude is as bland as chicken without seasoning.

          • Shrimp ov Bad Opinions

            I’ll fucking tell you if fish have periods, my sister is full on white shark right now.

          • Tyree

            I wanna know, have you ever seen the rain?

          • Dagon

            I can see the ripples from the bottom. Does that count?

          • Eddie Trunk Jr., Floor Tech

            Yay, a Creedence Clearwater Revival reference! I am a fortunate son today!

          • OldMetalHead

            Yes you are. I heard it through the grapevine.

          • KJM

            Love that CCR.

          • Tyree
          • KJM

            The Dude is my role model. That’s what I call him since I’m into the whole brevity thing.

          • Tyree

            Man of the year every year.

          • KJM

            Takin’ er easy for all us sinners.

          • Tyree

            Aw, look at me, I’m ramblin’ again.

          • Óðhinn

            This made me laugh when I saw it. A Dude hockey jersey:

            https://davesgeekyhockey.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/lebowski-hockey.jpg?w=914

  • hhhhnnnnngggggg Voivod. Divine meat-punchers and one of my favorite bands ever. Thank you, sweet pumpkin baby.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2QeFd7M0mk

    • i always found this artwork very interesting. slightly reminds me of Giger. do you know who made it? (yes i know it’s googleable, but i’d rather talk about it)

      • HessianHunter

        Voivod’s Drummer does all their art. His stage name is “Away” because French Canada, I guess.

        • Dagon

          He will be on Tau Cross <3

      • Stanley

        Michel Langevin (the drummer). There’s loads of his great work here:

        http://away-voivod.webs.com

    • KJM

      ‘Nothingface’ is where I got on board with Voivod, saw this tour as well.

      • I remember running across Killing Technology in record stores when it was current but never had the scrape to try it out with all the other stuff I needed on my adolescent budget. It wasn’t until Dimension Hatross that I had a chance to really hear them on Headbanger’s Ball. I bought that one and was completely sold on all of it.

        Both Nothingface and Dimension Hatross were two of my favorites. Tapes that are unfortunately now long gone.

        • Óðhinn

          Killing Technology. Bought it on vinyl in 1987.

      • Óðhinn

        With Soundgarden and Faith No More (or possibly Prong). Yes. Great tour.

        http://www.metalinsider.net/site/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Voivod-Soundgarden-Faith-No-More.jpg

        • KJM

          As previously noted, Soundgarden/Faith No More.

        • FeelTheDarknesses

          …………………..

  • Dagon

    “Uncertainty lies behind every aggressive posture” is a great line.

    It got me thinking.

    • SOUNDS LIKE NERD THINKIN’

      • Dagon

        A man can’t live solely on the basis of his basketball shorts. Dumbbells and books, brah

  • As a huge Botch fan, I made the connection that Voivod was a huge influence on them after seeing them on the Napalm Death tour. I remember enjoying their music videos from the MTV Headbanger’s Ball days when you had to sit through 3 hours of cock rock to get to see 3 good songs.

  • Eddie Trunk Jr., Floor Tech

    Voivod is awesome. Also, why hasn’t Toxik been inducted for World Circus into Groundbreakers? I might do that.

    • The God Emperor of Mankind

      I still declare tortured Existence a groundbreaker whether heretical dissonants disagree with me or not.

      • Eddie Trunk Jr., Floor Tech

        I consider Vincebus Eruptum a groundbreaker solely because of its impact on the formation of what would become metal.

      • MoshOff

        44 CALIBER BRAIN SURGERY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • HessianHunter

      Because no one can stop giggling at their singer when listening to that band.

  • The God Emperor of Mankind

    My personal favorite. Obviously Hatross and Nothingface as well as War and Pain and Rrrrroooaaaar were awesome but Killing Technology has the best blend of their weirdo proginess and thrashing sensibilities. Still gotta find a way to work this into the Imperial Creed.

  • Tyree

    I see you you brought your mean face along with this article.

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/78/a1/29/78a129f50cacc41be1348232d073c06b.jpg

  • The Beargod

    Me liek Voivodes

  • God ov All

    I read “bear witness” and immediately thought of a certain furry, hibernating, Diety.

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4Ly8nstfxo The song is awesome, but the video is 100X better.

    • Scrimm

      Probably my favorite of thiers.

    • HessianHunter

      Holy shit, I remember now seeing this video years ago and thinking it was the dumbest shit I’d ever seen/heard. “How could anyone take this band seriously?” I thought, stupidly.

      Now I am older and wiser. This is amazing.

  • Akerskronks ov Steele

    At first I used to find it hard to get into Voivod because of their dissonance and the way it sometimes sounded like they were very out of tune. And then one day, it clicked.

  • KJM

    It still amazes me that, when I saw Voivod headline in 1990, their support acts were Soundgarden & Faith No More.

    • more beer

      I saw their first U.S. show at Lamour in like 85 with Slayer.

      • KJM

        Excellent!

        • more beer

          Yep sometimes it`s good to be the old guy.

          • KJM

            It sure is. ^_^

    • FeelTheDarknesses

      It still amazes me to this day!!!!!

  • Akerskronks ov Steele

    It was actually this song that got me to thinking of Voivod as most dank https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfjAXrRImaI

  • Tyree

    Everything about this is fucked.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq_Sl9G28EM

  • Stanley

    Piggy gets all the credit for for those “chords”, but it’s Blacky’s blower bass and Away’s pounding that provide the canvas for his unique artistry.

  • Stanley

    If this album is new to anyone, start by listening to this. LOUD.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=migoIU2vGI4&spfreload=10

    • Ferris Mueller

      Listened on 4, was ok. Listened again and cranked to 11. /10

  • Stanley

    This right here is a magnificent write up of a magnificent album. I would have to argue that there were already quite a few bangers (albeit all over the shop bangers) in their catalogue before Killing Technology came out though.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hH5tVR2Z-rM&spfreload=10

    • more beer

      Don`t sleep on War and Pain either! There were some banging songs on that album. I was really glad they played Live for Violence when I saw them a couple of months ago with Napalm Death.

  • CT-12

    HessianHunter, you are my favorite human being alive today. This album completely changed how I viewed metal, music, and my life in general. Never had I heard something that sounded so foreign yet so engaging at the same time, and after a weekend of blasting that album, they’ve been one of my favorite bands ever since. Voivod are a fairly well known name in the metal community today, but I still can’t believe how many people have not listened to them whenever I bring them up. Fucking insanely underrated and undervalued band. Brilliant writeup dude.

  • Simon “Djentcrusher” Phoenix

    Voivod, Coroner, Watchtower. I tend to refer to them as the trinity of thrash weirdos. But all three made classic thrash albums that still hold up even today.

    I’m more partial to Rooooar and Nothingface, but Killing Technology is essential listening. Kudos on this write up, Pumpkin Baby.

  • Óðhinn

    VOIVOOOOOOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    https://vimeo.com/71507342

  • FeelTheDarknesses

    This album……………………………………………………………

  • Honkey Wienerfart