SOUNDTRACK: VOIVOD-Killing Technology (1987).
As I said, this album’s art looks much better. And you can hear from the first notes that this album is better produced and is going to be a lot more interesting than the previous two. It’s hard to know just how much of a leap this is from Rrröööaaarrr because that album was so muddy–maybe there were gems of guitar chords under all that noise. Like the previous openings, there’s a sort of prologue to the album. But unlike the previous album’s swirls, this one is beeping with a computer voice announcing “we are connected”
The opening chords are heavy, but man they sound clear—like they weren’t recorded underground. You can also hear all of Piggy’s weird higher notes—he’s playing complicated chords, not just solo notes. And when the chorus of “Killing Technology” rolls around, it offers stop and start rhythms and Snake’s voice even goes up an octave at the end. But the first real indication that Piggy is on to something new comes in the bridge. Underneath the robotic voice, Piggy is playing some really strange-sounding chords. The story is that he had been admiring Robert Fripp’s guitar work and so he added some of those King Crimson-y angular weird chords to his repertoire. And he melds them perfectly with the heavy thrash that the band had been playing.
Lyrically also, this album has moved away from killing and headaches. “Killing Technology” while having “killing” in the title is a very different subject:
The star wars have started up
The new invention is coming out
Making a spider web over the atmosphere
To make them sure that we can’t get out of here
Computers controlling your functions
Seems like we got electronic alienation
Trading children for a new kind of robot
Waiting for the old people to disappear
Quite a departure from Rrröööaaarr’s “Fuck Off and Die”
Stand up, right now, kill
No pleasure, the pain comes down here
No return, don’t look back, there’s no tomorrow
And if you’re a fucker and don’t believe it
I’d say fuck off and die, fuck off and die
“Overreaction” leans more towards the heavier side—Snake screams a bit more—but the subject (nuclear disaster) is thoughtful. Then comes their first truly amazing song: “Tornado.” Not only building like a tornado, this song allows them to talk about violent imagery without resorting to bloodshed. It’s even scientific:
Cumulonimbus storms arrive
Lightning flashes a hundred miles around
Electrical collision course
Creates the elephant trunk
But the best part is the chorus—it’s simple enough (just the word Tornado repeated) but it’s completely catchy and sing-alongable with bright major key chords.
“Forgotten in Space” features some great drumming from Away—he’s really quite underrated both in speed and technique—which explands even more on later albums. “Ravenous Medicine” is another highlight—an interesting series of uncomfortable chords opens this track about scientific research. It’s a pretty fast, heavy song. Although not too complicated except for the occasional breaks as the story progresses.
“Order of the Blackguards” is another fast song, but this one has so many parts that if you don’t like one, just wait a few seconds for the next one. “This is Not an Exercise” ends the disc proper. The middle section has a great heavy riff. But it’s the beginning of the ending sequence which is so perfectly sci-fi that really sets the tone of the album and looks towards the next one. It’s cool to think of Piggy playing these spacey chords on his guitar. And when Blacky’s bass rumbles in to resume the song, it’s quintessential Voivod.
By th way, this disc is a concept album as well. There’s a “Killing Side” (the first three songs) and a “Ravenous Side.” The strange thing about the CD though is that they have added two tracks from their Cockroaches EP which is nice. But they put one song at track 4 (the end of side one). How odd to put a bonus track in the middle of a sequenced album.
The EP came out before the album and it has a slightly different feel from the album proper. Although as a step towards Killing Technology it’s perfectly in sync. “Too Scared to Scream” is heavy and has some interesting time changes—I love the way the song feels like it is crashing to a halt around 3:30. “Cockroaches” feels like more traditional metal. It opens with drums and Piggy playing a typical sounding metal solo. Then the riffing starts and it’s very heavy indeed. Even the staggered section near the end sounds like a mosh section more than the prog time changes that Voivod uses on the album proper. The song ends with Snake screaming as the cockroaches are coming. A good ending to the EP and a pretty good ending to the disc.
The whole album has a very mechanical and robotic feel—the chords that Piggy plays just sound like mechanical failure, it’s very well constructed and foreshadows the music of their future.
[READ: July 9, 2013] Grantland #6
Grantland #6 covers from Sept 2012-Dec 2012. Despite the short time frame, this is the largest issue yet. And it maintains all the quality that I’ve come to expect from the book/magazine thing. Which means, I love the writing (especially about people/sports I’m not that interested in). And it also means that the editing is typically crap. In this issue the editing was crap more because they simply forgot to remove mention of hyperlinks. At least I assume that’s why sentences like “See here for ____” are included in any given article. But yes, there are some very simple typos that Word would correct pretty easily.
But beyond that, I really enjoyed this issue. And I’m finding it amusing how much certain people and shows crop up in a given time frame. So this is a four month period and Kobe Bryant still dominates (there will never be an issue without at least one Kobe article). But this time Homeland is the big show (since Breaking Bad has been on hiatus I gather). Basketball remains the favorite sport here (even though they speak of football as being the most popular sport).
Chuck Klosertman and Charlie Pierce continue to write thoughtful (sometimes funny) articles. And I like how there is still talk of Jeremy Lin even if Linsanity has gone away somewhat. (more…)
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