Saturday, November 18, 2023

Children of Technology - Written Destiny (2020)

Italy's Children of Technology has always been a band I've wanted to like more than I do; their aesthetic blend of punk, thrash, speed metal, societal decay, mutant apocalypse leather and spikes has that inbred appeal to my inner child of the 70s and 80s, and they have always felt like what might have occurred had Voivod swerved their first few albums into a more Stateside crossover style. Now, I'm glad those Canadians did NOT do that, because they're the most amazing band ever and I've enjoyed just about every step of their journey...but I just mean to say that Children of Technology have that genuine 'cool 80s B-movie' vibe about them, and they've maintained it even through my mixed reactions to their full-length albums, of which Written Destiny is only the third...

And I'm happy to say, their best! 2010's It's Time to Face the Doomsday was fairly stylin', but their sophomore album didn't really further my appreciation. Written Destiny hit on all cylinders so fast for me that I purchased it almost instantly after giving it a test listen. There's a maturity here, a willingness to just settle into some great riffing blend of heavy/thrash metal which catches your attention right away and then holds it. I'm not saying that they've brought much nuance or invention to their niche, but straight up, the brazen metal crunch and wailing leads of "Soundtrack to No Future" set up their scythe-wielding, biker mutant aesthetic, and then the screaming and speed metal take you away to a far-flung land of radioactive bliss. Raw, nasty vocals, great gang shouts that resonate past them, and incendiary rhythm guitar tone just rattle every pleasure center in my being, and this one doesn't let up. There's DEFINITELY a huge nod to Voivod's War and Pain, and this almost sounds like a better mixed cousin to that, especially on the killer title track or the shuffling wasteland of "Desert City".

Granted, the vocals here have more of a mix of nasty nasal pinch to them than Snake's punked out pitch, but the use of the howled cleaner vocals also draws some comparisons, so they spice that up further with the occasional grunt and growl, and epic early Tom Araya screams. Riffs are very simple, like War and Pain filtered through some NWOBHM, a couple of the frillier riffs you'd expect from the blackened/speed sect so popular these recent years (for good reason). They writhe in some tremolo proto-death metal riffs here or there too, and it all gels together so well while maintaining a very down to earth, blue-collar feel to it. The riffs are never technical, not even original, but the album is simply a blast and everyone should own it, whether your jam is Manowar or Hellripper. Italy's got quite a good little scene of these bands, with Bunker 66 and Baphomet's Blood also whipping out some strong albums lately, and while Written Destiny definitely has more of the true heavy metal coursing through its nuclear bones, it's certainly one of the best in that scene to date.

Verdict: Win [8.5/10]

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