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Voivod - Nothingface CD (album) cover

NOTHINGFACE

Voivod

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.22 | 198 ratings

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Prog Sothoth
4 stars Voivod had clearly set themselves apart from just about any other thrash band by Dimension Hatross in terms of sound, but they would take the whole thing further into a truly weird realm with Nothingface, which to this day remains one of the more unique albums I've ever heard.

There's still some elements of thrash present, particularly with the drumming which bounces about between spacey grooves and fast tempos augmented with double bass pedaling. But man, there's a truly strange aural experience going on here, mostly due to Denis d'Amour's wildly adventurous chord progressions that tap into some sort of futuristic fusion metal sound. When I bring up fusion in this case, I don't mean in the sense of those extreme metal bands that pummel away until suddenly shifting into some loungy jazz piece before getting all heavy again. The jazziness in Nothingface is inherent throughout the album due to the nature of the music as a whole, with the bass guitar absolutely necessary and up front to anchor the music while the guitar explores tritone textures and dissonant passages that still retain an appealing smoothness.

Another important aspect of this album is Denis Belanger. On this album, his vocals stand out as an original and rare blending of alternative, punk and space rock stylistics...eschewing the snarly yelling of his full throttle thrash days. As a result, the album, though clearly metal in instrumentation, doesn't necessarily feel like a metal album, but almost like some heavy space rock album with elements of metal music woven into the songs. It's quite strange and to this day not often mimicked.

The most important thing to note, however, is that these songs are generally quite entertaining. Tracks like "The Unknown Knows" and "Inner Combustion" are punchy with some cool cyberpunk attitude, and a track like "Into My Hypercube" adds softer passages with agreeable melodies and interesting lyrics. My personal favorite would be the final cut, being "Sub Effect", with its fantastic opening couple of minutes provided by the jerky rhythms and the singer's unique tone...like a tough & mean version of that Violent Femmes guy. There's also that tripped out break with jangly distant guitars two thirds of the way through that number that's just a great insert into the song while not being jarring.

The cover of Astronomy Domine deserves mention as well; being one of the better Pink Floyd covers I've heard with some spot-on guitar playing. A few of the other tracks such as "Pre-Ignition", while fine enough in their own right, don't resonate as well as others, and as the album wears on, it can feel a bit "same-y" on a few occasions despite being a complete anomaly in the metal world. Still, it was quite a release back in the day, and still has few peers even now. An excellent work overall.

Prog Sothoth | 4/5 |

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