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Voivod - Nothingface CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.24 | 367 ratings

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3 stars NothingProg

Metal has come a long way from Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, and VoiVod have come a long way in terms of time, and produced this album after 5 years of consistently producing metal that has been pushing the boundaries of what constitutes metal - but really what this album boils down to is a metal album that is radically different to other metal albums of the time - not fully-fledged prog rock.

It's a very daring album, in that VoiVod are extremely ambitious in terms of style integration, and really pull out the stops to find different sounds - including a very interesting cover of "Astronomy Domine", but only manage to pull themselves into the outer reaches of what I consider to be "technical metal".

Despite the inventive approach to rhythm and timbre, this album does not really stray away from the very basics of metal - find a riff you like, repeat it, add another riff (and in the case of technical metal, pile on more and more riffs and go off at tangents) within a standard rock framework.

What VoiVod do not do on Nothingface is grow the music, which is one of the foundations of prog rock, and why this album does not tickle my prog sensors. The cover of "Astronomy Domine" is a prime example - Pink Floyd grew this track organically, but VoiVoid dot as many i's as they can, and cross most of the t's in order to come up with a metallized replica - although some important details are missing, such as the "woo-oo-oo-oo"s and the improvised feel. This cover really summarizes VoiVod's approach on this album - a willingness to go out and push boundaries, but a lack of "rock'n'roll" to give them the freedom of expression they are obviously looking for.

This album therefore lacks the spontaneity of prog, hence I would not recommend it to anyone growing their prog rock collection - although it is an interesting album to purchase if you're curious about prog metal, as it does cover many bases, and it's easy to see why the metal community would see it as progressive, so if prog metal is your "thing", this is well worth investigating.

The textures are not the sterile "bling" that modern production creates out of more recent "prog metal" offerings, and VoiVod have practically turned their backs on their thrash metal roots in this opus, so it is a "safe" album for anyone horrified by death metal growls, giddying, blurry whirlpools of snarling polyrhythmic riffola and double bass drum Uzi attacks.

The main downside for me is Belanger's flat vocal delivery, almost devoid of melody, tonal quality or feel for musical drama.

The main upside is that this is a very inventive collection of riffs, albeit with a tendency for tangents rather than development, which makes for very intriguing aural wallpaper that occasionally beckons and tempts, but never fully engrosses.

Certif1ed | 3/5 |


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