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Voivod - Nothingface CD (album) cover

NOTHINGFACE

Voivod

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.27 | 248 ratings

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Tapfret
5 stars After going full frontal prog with the outstanding concept album Dimension Hatross, Voivod took another opportunity to tweak their game. Keeping up with the sci-fi theme that had served them so well to this point, they would break almost completely from their thrash metal roots. Well, at least the thrash part. The new formula would lead to the widely acclaimed Nothingface, their most popular release and resident of US college radio top 40 charts in late 1989-early 1990.

From the word go it is obvious Voivod had a far better budget for recording. The thrash sound of the 2 previous albums was accompanied by heavy reverb. Nothingface pulled the sound closer to the listener. The thrashy beat speed is evident on the opener, The Unknown Knows, but gives way on the rest album to a very eclectic rhythm library that play more junctional beats to the overlying guitar riffs. Dennis D'amour's guitar playing, while remaining unorthodox and routinely atonal, tends to be more melodic, arpeggiated and exploring broader chord extensions than at any other point in Voivod's discography. Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault maintains his "blower bass" style, but sounds more defined within the recording. Vocally, Denis "Snake" Bélanger continues to bring what I call his "apocalyptic town crier" vocals to the party, this time appearing a bit less monotone than before.

The overall impression remains high energy, but presents a much more sophisticated instrumental interplay than other Voivod material. The highlight for many, otherwise a sidelight to me, is the inclusion of Pink Floyd cover, Astronomy Domine. This was likely the piece that propelled the album to the heretofore unseen mainstream popularity. As I was not a particular fan of the original, I can take it or leave it. That being said, it was cetainly a more than proficient rendition.

Nothingface and its predecessor, Dimension Hatross, will always stand out as game changers in the prog metal scene. And game changers for the band themselves. While so many rising stars from the thrash metal scene were flaming out, Voivod was carving a niche for themselves as true progressive metal originals. Nothingface is the second consecutive (and last) masterpiece for a unique band among their contemporaries. 5 stars, absolutely essential.

Tapfret | 5/5 |

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