|Classic Review: Voïvod - Nothingface|
Label: Mechanic Records
Year released: 1989
Review online: April 24, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Rated 4.71/5 (94.17%) (48 Votes)
Between the dense, garroting rhythms of "Dimension Hatross" and the mellow prog vibe of "Angel Rat" lies "Nothingface" Voivod’s defining moment and the best album of their career. Fifth in their history, this album got huge press when it was released over twelve years ago (twelve years? Holy Shit am I old) and remains one of the essential metal albums of the late 80s.
Voivod started out angry and noisy, a thrash/punk band with weird lyrics and a weirder stage act. Each album saw them move into more progressive waters and thus only made the band’s sound stranger. The combination didn’t always work (witness the maddening time-stop arrangements on "Hatross", an album I found almost unlistenable) but it was always interesting. Here Voivod finally seemed to put all the pieces together: Punk, Metal, prog-rock and even jazz mixed with that unmistakable, indescribable Voivod touch.
That said, it is surprising how simple and direct the songwriting is here. The open, sing-along sound of "The Unknown Knows" and "Missing Sequences" in particular are deceptively accessible. But weirder songs lurk, including the title track, the speedy "Inner Combustion", and the sprawling oddball epic "Into My Hyper-Cube" – the weirdest, most impenetrable song on the album, and one of the best they ever wrote.
There are some so-so cuts here: the rather dull "X-Ray Mirror" and "Pre-Ignition" for example, but these are minor distractions on a CD this good. Even the cover of Syd Barrett’s "Astronomy Domine" fits in perfectly with the spacey mood of the album.
The art design in the booklet is superb, as always. Drummer Michel Langevin outdid himself here providing all the art, including an illustration for each song. It wouldn’t be the same without his warped artistic vision.
For Voivod fans, this is the shit. And even those unfamiliar or unimpressed with Voivod may find themselves caught up in the strange odyssey of this album. A true classic.
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