Album Review: Voivod – Nothingface (1989, 2022 RSD vinyl reissue)

Voivod are one of those bands that I always try and tell people about. They are fairly well known in the metal world, but most Canadians have never heard of them. They have been slugging it out since 1982, and I feel the only reason they survived this long is because of the thriving metal scene in Quebec, Canada. It must be hard to be considered one of the best Canadian bands by people from other countries, but not ever get radio play in your own country. I felt Canada Day was a great day to give Voivod some love. I have been searching for Nothingface on vinyl for around 30 years, so when it was released on the June Record Store Day (pushed off from the April date) I had to pounce. It’s been a favourite of mine for a long time so I will try and be as objective as I can, but no promises.

The Unknown Knows – Right off the bat I get a Megadeth meets the heaviest parts of Rush vibe. The band moved to a more heavy thrash/prog lane for this album, and the first song sets this tone for the album. Piggy (R.I.P) also throws his hat into the jazz circle with his playing. Snake’s vocals have a bit of a Dave Mustaine nasally tone which I love, but some my find polarizing. Heavy prog meets thrash with a cool jazzy twist. Sign me up.

Nothingface – If Rush were trying to emulate an early 70’s Yes song and had a cross between Dave Mustaine and Alice Cooper do the vocals, this would be the result. The 4 minutes and 15 seconds seem to take a much longer time to tick by when listening to this song. It seems like one of those epic 70’s era prog songs, only much less pretentious.

Astronomy Domine – Covering a Pink Floyd song, especially one from their early Syd Barrett era usually results in a cheap imitation. This is not that. This may not only be one of the best Pink Floyd covers ever, it may be one of the best cover songs ever. It may even be one of the few cover songs that is better than the original. A unicorn as it were. I’m on the fence about that but either way, here it is. Soak it in. SOOOO GOOOOOD!!!!

Missing Sequences – This one not only mixes thrash with prog, but I hear some heavy rocking funk as well. As if Mike Patton was visiting Montreal when this was being recorded and decided to join incognito.

A really great A side. Let’s see if side B is as good.

X-Ray Mirror – This song has some cool lyrics “I am, he is, the face I hate, hate..I can’t believe this is my image. Like the mirror without a frame…the glass is broken but I look the same.” The instrumentation sets it apart from the wannabes as well.

Inner Combustion – A fast paced punky romp.

Pre-Ignition – With a song title that sounds like it was taken from a Boston album, this one may disappoint the classic rock crowd, but those of you that love late 80’s/early 90’s funk metal mixed with a punky thrash vibe will not be disappointed. However, if you like 70’s rock the middle of the song features an homage to Brian May’s guitar work, so even the classic rock crowd has something to love.

Into My Hypercube – The song switches gears a bit for the start of this song. Kind of like the very best of the softer, slower moments of certain Metallica songs through the years. There is nothing like a softer metal song to tune the ears to every tick of the cymbals and plunk of a bass string. It does get louder and heavier as the song progresses, which is not a bad thing here.

Sub-Effect – Away’s drumming takes centre stage here folks. When any drummer can keep pace with Piggy and Blacky, you know he is the real deal. A great album closer on par with many of the songs on this album.

I told you I wanted to remain objective, and I think I did. I listened with fresh ears and heard some new sounds. It turns out there was even more to love than I thought. The sticker on the front of my album cover reads “First LP reissue of this 1989 Prog/Thrash/Metal Classic! Newly Mastered for Vinyl by Peter Moore” I want to give Peter Moore a shout out here, because even though this album was recorded digitally in 1989 (I assume on DAT), there is an analogue sound to it, which is rare on a vinyl record sourced from digital. I suggest to hunt this one down on your favourite form of media and crank it.

Happy Canada Day everyone.


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