No one would ever have predicted back in 1984 that the band who stormed onto the scene with “War and Pain” would end up five years later dropping the twisted cybermetal of “Nothingface”. Charting their musical progression through the median three albums, it seems obvious in retrospect, but despite the fully realized work that is “Dimension Hatross” it’s “Nothingface” that is Voivod’s true masterpiece.”The Unknown Knows” and “Nothingface” jump out of the starting gates with a heavier direction than much of the album will maintain. Doubtless Voivod were breaking in fans of “Dimension Hatross” gently, as both songs follow in that general path. However, the third track, a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine”, fully introduces the zoned out, trance-like dirge that will permeate the rest of the album. Frankly, this is one of the best cover versions I’ve ever heard, despite being ultra-faithful to the original (a process I usually detest). The drums in particular are absolutely fantastic – we’re not talking double kick drum rolls or any other form of technical virtuosity, but the soft/loud buildups and the way Michel Langevin works around the melody is awe inspiring and makes this an utter pleasure to listen to.Of the remaining funereal “ballads”, “Missing Sequences” and “Into My Hypercube” are both astounding, whereas standout rockers include “Pre-Ignition” and “X-Ray Mirror”. The lyrics all consist of paranoid, futuristic Kafka-meets-Orwell parables about loss of identity and invasion of privacy. For the most part they’re fairly impenetrable, but the band have helpfully (?) provided abstract, impressionistic computer art for each song. Although Voivod have a series of great albums that boast different approaches and succeed in conflicting manners, “Nothingface” is both the best and most accessible album they’ve released to date.