For Fans Of
The Faceless are just brutal. Perhaps, it’s purely stating the obvious, but these Californian metallers create music inspired by its intensity not its attempts at channelling cheap musical gimmicks.
There are no short cuts here. The band allows you to understand their music, but they don’t make allowances to simplify their sound purely to appease those who can only comprehend a common breakdown formula.
Sophmore album ‘Planetary Duality’ was the moment the hype, promise and talent coalesced. However, four years in between studio albums is a little too lengthy for a moderately established band to leave between releases. Sometimes, as the old clichéd phrase suggests, ‘you have to strike while the irons hot.’ It meant, if the output presented on third full-length ‘Autotheism’ faltered, then adopting another overused idiom, ‘it’s one step forward and two steps back’. Thankfully, ‘Autotheism’ is a progression and succession of its predecessor in almost every way.
The studio album is more formed, more dynamic and more diverse. The range between dense, guttural vocals is contrasted with the more prevalent use of melodic guitar lines and secondary vocals from Michael Keene.
‘Xenochrist’ and ‘Planetary Duality II’ were memorable tracks previously, but can get monotonous quikly. Tech metal requires more of the listener – more involvement and greater engagement, perhaps concentration too. The grouped trifecta of openers ‘Autotheist Movement I, II and III’ highlight this. The first two minutes of ‘Deconsecrate’ sounds uncanny in its similarities to Between the Buried and Me. Quirky, endearing, but incredibly effective. This is The Faceless branching out. If the initial sequence doesn’t affirm this, the saxophone passage certainly will.
‘Autotheism’ is articulate metal. It doesn’t pander to the lowest common denominator of heavy metal fans. Evan Brewer is a perfect addition, a musician in every sense of the intended word. ‘Accelerated Evolution’ has a heavy opening, while ‘The Eildon Reality’ is again a mixture of brutality and harmonic balance. ‘Hail Science’ is presented as some weird Stephen Hawking type interlude.
The Faceless, like the aforementioned Between the Buried and Me, are changing musical preconceptions and challenging the listener. And we are fortunate for this form of delivery.
The most endearing element ‘Autotheism’ has in its favour is from the opening instrumental passage, the listener feels captivated and willing to buy into the sound. It’s this commitment and precision that gives studio album number three considered appeal. It’s heavy but equally widespread; drawing from an array of influences. Recommended.
1. Autotheist Movement I: Create
2. Autotheist Movement II: Emancipate
3. Autotheist Movement III: Deconsecrate
4. Accelerated Evolution
5. The Eidolon Reality
6. Ten Billion Years
7. Hail Science
8. Hymn Of Sanity
9. In Solitude