The Faceless | ‘Autotheism’
Like teachers in the common room talking about the star pupil and how they were bound to do well, it was always apparent that The Faceless would excel.
‘Planetary Duality’, their last album, vouchsafed as much. Indeed, as I said at the time, their hearts are totally in the music.
Given that they were only ever going to get better, it still comes as surprise just how class ‘Autotheism’ is.
The musicality they’ve developed is just a joy. The richness of the delivery, the brio of the guitar, the confidence with which they’ve learned to slow the music down and let their riffs breath is to be commended from the hilltops.
Take lead track ‘Emancipate’. It opens with an uncharacteristic riff more reminiscent of Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’ than anything else, before crashing in with some machinegun palm muting, quickety quick blasting and clean sung vocals that just kick complete and total ass.
That’s all very well. But the best part of this excellent track is the tastefulness and understated virtuosity of the guitar solo. Get it straight – this soloing is nothing short of superb.
So it’s surprising that when ‘Deconsecrate’ kicks in they’ve suddenly decided to turn into Annie Lennox or the Dresden Dolls or something, with a faux-gothic Tim Burton romp through some silly haunted house motif.
It would be decidedly career-ending were the blastbeats not there to scorch everything thirty seconds previous to them. It’s a track that has everything up to and including a saxaphone (cause everyone’s using one these days), and yet more of that fantastic lead guitar.
For all the slightly cringey lyrics in here, they’re at least sung in a brave dramatic style that’s a clear and welcome development for the band. In fact, contrasted with the cranium crushing tautness of their Origin strength blasting, it works well.
It really is an album worth owning. They’ve managed to fuse Nile’s filmic grandiosity with Death’s tasteful musical nous, via Cynic’s robo-vocal starriness and Decapitated’s pure death metal devotion. Not bad at all.
Fast, tight and waspish, while at the same time chock full of colour and not over laboured experimentation – a rare feat.
Granted, all of it mightn’t agree with you, but wouldnt you rather have a band pushing hard at their own envelope rather than running off the same identikit shite every year?
The quantum leap they’ve achieved between this one and the last means their next opus might redefine a new arc in death metal altogether. Who knows, when their sense of adventure seems so fresh.
Still, I’m sure the industry will sandblast the creativity out of them yet. Let’s hope not – enjoy albums like this while they last.
4.5 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 20/08/12