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When given a band with the name, The Faceless, you could expect many different sounds as the name is pretty shocking. But, with this band, and this album in general, you will get a very different sound/vibe as opposed to djent and other technical death metal and deathcore bands that do the same stuff over and over again; odd time signatures, high tempo riffs, shreds in every song and, lastly, the annoying breakdowns that every band now-a-days can't live without. However, wiith this band, and this album, you are in for a serious mix of different metal sub-genres and a huge feel on Michael Keene's guitar influences and the other musicians that express their huge music talents.
The first song, "An Autopsy", is pretty much the song that gives you an idea on what to expect from the album and possibly the band itself. It reveals high tempo, odd time signatures, and very cool and complex riffs, pretty much your average techy metal song. The song starts off with the drums and sets you to a huge environment that leaves you hanging for more. As the vocals come in, you realize you're in for a serious ride on the album. Later in the song, and this goes for a few other songs in the album, you come across a breakdown that pretty much shows that the musicians in the group have deathcore influences, which gives some taste but doesn't really add to the song, as some listeners aren't really huge fans of breakdowns. The clean vocals that come in the second song, really show you that Keene might have Choir influences, and gives much taste and character to the album, and as well as the bands name and image. The keyboards that are played in this album show a lot of experimental ideas and again, adds much taste.
To clarify on the breakdowns that are expressed in the album, you shouldn't confuse the band as another deathcore rip off or another death metal rip off band, as there is absolutely nothing wrong either beautiful sub-genres. If anything, it gives this band a unique taste and outstanding ideas because they incorporate the breakdowns in a fashion that is consisted of technical time signatures itself. The vocals are very, somewhat "middy" as he uses a lot of his mid vocals and a lot of highs on the songs. Derek has a unique way of setting his vocals and a unique way on bringing himself in the songs. His vocals seem to be pretty brutal, and give similar vocal sounds from similar groups. His growls seem to be very "growly" in a way that gives you that old school death metal vibe, that is an exceptional plus on Rydquist's behalf. The guitars, aw yes, the guitars in this debut album show a LOT of technical structures and I emphasize that for a reason. When you listen to Keene's and Jone's back and forth riffs, you are left mind boggled, you are left amazed and you are left astonished and what these two amazing musicians are able to do, in terms of guitar structure ideas. The solos in the album are pretty jazzy and the drum recordings show that there may have been numerous drummers that recorded. But, despite the fact that the drums have been multiply recorded, the drum skills and the amazing ideas give a huge taste in the album. Sadly, the bass, which is barely heard, is quite average for a technical band, as the bassist doesn't really show off what he is capable of doing. The EQ of the bass quality is also, for some reason, reduced to a low output.
In conclusion, the production is descent and the album cover shows a strange appearance that shows a symbol of Jesus (?) But, in all words described, this album is a pretty good debut, and a big start for this band. My rating is not perfect, obviously, because of the sad facts that the production is not perfect and some flaws were present through out the album, but like said, this is an exceptionally awesome, epic, I have no other words to describe the excellency of the album. Give it a listen, and see for yourself what this band contains and what they can do.
There are so many technical metal bands out there doing the same shit over and over. It seems you can either go for endless shredding, blast beats and bland vocals for 10 songs and call it "technical death metal", or use Meshuggah's guitar tone and polyrhythms and taste for unconventional song structure and call it "djent". Both styles are oversaturated and not particularly interesting, with a handful of natural exceptions (Rings of Saturn and Viraemia for the former, After the Burial for the latter). However, amongst all this wanky Brain Drill-esque unoriginality and mediocre crap like Periphery lies The Faceless, a technical death metal band who have a talent for writing unique songs, with no repetition and lots of interesting ideas.
The first song, "An Autopsy", sets the tone for what the album contains, beginning with a brief drum intro and beginning with a technical riff. The vocals kick in, with some keyboards in the background. The keyboards can be one of the opinion dividers on this. On one hand you'll have people saying they set an atmosphere, on the other you'll have people saying they're cheesy and out-of place. I am the former. Without the keyboards, this album would be considerably less interesting. They do add a certain amount of character to the music, and yes, there are moments where you could do without them, but I want nitpick about a tiny bit of keyboard usage in the background of what is otherwise solid music. The technical riffs on this album are amazing, and the guitarists always use about three different riffs a song, each as wonderful and heavy and technical as the last. The solos on this album are expertly played, without being long winded and dragging on for ages or being too overly technical and wanky for the sake of showing off. The drums (recorded by about 4 different people) are very technical and well played, complimenting the technical riffs or the groove of the breakdowns.
Yes, there are a few breakdowns on here, always crushing, and don't wear out their welcome. Don't mistake this band for just another uninteresting deathcore band for their admittedly typical and cliché breakdowns. They're still a unique and original band, and the breakdowns seem to have been placed to show the band don't take themselves excessively seriously, unlike many other bands of this genre. One perfect example of their tasteful placement of breakdowns would be on Leica (perhaps one of my favourite songs of all-time), which has an extremely heavy breakdown with some very low growls. Speaking of the growls, the vocalist reminds me of Jason Keyser from Skinless, with harsher raspy screams to compliment his lows. A Cynic style vocoder introduces the title track, which from then on becomes an excellent instrumental, and a personal highlight.
Sadly, the bass is inaudible in all of this unless you really turn that bass up on your EQ and use good headphones/speakers, but even then it's little more than a tiny rumble under the guitars with nothing special that can be picked out, beyond a few selected intervals, especially in the title track. It's a shame we don't hear more of it, because i'm sure the bassist is just as talented as his bandmates and I wish the production would've been able to show it.
In conclusion, this is a 100% perfect album, despite the bass being mixed too low. A must-have for fans of interesting technical metal. For fans of Rings of Saturn, Necrophagist and Born of Osiris. If you're avoiding this band because you're convinced they're just another deathcore band based on their fanbase, logo, image or even elements of their sound, then have a proper listen and see just how wrong you are. (hint: very)
Highlights: Leica, Akeldama, An Autopsy, All Dark Graves
The Faceless are one of the brand new modern tech-death bands, and are typically aligned with bands like Born of Osiris, Beneath the Massacre, and Veil of Maya, just to name a few. The Faceless, however, are much farther ahead in their game than the other bands, as evidenced by their latest effort, "Planetary Duality", which has basically abandoned any correlation to the more melodic and semi-deathcore workings of this album. However, despite the obvious superioirity of the latter album, this album shouldn't be overlooked, and if you do, you're missing A HELL OF A LOT.
First of all, yeah, I guess this has a few elements of deathcore thrown into the mix, with deathcore breakdowns seeping into a couple of the songs. But when this is done, it is done in an artistic way, with solos and keyboards leading them along. The majority of the album is a cohesive mixture of technical death metal, melodic death metal, progressive metal, and at certain points, slam death metal (the album has several slam riffs placed throughout which are usually very fun). It's interesting how they don't put any of these elements up front, and instead have all of them seep into one another (with the exception of the handful of slam sections and the entirety of the title track, which is a progressive metal song).
Demon Carcass's vocals are phenominal. Unlike the newest album, black metal shreiks are a main vocal style as well as his brutal death grunts (he is definatly one of the best modern growlers). In addition, some instances show him doing a more gurgl-y approach to the growls, which sounds weird, but cool all the same. Michael Keene (guitarist) shares some vocals here as well, as he does on "Planetary", his vocals being the cleans on "Pestilence" and the vocoder on the title track (his vocoder, and to a lesser extent, his cleans, are both used much more on the latter album). Michael's guitar is well done as well, filled with variety and shred-ability. He's definatly a guitarist to be looking out for in the future! Also of note is the drummer, Nick Pierce, although he only drums on one of the songs (title track), he adds an interesting Portonoey-esque feel to the drums, and he get a kickass solo later in the song, which is rare these days.
All in all, while I'm more of a "Planetary" guy, "Akeldama" is still a solid work which should not be missed.
I’ll be honest here. When I first heard of The Faceless I was completely biased. I was witnessing an uprising of deathcore bands from left to right at such an overwhelming rate that I was wondering if death metal was safe anymore. The truth is, it isn’t in a social sense (look at Cryptopsy for goodness sake). Kids nowadays when asked about death metal are likely to praise such catastrophes as Abigail Williams, Bring Me the Horizon, Winds of Plague and Job for a Cowboy. These bands lack songwriting diversity, leaving their albums with monotonous, unmemorable tracks.
The Faceless is a band that has been wrongfully accused of jumping on the deathcore bandwagon, I think because they just happened to come out at the same time that these abominations were taking over Myspace and Purevolume. The Faceless have been thrown into the mix of deathcore bands though they show minimal hardcore influences. (A few short breakdowns here and there shouldn’t undermine this bands incredible talent.) I have listened to Akeldama and Planetary Duality and have been infatuated with the former as of recent.
The drums and guitar on Akeldama are definitely something to look (or listen) out for, though the album was recorded with four different drummers. The guitar melodies and solos are dramatic, memorable and seem fitting to the songs they’re placed in. The growling that their vocalist manages to belt out is very impressive, especially the higher-pitched screams that normally come as a shadow of the harsher vocals.
The highlights of the album are Leica and Akeldama. They are the longest tracks on the album and make me wish the others had extended. Leica has my favorite solo on the album, toward the end. It’s not extensive (the only bad thing about their solos), but played beautifully and closes the song very well. Both of these songs have greatness pouring out of them with every riff and even the bass has its moment in the spotlight in Akeldama! An instrumental is not something I normally get from a band like this, but I’ll take plenty more if I can get them at this quality.
All in all, this is a very good album. Don’t avoid this album like I did ignorantly, because of what you may have heard of read. The truth is that these guys are a real, technical death metal band with minor hardcore influences. I don’t think that they should be penalized for adding breakdowns in their music.
This reveiw was originally written for http://www.metalneverlies.com
Akeldama (2006) is a great debut effort from The Faceless. The Faceless plays a unique blend of technical Death Metal and Deathcore on this release, and they pull it off quite well. The members of this band have a lot of talent, and they know a thing or two about writing a good song, but they have plenty of room for improvement. Although this CD has a lot of moments that will leave you saying “Whoa, that was insane” or “Wow, that's really sweet,” it also has a handful of filler moments, which is disappointing.
The first track is called “An Autopsy.” You might expect some insane drumming and some crazy riffs, and that's exactly what you'll get. Unfortunately, this song has an unusually boring breakdown before the guitar solo. I have nothing against breakdowns: I think that they are great when used once in a while, but coming from a band with this much talent I just expected it to be a little more interesting. Oh well, the guitar solo is sick, so that makes up for it. Next is “Pestilence” which is my personally favorite track on this album. I like it because the lyrics fit really well, it has great song structure, the guitar solo is wicked, and it's brutal throughout. “All Dark Graves” is a fast-paced song with a unique sound. One part that stands out about this track is the soft break where you can hear fire crackling that gives off a good feeling that prepares you for some technical and sweet-sounding riffs that fill the second half of the song. The fourth and fifth tracks are for me, the low point of the Album. These tracks are fast, brutal, and technical like the rest, but they aren't too memorable.
“Leica” is another highlight. It's filled with mind-blowing and technical riffs, a fun keyboard solo, and ends with a skillful guitar solo. One thing which bugged me about this song is again a breakdown. This one happens directly after some pretty cool sound effects. It's pretty cool the first couple listens, but it gets pretty boring after that. Overall, “Leica” is a great song though. “Akeldama” - the title track – is a very impressive instrumental. It shows the band's progressive side, and it's very enjoyable. You'll have to listen for yourself. The album finishes out with one more track that returns to the band's main song style. This track doesn't stand out too much except for the bass – which is really cool.
When all is said and done, Akeldama (2006) is a solid album. Sure, it has some sections that can pass as filler, and the band has plenty of room for improvement, but this CD will give you plenty of enjoyable listens and will impress you at least a few times on it's first spin in your player.
The Faceless operate in a weird grey area somewhere between deathcore, progressive death metal, and a little post-metal, and against all odds it's pretty listenable. It really shouldn't be, given that description, but whatever, it all seems to work out.
The band bounces between roughly three modes: blast blasty growly parts, chuggy chuggy breakdown parts, and meedly meedly proggy parts. All of them are pretty good but the breakdowns are kind of unnecessary and really don't mesh with the rest of the fabric of the music; it's like they're put there so hardcore kids know that they're supposed to be enjoying it. The rest of the music is pretty bereft of metalcore clichÃ© (apart from ill-advised moments like the opening riff to 'Leica'), instead opting for the high road of prog-infused death metal. There's lots of strange time signatures and lead guitars that sound like a mixture of Dream Theater and Gorguts, but this is tempered somewhat by the more accessible, melodeath style melodies the band feels the need to periodically incorporate. I don't know, maybe they're just not daring enough.
The rest of it is pretty sweet though. When the band wants to grind, they can really grind, and they craft some fantastic tremolo riffs to go with the solidly performed high/low vocals. Drums are very tight and well performed, and as a technical study the album's pretty much bar none. There's a keyboard which pops up periodically to not much effect; the melodies are fairly predictable and while not really bad, they're just sort of an extra layer of noise while the guitars dominate. The guitars should dominate though; the craftsmanship that goes into the riffs and leads on the album is obvious and it's one of the few albums I can listen to where traditional prog style guitarwork doesn't irritate the shit out of me. The album is pretty varied really, perhaps a little too much so, since the band doesn't incorporate elements together as much as just staple sections of songs together from various styles of music. Each of the sections is well composed enough that I can forgive the Opeth syndrome though.
Overall, 'Akeldama' is pretty solid. I'm not sure why they had a period of such dramatic frenzy when the album came out; it's doing something kind of new but certainly not revolutionary, and it's not deserving of extreme praise nor ridiculous ire either. I give it a listen every once in a while since it's pretty short and angry enough that I don't feel gay when I need something of a prog fix. This is probably the first time I've ever said this, but they could probably do better without the breakdowns and overt metalcore elements and just concentrate on the mixture of spacey prog and blasting DM. But either way, it's cool enough to deserve a look from the average metalhead.
The Faceless are a technical death metal band that caught my interest recently. Having listened to their debut album, I can say that there were some genuinely awesome moments contained within. Unfortunately, there were a good deal of “this sucks” moments, mostly during breakdowns. Having listened to this album, I can say that I feel unfulfilled, empty, having gained nothing from my listening experience.
The first thing I noticed was the appearance of keyboards. Keyboards in extreme metal can occasionally be pulled off, sadly the keyboard parts on Akeldama feel out of place, and seem to be trying too hard to create atmosphere, with “All Dark Graves” being an example of forcing an almost forest-like atmosphere on the listener. It rarely works, however, and proves to be quite distracting.
The vocalist is also a mixed bag. One some occasions, he delivers his vocals in a powerful manner similar to Lord Worm of Cryptopsy. Other times, he uses a forced high that is all-to-similar to what many other deathcore bands are using now. He uses clean vocals in “Pestilence” that are well done. They remind me of clean vocals in Mastodon’s “Leviathan” album. Overall, he should stick to the low growl, and not use the high scream.
The other instrumentalists are extremely talented, however, they seem to-like so many tech-death bands these days-lack songwriting ability. Many of the riffs are simply unmemorable. The solos are high-quality, though, and there are many good guitar melodies to be found on this album. The bass is mixed very low in the album, which is a bit off-putting. The drums are good and technical, once again reminding me of Cryptopsy.
The most frustrating thing about this album is the fact that, so many times, The Faceless really have something good on their hands, only to throw it away with a core breakdown or otherwise mediocre section. Leica is a perfect example of this: It starts off promising, but at around three minutes, we are treated to a dull breakdown. Pity. An Autopsy is an song where the same thing happens-fast, killer beginning, core breakdown later. There is an instrumental on the album, the title track. Sadly, despite being the best song on the album, it falls short of greatness. The rest of the songs fall between mediocre to dull. The length of the songs also hurts the album-if the songs were shortened, they would be much easier to digest.
Overall, The Faceless have enormous potential on their hands. If they worked on their songwriting, ditched the core elements, and improved their keyboard parts (or simply eliminated them), they would have one hell of a death metal album. Sadly, they have made an album that barely makes the mark, but hopefully, the future will only improve The Faceless.
Standout tracks: Akeldama, Leica, An Autopsy
First things first people, The Faceless are not deathcore! They never have been and most probably never will be. Just because a bands fan base consists of obnoxious 14 year old scene kids, doesn't make them deathcore. Neither does what label a band is on, in this case Sumerian Records, a usually more -core based label. The Faceless much more resemble's Necrophagist and Beneath the Massacre than any As Blood Runs Black or Bring Me the Horizon clone.
The first thing listeners will notice is the amazing production this album has. It seems that's a standard for technical death metal, it all must sound perfectly mixed. The riffs are fucking amazing! The Faceless make riff writing seem easy as every song contains multiple riffs and not once do they sound the same or get boring. Take the track "All Dark Graves" for example; starts with a slow-paced one and then out of nowhere completely switches into this amazing sweep picking influenced riff. The song finishes with a "chug chug " type riff but even than it doesn't boring or generic. It has a really progressive feel to it. Jones and Keene are phenomenal guitarists as the riffs will show but can they solo? Fucking yes they can. Just listen to the solo at the end of Leica, if you say otherwise after hearing it than you're a moron. You get to hear tons of technicality going on as well from the many scales used to the extremely technical chord progression.
I was suprised to read that they used four different drummers to record this album. Knowning this you'd expect one of them to fuck up and ruin everything, but suprisingly this never happens. My favorite off the four would be Brett Batdorf for his amazing performance in "Lecia" I love the fills that he does and the amazing bass work. Another favorite of mine is his opening track "An Autopsy", one of the better drums in the scene today. He even makes the breakdowns seem interesting!
The keyboards are the next thing I shall talk about and holy shit! Whoever this guy is, he sure as hell knows what he's doing. Quite unusual for a band of this genre. The keys blend perfectly and create an atmosphere that most tech death bands can't even dream of having. At times the keys blend in with the melodic ness of the guitars and that creates an even stronger atmosphere. I love the way the keyboard is used as an intro to the solo on "Lecia". (even more reasons to hear that awesome solo) The title track "Akeldama" also contains some amazing synth work done by the keyboardist starting off with some weird Cynic like robotic vocals.
The vocalist while not being the most original out there has an amazing growl. It resemble's the typical Immolation influenced style, brutal and sorta understandable. When he switches up and performs highs they also sound great, definitely better than your typical growler in the scene.
If you're a fan of tech death and amazing keyboard work definitely check this band out, I know you wont be disappointed.
Assaulting the public with this debut, The Faceless is one of the newer bands of today who which to try and make it through the metal scene by trying something new as oppose to trying to be another generic death metal band doing to the same old thing. After listing to this album many times, I find myself intrigued every time by the music here.
The first thing you might notice is keyboardist. While it doesn't sound like he is playing very difficult stuff, the keyboards is key part to the formula. The atmosphere presented by the keyboard is expertly done. Throughout the album there are random string choirs blazing behind the guitars in not only more relenting parts of songs, as you would expect, but also on more technical fast pace parts in the same bizarre rhythm. You also hear some vague electronic keys played just to mix it up a little bit.
The guitars are amazingly technical and raw. There is much Necrophagist and Arsis worship going on here. You hear a lot of technicality going on in all the music, statistic rhythms, many scale runs, and complex chord progressions are some of the stuff you will experience in this album. There are also some more melodic parts that usually work alongside the keyboardist to create some more atmosphere in some of the songs. Unfortunately we hear some breakdowns that usually aren't need. At the same time, they don't sound terrible, they sometimes work well with the song. Its just that they are overplayed and you feel like you just want to skip it to the next song. I think its important to note the amazing harmonized solo at the end of Leica. Its really powerful.
The vocalist does a simple growl that really doesn't differentiate from the crowd which is alright but it gets pretty boring fast. There are a few times where you hear a shriek but not a lot.
The bassist is hidden under the guitars unfortunately, but we do here some really funky cool bass fills, like in the title song Akeldama. Th drumming sorta sounds dry on snare on tom, making you think he is just slamming on a tree but other than that, the actuall playing is top notch. The drummer easily stays along with the band during the crazy changes in rhythm and syncopated parts of some of the songs while playing some impressive death metal drumming.
Overall this is fine technical progressive deathcore offering and a solid debut. These guys are really passionate about playing something new and musically impressive and this album shows. I hope in their next album, they include the keyboardist more. It feels that while the keyboardist really improves the album already, that sometimes he is just sitting there waiting for half the song to play a few chords. Also less breakdowns! If you wants some new death metal and experimentation then this album is the answer.
Let me start off this review by stating that this band is fucking far from metalcore. (At least this album). Akeldama proved to me that this band is capable of much more than a breakdown here and a riff there. With highly experienced drumming, pick-sweeping guitar patterns, and prog-oriented keyboard and synth sounds, The Faceless shatter all previous conceptions of their style and intentions as a band.
The skull-breaking aggression of the drumming on this album makes it well worth a listen, even if only to hear the technicality and double-bass pedal ripping. The guitarists and various drummers on Akeldama have a flawless chemistry. Everything is aligned perfectly with everything else, and makes for an almost-necrophagist feel at times.
Jones and Keene are amazing guitarists. From the riffing to the sweep solos that fly all over the place, we see that they can handle much more than a shitty metalcore band would ever be able to. The progressive riffs, especially on All Dark Graves and the title track are done very well. They're no Martyr, but they do the job well enough to give this album a feel of prog/death.
The bass guitar and keyboards are both used well and are highly necessary for the musical element. We hear some nice scaling work from Giffin, and even a small bass solo on the instrumental title track. Sherer's synth and string sounds add even more to the atmosphere than would be expected from a debut album.
This album definitely shows us that The Faceless is headed toward a future in the world of Death Metal. All the elements are there, and the musical composition is next to flawless. The band states that the biggest influences on their music are bands such as Necrophagist and Extol. (Progressive and heavy all at once). I have to say that this band is very necessary in the metal "scene" of today. A band that can use breakdowns and traditional metalcore riffs to their advantage is something that metal is lacking these days.
In conclusion, I must say that this album is by far worth at least a listen by those not disturbed by previous conceptions of this band. Please try not to be a judgmental prick and shrug this album and this band off as being not worth the time. After hearing this album, your opinion of this band will change. I guarantee at least that.
Let me start off by saying that this band is far superior to The Black Dahlia Murder and sounds closer to Necrophagist with synthesizers and breakdowns.
I spoke with The Faceless' lead guitarist when I saw them in December '06 and he was a very nice fellow. I decided to check them out because I saw that they were opening for Necrophagist and I was pleasantly surprised by these newcomers.
This six-piece hailing from the hometown of [i]Encino Man[/i] play progressive, if not futuristic sounding death core. The influences they list are very impressive and certainly among death metal's elite. The most noticeable influence on their sound is probably Necrophagist. They have labeled themselves as technical metal which would be accurate if not for the constant guttural bellowing and the glaringly scene-influenced breakdowns which are interspersed throughout the album. While the breakdowns are present, they are good ones, so it doesn't detract from the music too much. The worst it got was when I first listened to it and said to myself, "Why did they put that there?" The music itself is highly technical and very powerful. The album displays some lovely guitar work and extremely experienced drumming. The vocalists are proficient at matching the intensity of the music. I hesitate to say they convey any emotion, because the vocals are somewhat monotone and the production on this album is extremely clean. At times the sound seems almost clinical. Thankfully, the songs vary enough to draw me in for repeat listens. This is definitely a highpoint. Clean vocals appear on the album in one instance, but are worthwhile and by no means whiney. Akeldama treats us to an instrumental song of the same name that features very prog sounding keys (and extremely effected vocals) and adds to the variation nicely. In this reviewer's humble opinion, this is deathcore done right. I just wish the album was longer. It's not perfect, but it's certainly an impressive debut. Give it a shot.
I was seriously surprised by this album. At sometimes, it can be intensely brutal, and the next, it can be menacing and evil sounding, and all sorts of catchy in-between.
I'd say they're fairly close to Black Dahlia Murder in sound, but with dashes of technicality thrown in. That Black Dahlia-esque sound must come from the variety of vocal-styles thrown in. They have growls, screeches, and even (in some cases), some falsettos (done in good taste, I may add).
The melodies, especially on my favorite track 'Pestilence' are quite catchy! Time changes galore, but not obnoxious. Also, the inclusion of a keyboard is quite unusual for this genre but is done quite tastefully. Although I'm not a big one for keyboarding, I think they pull off a unique sound/style while maintaining the brutalness of the genre's standards (it sounds, on a few of the songs, as though they're using more natural sounds and less cheese-techno synths).
I think this is probably one of the most promising American tech-death bands out there right now. Definitely worth a check-out if you're into tech-death or Black Dahlia Murder.