without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
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