Formed in 2004, California natives The Faceless were the first band to ever be signed by Sumerian Records in 2006. 6 years later, they have achieved legendary status on the Technical Death Metal front and continue to push the boundaries of music. Mixing strong creativity, which often ventures into strange territories, with extreme talent, The Faceless are a force to be reckoned with.
There have been several line up changes since 2008’s “Planetary Duality” which have pushed the bands potential ever further in my opinion. Michael Keene (The Keene Machine) and Lyle Cooper have joined forces with the ridiculously talented bassist Evan Brewer (ex-Animosity/Reflux also with incredible solo work) and the clean shredding Wes Hauch. Also, I must say the new vocalist Geoffery Ficco has improved greatly in the past year since the pre-production release of “Eidolon Reality”.
With all the delays and changes over the past 4 years, anticipation for a new album from The Faceless has reached monumental levels for many. Earlier this week, it FINALLY arrived on store shelves and the internet. But did it live up to all the hype? Does the new Faceless album “Autotheism” meet expectations or crush them?
Objectively, I have to say this is a solid album but it will likely disappoint many, especially the camp of death metal elitists. The Faceless definitely still sound like The Faceless except for one huge difference… The amount of time Michael Keene spends singing has multiplied many times over. If I’m not mistaken, “Hymn of Sanity” is the only song on the album without clean vocals. I personally think the singing is incredible and well crafted, others may not agree in favor of more growls and screams. Parts of this album also feel more experimental than previous releases from The Faceless which shows both growth in the band and the influence of new members. Although, Michael Keene still did the lions share of the initial writing.
(All the full songs from this album that have been put up so far have been taken down. So I added the newest preview clips featuring parts of the album opener “Autotheism”. This is subject to change.)
As to be expected, all the instrumentation is top notch and every song has something to offer. The album opener is especially interesting. It kicks off with the three movements of the expansive title track “Autotheism”. The movements span across 18 minutes with musical goodness, solid writing, creativity, and theatrical flare. As hinted earlier, there are a fair share of strange moments on this album that will probably throw some people off. But hey, it’s The Faceless. The movements of “Autotheism” are a great example. An evil chorus of crying babies and circus style music are both in the album opener along with a saxophone solo and the use of female clean vocals and a vocoder (that ones nothing new for The Faceless). There are also parts of this album that just sound huge such as “Accelerated Evolution” and “Ten Billion Years”. One of my personal favorites is “Eidolon Reality” which has actually been out for awhile, but several changes have been made since. The song structure is somewhat simple for The Faceless but the writing itself is mind blowing. The albums end “In Solitude” is another standout track with it’s use of acoustic guitars and well written progressions. It was definitely a good way to end this unique release from The Faceless.
Overall, I would certainly recommend this album to people who enjoy technical music and those who wanna hear something heavy, fresh, and interesting. If you’re into creativity and musical goodness, you should check this album out.