Recently, I read a book by Barry Schwartz called “The Paradox of Choice” which seems so relevant to the genre of music we are all involved with. With the existence of internet and expanding technology, music has become easier to share and much more accessible creating an unfortunate saturation. We may think of music as a buffer solution, but it is not. It’s only once in a while that a new band steps up that doesn’t mix in this solution. For me 2015 was VOLA and 2016 is Face The Maybe. I call these bands gems.
Face The Maybe is a 5-piece progressive metal band hailing from the Spanish city of Barcelona. The band recently self-released their 12-song sophomore album, “The Wanderer”, which definitely deserves a listening. After living in Spain for over half a year and realising that the country was mostly into metalcore and hardcore, I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular. However, I could not have been more wrong.
I miss the era of storytelling in music. In my opinion music has much more value when it tells a story; real, symbolic or fictional. “The Wanderer” is an album long story of a young man who runs away from his fears to rediscover himself on an island devoid of laws and morals, never imagining that he would anchor his condition to love and with it, the most human form of emotions, especially that of fury.
Opening track “0.086” starts with an orchestral introduction into the story; at this point it was a mystery I did not know what to expect from the album. The next song “All That I See” is when the story starts unfurling. Vocalist Tomás Cuñat López brings complete life into the song with his unique baritone vocals. His vocals were absolutely not what I was expecting for a progressive metal album but soon it became my favourite part. Talking about progressive music and new styles, Tomás definitely has his own personal style which gives not just an edge to the band but also more character into the narration of the entire story. Most importantly, his ability to transition from melodic to strong aggressive vocals is truly a wonder to experience. There are times on the album when you think the vocals are going to go a specific way but Tomás is always present to give you a surprise.
Like the story, the songs progress from a more light-hearted tone to a slow dramatic turn of events with every song getting heavier than the previous. While “All That I See” was a soft emotion ridden song, “Escape” is a more fast-paced song with some really catchy melodies. A lot of the guitars on this song remind me of the typical Mark Holcomb melodies on Periphery and Haunted Shores. Still, Sebastian Budding shows some incredible riffing and melodies on this song that only gets more dramatic and intense as the album progress along with Eimel Nisrain Trejo whose solos and incredible shredding take all to a new level. “The Island” displays some unexpected but absolutely brilliant shredding from the guitarist and this is when I think is the perfect time to introduce Joan Carles Marí, the drummer and backbone and skeletal support to the group. One of my favourite things about progressive music is to be able to see how creative drummers get and Joan is not just a drummer, he is an artist and the drum kit is his canvas. It’s not hard to tell how skilled and versatile he is from his work on this album.
“Island” is one of the strong songs on the album and one of the most progressive songs with some intricate drumming and technical guitars. “Seth” is where the album starts getting dark and heavy. Frederic Alexandre Torres the bassist and screaming vocalist begins to show his real presence from here. The combination of the two vocalists fit the rest of the course of the album fit like pieces of a puzzle and the bass solo locks in perfectly with Joan’s drumming showcasing more versatility from the band. Parts of this song remind me of Between The Buried and Me technical melodies and boy does it wake you up and sit up straight. Further up “Dagger” and “The Swan” are the heaviest and darkest songs on the album. At this point the band has narrated the story in the most artistic, stylish way with a whole flow of emotions in every song delivered perfectly through Frederic and Tomás’ vocals. Look for flaws and you will struggle. The album ends with the beautiful song “The Wanderer” and it leaves you feeling like you have really travelled through time with the narration of the story. The song and the album ends with an intense solo from Eimel definitely making you crave for more.
Face The Maybe is new, fresh and unique. While it has some parts that remind you of a beloved band and may sound familiar there are many moments that grab your full attention and leave you feeling a certain kind of comfort. Instead of the band playing it safe, they ventured out to capture different genres, techniques and styles. One of the best things about the band is you get to see every musicians individual style and personality through different parts of the song but at the same time they have a well-defined sound as a group on the whole. I think the album came right at the perfect time when I needed a new surprise and excitement and a band that could make me feel so many emotions at the same time.
I believe Face The Maybe is still a band that is in its infancy but have the ability and potential to be set at par with big names like Between The Buried And Me and Opeth if they continue to move further up the ladder.
– Srishti Das