The Faceless: Autotheism
21/09/12 || jaimeviejo
Sometimes, you listen to an album and you like the music. Sometimes you hate it but the mood sets you in and keeps you listening; some others, like “Autotheism”, you love the music, but at the same time, there are some parts, that even when they are great, make you cringe somehow because of the obvious similarities to other bands. The Faceless is right now faceless, struggling with an identity crisis; it seems like they don’t really know if they should be a technical death metal band, or a progressive one, but the funny thing about this album is that The Faceless can pull both and still keep their identity intact.
We can not really talk about The Faceless as a band without mentioning the mastermind behind this project, Michael Keene; his guitar skills are without a doubt one of the best in the genre, but the more surprising thing about this album is his ability to sing in a Michael Åkelfeldt from Opeth style, adding more moody sections and variety to the already busy music. Besides that and the again Opeth and Between The Buried and Me-like instrumental sections and lyrics (“God is dead”…really? again?) , the album manages to keep you listening through a roller-coaster of emotions, riffs and amazing vocals. The other members of the band are skilled, and perfectly fit, but they don’t really shine, and that’s a shame knowing in advance that Keene had recruited Evan Brewer on bass as a full time member of the band. The bass is not really as audible as it should be knowing the man behind the fretboard, but hopefully in the next album Brewer will be more up front in the mix because he’s one of the most talented and versatile musicians out there. Geoffrey Ficco on vocals, does a great impersonation of Demon Carcass but without the high pitch vocals, Wes Hauch could be Keene’s twin brother on guitar, and we all know Lyle Cooper, so here is business as usual.
The album is short, almost Forty-one minutes, and thats a good thing; in some metal genres it is very difficult for a band to be able to entertain for more than thirty minutes, but “Autotheism” flows easily. The first part of the album is more progressive, melodic, and varied, and seems to be based around the first four songs which are also the best; in these four songs we hear The Faceless experimenting with melody and atmospheres while maintaining the heavy frantic guitar parts. “Accelerated Evolution” is one of the highlights of the album, a beast of a song, epic, heavy and full of feeling during the chorus where Keene sings: “Don’t be afraid to collapse into yourself!”, while the drums are playing a groovy syncopated pattern. There are a lot of memorable moments throughout these songs like the whole “Movement I” or the solo at the end of “Emancipate”.
The second part of the album, beginning with “The Eidolon Reality”, is the most brutal but still melodic of the two; “Eidolon” and “Hymn of Sanity” are beasts, typical take-no-prisioners-faceless songs that could have been included in “Planetary Duality”; in fact, most of this album could have been included in “Planetary Duality”, actually, this album is a more proggy and varied “Planetary Duality”. While in that album we had “Planetary Duality I” as a song conductor of the story, which was an amazing interlude-song that was heavy, creepy and fun, here we have “Hail Science” that serves the same purpose, but it seems a little bit out of place and silly.
“Autotheism” feels a little bit disappointing. It took too long in a music genre that is constantly changing, mutating and spreading incredibly fast. It is sad to think that if this album would had been released two years after “Planetary Duality” it would have been now added to the list of metal masterpieces or to the best of albums of the decade, but today, this album is just a fun, highly recommended, heavy, melodic and progressive death metal album.
- Released: 2012
- Label: Sumerian Records
- Website: The Faceless MySpace
- Geoffrey Ficco: vocals
- Michael Keene: guitars, vocals
- Wes Hauch: guitars
- Evan Brewer : bass
- Lyle Cooper: drums
- 01. Autotheist Movement I: Create
- 02. Autotheist Movement II: Emancipate
- 03. Autotheist Movement III: Deconsecrate
- 04. Accelerated Evolution
- 05. The Eidolon Reality
- 06. Ten Billion Years
- 07. Hail Science
- 08. Hymn of Sanity
- 09. In Solitude