Several years ago, The Faceless released their second effort, “Planetary Duality”; an album of forward thinking and precise death metal. Admittedly I missed the follow up “Akeldama” so am unaware of how much the band’s sound developed in that time; but comparing “Planetary Duality” to brand new album “Autotheism”, nothing could prepare me for the radical evolutionary jumps that these guys have made.
Here, so much more is incorporated into the band’s sound that it is near unrecognisable from the debut. Curveballs are thrown left, right and centre, pushing to this to Between The Buried And Me levels of insanity and vision. The first one is the addition of often haunting clean vocals (which are very reminiscent of Devin Townsend at times) to the arsenal, which add a whole new dimension to their sound. There are very frequent and unexpected changes in time signatures as well, and the inclusion of such unexpected instrumentation as saxophones and organs to string sections, clean guitars and even some industrial sounding synths at play. The amount of new tricks on display since the aforementioned debut is simply staggering.
The album is tied together by a semi concept which focuses on a man’s self discovery into an all powerful deity; which fits perfectly with the music. At times the music generates an air of tremendous power and strength, and others where it aptly expresses moments of deeper thought. The regular shifts in dynamic and tempo perfectly suiting the complex journey of the concept’s protagonist.
On their third album, and with some considerable line-up changes, The Faceless have attempted a really ambitious project to push their sound to whole new levels and fully capture the essence of this concept. Quite simply they have more than managed this with “Autotheism”; a tremendous effort.