THE FACELESS - Autotheism [Review]

Release date: August 14th, 2012
Genre: Technical death metal
Label: Sumerian Records
Rating: 10/10
Reviewer: Karim Tarek

For almost all music reviewers, there come some moments when they feel a strong urge to write about a certain album right after they listen to it. Sometimes it’s because the album is such a disappointment from an old reputable big band after a long wait, or because it’s a masterpiece from a newborn band that is still obscure and unknown to most of the fans out there that the reviewer feels that it’s a duty to promote them through a writing about their album, or even maybe because it’s an album that comes out from one of those bands that the reviewer has grown up to... Sometimes, it’s just because the album is simply too good, which is the case with The Faceless’ latest outcome, Autotheism!

Hailing from Encino, California, The Faceless is widely considered as one of the United States, and even the globe’s, best Technical Death Metal bands. They have been soaring their own way up to the top international ranks of Technical Death Metal bands since the release of their debut studio album “Akeldama” that came out in 2006, and it has been their ultimate breakthrough when they released their critically acclaimed gem entitled “Planetary Duality” in 2008. It was an exemplary pure Technical Death Metal album that showed a lot of what The Faceless have got up their sleeves, and placed them in a well-deserved stature among the greatest Technical Death Metal bands at the time.

Recently, they released their third studio album, entitled “Autotheism.” It naturally follows the band’s lyrical themes; mainly bringing up topics that are related to science fiction and astrology. Furthermore, it’s relatively similar to its 2008 precedent, a point which I see positive as it defines a distinct and unique shape to The Faceless’ music. I mean, when you’re listening to random Metal songs on the radio, you can only determine by ear the artists that have their own unique musical characters even if you’re not even familiar with the songs, and that exactly is what The Faceless have been doing; they have been developing a strong and peculiar musical character.

On “Autotheism”, they continue to deliver their face-pummeling brutal tunes, along with their sinister technical riffs, backed up with their trademark intense yet really fast blast beat drumming, and adorned with crafty atmospheric keyboarding. This time, with even more musical variation than that of “Planetary Duality.” On “Autotheism” they managed to increase the amount AND the quality of Michael Keene’s clean vocals throughout the whole album, as well as add up moments on the album when acoustic guitars kick in, in addition to a little vintage and really harmonic Jazz moments on the song “Deconsecrate”.

Furthermore, guitar solos on “Autotheism” came really well-done and remarkably disparate; you could find short solos, long ones, fast ones, slow ones, ones with lots of tapping…etc all over the 40-minute album. You wouldn’t possibly notice the departure of the band’s original guitarist, Steve Jones, who participated in their first two studio albums, as his replacement, Wes Hauch, does a great job fitting in musically and adding his very own touches. It’s safe to say that all band members in The Faceless fit together, considering how harmonious and very consistent the band sounds, keeping in mind that they play a very complex genre that mixes a whole lot of elements together and naturally requires very talented and creative musicians. The Faceless certainly deserves a full grade on that one.

Overall, through “Autotheism,” The Faceless have successfully proven that they particularly earn their stature as one of the top ranked Technical Death Metal bands of our time, displaying top-notch musicianship and musical genius at a genre that not any band around there can just plug their instruments and play. They totally, and with no bias, deserve a full grade on such a gem. It is highly recommended to all avid Death Metallers out there.

Highlights: Autotheist Movement III: Deconsecrate, The Eidolon Reality, Autotheist Movement II: Emancipate.

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