The Faceless

Planetary Duality

Written by: AP on 30/12/2008 15:24:25

The Faceless is the brainchild of guitarist Michael "Machine" Keene, who reasons that if it no longer suffices to play fast, the solution must be to play even faster. So fast, that the undersigned had to listen to the opening riff of "Prison Born" multiple times before admitting that yes, that sound did, in fact, come from shredding on an electric guitar rather than a chainsaw cutting through thick wood, and that he has earned every letter of his pseudonym. "Planetary Duality" comes to a time where deathcore is outpacing death metal, yet despite the fact that everything about this band indicates that they belong in that pack, The Faceless have taken care not to blend in.

Yes, the production is clean, and lo and behold, there are some clean vocals here and there, but "Planetary Duality", like it or not, is first and utmost a technical death metal album and a very good one at that. It puts a smile on my face to know that hardcore poster boys with clean haircuts and death metal t-shirts can pull this off better than most grizzly metal dudes who are true to the cause, so to say, and honestly, who gives a fuck if their lifestyles don't reflect the music they make when it's this good. Keene's virtuosity in not only shredding the shit out of his axe, but in song-writing, too, keeps things interesting throughout. The sci-fi context in particular is a welcome change to the usual death and gore imagery bands of this kind like to play with, and although the robotic voice that occasionally interrupts the vocalist's guttural growl sounds strange, it never sounds out of place. In fact, it's these playful elements á la Between The Buried And Me together with the progressive aspects familiar to fans of Cynic that lift The Faceless from the host of other bands of this type to be shepherds rather than sheep.

Through sci-fi imagery, state-of-the-art production, clever use of melody, and an underlying progressive drive, The Faceless have been able to create an ultra-modern album which is far more accessible than is the norm in the genre. Unlike many deathcore aspirants, "Planetary Duality" isn't instantly forgettable: it's both extreme and beautiful without ever compromising the unwritten rules of the genre. Although the band's influences are obvious, they play into The Faceless' own tricks as inspiration, not as borrowed elements from those bands. "Planetary Duality" sees the best aspects of deathcore and death metal unite in a feat of stunning musicianship that, if anything, should bring the two camps closer to each other.

Download: Coldly Calculated Design, XenoChrist, Legion of the Serpent

For the fans of: Between The Buried And Me, Cynic, Necrophagist, Nile

Listen: Myspace

Release date 11.11.2008

Sumerian / Lifeforce

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