The Faceless - Autotheism review
|Release date:||August 2012|
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
Many people criticize Autotheism as being a departure from The Faceless's previous direction, hoping that the progression from Akeldama to Planetary Duality would yield a third album even heavier and more technical than its predecessors. Autotheism is certainly in a much different vein from the band's previous efforts, being more progressive than technical, but it represents their creative and musical height, drawing on multiple influences to form what seems to be the true sound of The Faceless.
Autotheism leads off with the "Autotheist Movement," a three-part odyssey that is easily the greatest thing Michael Keene has ever written. It begins with an eerie, atonal piano intro that segues into industrial-sounding percussion backed by strings. This in turn gives way to a most Gojira-esque riff, with the foreground leaping back and forth between Geoff Ficco's delicious growls and Keene's mean cleans. For his part, Keene has significantly advanced his singing abilities; he has come a long way from the thin, weak choruses of "Pestilence" to the powerful lead vocals on "Deconsecrate." "Create" flows seamlessly into "Emancipate," a blistering death metal song that incorporates crushing riffs, brutal growls, and ultimately a series of riffs so heavily influenced by Devin Townsend that it leaves no doubt as to the namesake of track four, "Accelerated Evolution." "Deconsecrate" completes the trilogy with Opeth-like interludes, haunting harmonies, and a mixture of strings and saxophone (courtesy of Sergio "Sexy Sax Man" Flores) that ultimately fades out with carnival keyboards.
The rest of the album largely follows suit, mixing mechanical percussion that gives the impression of a vast, abandoned factory with riffs and tones borrowed from the aforementioned Gojira, Devin Townsend, and Opeth, as well as Obscura, Death, Nine Inch Nails, Meshuggah, and anything Mike Patton has ever done. Strings are pervasive, providing a baroque backdrop to the abrasive brutality. Autotheism has an atmosphere that is cold, alien, and futuristic; one thing The Faceless did not abandon to their previous albums is the obsession with aliens and science fiction, which lends a familiar touch to the sound.
At this point in time, The Faceless had acquired a monumental amount of talent. Not only does Michael "Machine" Keene live up to his nickname when it comes to guitar, but Lyle Cooper is an outstanding drummer even by tech death standards, which makes him Sayeret Matkal of drumming. Evan Brewer is so exorbitantly, unfathomably skilled at bass that he makes the combined efforts of Cliff Burton, Steve Harris, and Geddy Lee sound like Sid Vicious. Wes Hauch is more than proficient at guitar as well, and Geoff Ficco's growls are satisfying and powerful.
Autotheism is vastly different from The Faceless's prior efforts, but it is an unexpected turn that yielded glorious results. This is not only the best album that The Faceless have released so far, it is one of the best albums that anyone has ever released. These 40 minutes and 56 seconds are teeming with unmatched genius.
|The Faceless have come a long way already over a career that hasn't even spanned them a decade, proving with each release their ever-evolving skill and maturation as composers. First there was 2006's Akeldama, a release that most everyone would regard as their worst due to its *gasp!* deathcorish elements. Then came 2008, and the band stepped up their game with Planetary Duality, moving further away from their deathcore roots and into some more promising tech death territory. That album brought hope for them to push the new sound even further, and now with 2012's Autotheism, those hopes have been met, the band even further transcending the foolish scene kid wanderings of their past in the process.
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