The Faceless - Planetary Duality review

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Band: The Faceless
Album: Planetary Duality
Release date: November 2008

01. Prison Born
02. The Ancient Covenant
03. Shape Shifters
04. Coldly Calculated Design
05. Xenochrist
06. Sons Of Belial
07. Legion Of The Serpent
08. Planetary Duality I (Hideous Revelation)
09. Planetary Duality II (A Prophecies Fruition)

The Faceless debuted with Akeldama a few years back. A tough album to classify, it combined technicality, brutality, some occasional melody, along with some deathcore-ish moments and keyboards. Overall it was a good album and showed the band at least trying to be unique amongst a sea of new "br00tal" bands, and even if the mixture of sounds didn't always work the best, it showed a lot of promise. On Planetary Duality, we see The Faceless losing the keyboards and deathcore-ish leanings and starting to realize some of the promise Akeldama showed, putting out a very solid album in the process.

The Faceless have no shortage of talent. The vocals are powerful, and while they remain on the lower end of the spectrum, there is enough variance to keep them from becoming boring and monotone. The rhythm section is very good, with each member having moments where they step forward and remind you that they are more than adequate. The real standout of the band though is Michael Keene, who handles lead guitars and does an exceptional job. His leads here are somewhat jazzy and "pretty" and sound a bit... spacey to me (for lack of a better word) and at first may seem a little out of place on such a brutal album, but with the album's theme focusing on aliens and space, I find they actually work quite well. Keene also contributes some clean vocals and some vocals done with a vocoder, but fear not, as the band knows how to use them in moderation, and they are never an overbearing element of the songs.

The Faceless have managed to write a collection of fairly memorable tracks. While all of them are of the tech-death variety, each song contains a section that makes it stand out from the other tracks on the album. "The Ancient Covenant" contains a section of hyper speed blasting that turns into an oddly timed start-stop rhythm underneath one of Keene's many great solos. "Coldly Calculated Design" displays a frantic, almost panicked sounding riff. On "Xenochrist," we hear a hint of black metal influence not far into the song, but it quickly fades away. "Legion of the Serpent" starts off similar to rest of the album, but after a short pause with some acoustic-y guitars, it takes off with a cold, somewhat blackened melodic sound.

On the downside, the album is pretty short, coming in just over 30 minutes long, and 2 of the tracks on it are short instrumentals that are there mainly for atmospheric effect.

The production on Planetary Duality is pretty good. The bass is buried a little bit, although that seems a fairly common thing, and some will complain about the drum sound when it's at full speed, but I don't find that it takes anything away from the album.

All in all, Planetary Duality is an excellent album, especially considering how young the band is. The Faceless have managed to write some very technical, powerful music without becoming a frenzied blur, all the while remaining pretty memorable, something it seems many tech-death bands struggle to do. If The Faceless keeps improving like this, perhaps we may see their names alongside some of the tech-death greats in the future.

Written by -Morbid- | 18.05.2009


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 5   Visited by: 187 users
16.06.2009 - 18:22
While Michael Keene's guitar work is good, I still think the high point of this album is the drum parts.

On top of that, there's a fair amount of vocoder on this album given it's genre and length. When it is used, however, it does not provide melody, it only makes a really thick robot-sounding voice. The clean vocal part of "Coldly Calculated Design" doesn't even sound like it has vocoder on it, though.

I agree with most of the things you said in the review, but I don't think it was all that well written.
17.06.2009 - 01:06
@ munson:

I felt there was just enough vocoder use to make it part of the album, but not enough to make it a really prominent part of the music, if that makes any sense.

Thanks for the feedback. It's my first review, and after reading it over once or twice after it was posted, I agree I didn't write it very well.
15.08.2010 - 19:18
This album made me go to sleep, its like coffee house music not metal at all just total crap, live they are worse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
13.12.2010 - 03:37
...sorry, I can't get into this band... seen them too many times opening for other bands and I'm really tired of their annoying emo audience...
Here in Minnesota we have so many of these bands and I'm sick of 'em all.

ever time I see a Faceless posting I feel inclined to bitch...
Old enough to be your Daddy... speaking of which... you look familiar... do I know your mother???
01.05.2011 - 14:39
It's too technical, too many start-stops. Just gets boring... I can really hear that these guys have talent, and I hope that their 2011 release can entice me; this record is one I probably won't spin again.

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