The Faceless - Planetary Duality review
|Release date:||November 2008|
01. Prison Born
02. The Ancient Covenant
03. Shape Shifters
04. Coldly Calculated Design
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.
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