The Faceless // Autotheism 
Rating: 3.0/5.0 — Truly living up to their name
Label: Sumerian
Release Dates: US: 08.14.2012 | EU: 2012.08.13
By: Professor D. Grover the XIIIth

The Faceless - AutotheismGreetings and salutations, friends. For those of you who do not know me, I am the Esteemed Professor D. Grover the XIIIth, former proprietor of The Number of the Blog. In my current studies and expeditions for Oculus Infernus Industries, I encountered a most odd group of men in a warmer coastal area. They possessed an immense degree of musical skill, but their faces were smooth and featureless, lacking in any sort of defining marks, and accordingly it seemed that they lacked a definite identity. The sounds that they generated seemed to change with the passage of time, as well, and the group seemed to be searching for a true persona.

Initially, their songs mimicked the popular deathcore sounds of their associates, incorporating a strong flair for technicality that underscored their particular gifts. In time, the deathcore elements receded, leaving a more muscular, progressive brand of technical death metal, and the results left the masses clamoring to hear the group’s song. However, there was an extended absence as the band searched, once again, to solve the riddle of their own faceless existence, and the absence served only to heighten anticipation for their return. Finally, after four years, these faceless men returned with a new identity, one that will likely prove to be schismatic for their faithful following.

These men without faces investigate the new age of science and the notion that man is his own god with their new collection of songs, and in doing so carry forth a number of the hallmarks of their sound. The non-Euclidean technicality that served as the backbone of their work is still the primary focus, gnarling the music like the blackened roots of ancient trees. The dextrous guitars are mirrored mostly by the bass and underscored by the drums, and the entire ensemble demonstrates a proficiency with their chosen instruments that verges on preternatural. It is as though those instruments are an extension of their own bodies.

The Faceless - 2012However, more than ever these faceless men seem to be desperately trying to derive an identity from those who influence them, and it leads to a somewhat scattershot collection of songs. The presence of clean singing is much more prevalent than before, recalling at times the modern bard Devin Townsend, and the music oft draws comparison to his work as well. There is also a proliferation of orchestral instrumentation, an element that mostly works within the confines of these songs, but serves to increase the sensation of clutter; that is to say, there is a lot of music crammed into forty minutes, and with so many different elements, the end result feels a bit unfocused.

Ultimately, the band’s return is a successful one, although it will most certainly provide to be divisive. The talent displayed by these men is undeniable, but the means by which they employ those talents suffers from a lack of direction. It seems that, in drawing influence from others, the group’s identity has become further obscured. It is my hope, then, that this particular exercise eventually helps these men define their faces and discover who they truly are.

Tagged with →  
Share →
  • Garksa

    Excellent to have you penning musical-related works again, Professor. When will Oculus Infernus return?

    Also, great review.

    • Many thanks. Oculus Infernus Industries have not shuttered their doors entirely, but are merely working in secret toward some mad end yet to be revealed.

  • Michael Imbornoni

    Thanks for not praising it like everybody and their mother seem to be. I really just don’t like this album. People call Necrophagist technical wankery, but then they hold this shit on a pedestal.

  • Uzi T

    I don’t dislike this album, it seems like the grower type and I’ll be sure to give it more than one chance, but one thing needs to be said: Akeldama was focused as f**k, no clutter no lack of direction, just bone shattering riffs & excellent melodies, and I can’t help but look back at that amazing release and think “what the hell happened”. Oh well, I guess the guys wanted some progression..

  • I seem to be in the minority here, but it’s probably my favourite album to date. I always thought of the transition between Akeldama and PD as the band finding their sound. With this release I feel they’ve evolved that sound and brought in fresh elements that compliment it nicely. They’ve also moved away from the minor Necrophagist syndrome I felt was present on a couple of earlier songs (cool solos juxtaposed by Diminished Arpeggio speed exercises).

  • i love this album, and honestly find what has been described like a “lack of direction” as a truly refreshing and exciting change of pace in the technical death metal genre… In particular i love the melodic openings and the Depeche Mode vibe of clean vocals. great album.