The Faceless – Autotheism Review

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.

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