The Faceless
Planetary Duality

Though I was very impressed with this young act’s debut, Akeldama back in 2006, my recent experience of them at this year’s Summer Slaughter, and exposure to their new material left me somewhat unimpressed. Whether it was the lack of full time keyboard player, the more experimental material, or just an off night in a bad sound venue, I came away expecting Planetary Duality to not be as good as the debut.

I was wrong.

Fully shedding any sort of deathcore stigma, The Faceless have delivered a tech death album that with its Sci-Fi themes and programming as well as use of robotic/vocoder vocals and clean vocals imbues ghosts of Cynic and Nocturnus and stands toe to toe with this years stellar tech death releases, though I’m sure most die hard death metal fans will still approach with caution due to the bands age and looks.

And that would be a crying shame as technically, this lot are as skilled as anyone in tech death right now, obviously learning from their stints with Necrophagist, Decrepit Birth and such and honing their skill as well as their ability to take this skills and craft complex, cerebral but brutal death metal that’s less chaotic and random than the powerful but ADD riddled debut. No breakdowns, no At The Gates galloping, just forceful, intricate and superbly played technical death metal.

However, I have a couple of minor gripes; again, the album hovers around thirty minutes, and I’ll admit the clean crooning of guitarist Michael Keene (who is also responsible for and excellent production job) that surface on a couple of tracks (“Coldly Calculated Design”, “Sons of Belial”, “Planetary Duality II : A Prophecies Fruition”) are pretty forced and unnecessary, almost derailing otherwise brilliant performances and song writing. However, sheer force and technical savagery of “Prison Born”, “The Ancient Ceremony”, “Xeno Christ”,and even the melodic/Sci-fi circus throes of “Legion of the Serpent” with their slight injections of Sci Fi synths and oppressive complexity far outweigh those moments making for a top notch album from a fast rising young band with a very bright future.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
November 26th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: Cory

    This album is fucking amazing. ‘Nuff said.


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    Loved Akeldama, def gonna check this out.


  3. Commented by: Red

    This really is a good album and a great follow up to their debut, though Erik is right about the clean vocals. While they’re not bad enough to ruin the record as a whole, they are cringe inducing and make me think of the clean vocals on Cryptopsy’s latest.


  4. Commented by: sandwiches

    Ha ha ya the clean vocals are pretty terrible but overall this cd fucking riiiiips


  5. Commented by: Staylow

    I likewise was left unimpressed with their showing at Summer Slaughter, and I didn’t care for the debut, but I may have to check this out.

    You don’t like the sound at Pop’s Erik? I have seen a couple shows there that had bad sound overall, but I’ve seen the bulk of my shows there (probably around 20) and haven’t been able to complain much.


  6. Commented by: Rev

    Do all these tech-death bands just pick their album covers from a pool of leftover CG scraps, or what?

    The Faceless, indeed.


  7. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    Staylow-Pops is usually good, but that night The Faceless wsounded terrible–jsut an off night cos they sounded much better on SOTU a few years ago at the same venue-plus the sci fi synths and noodling didnt come across very well live-very sloppy


  8. Commented by: swampthang

    ridiculous fucking ridiculous, love this band sooo much.


  9. Commented by: axiom

    I gotta hear this. I just watched the 2007 summer slaughter DVD, and thought these guys were one of the best bands on it.


  10. Commented by: goremageddon4

    I saw them at Summer Slaughter this year, and they didn’t miss a beat. One of the tightest bands of the night. Maybe when you saw them a few years back, they just weren’t as used to the material?


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