It's often said that it was a lack of diversity (and well, grunge) that brought about the initial downfall of death metal. Given its current stalled growth cycle, the much hyped deathcore movement is presently facing the same certain creative extinction. Surprising it is then that a band like The Faceless can come along and use the much maligned genre du jour as a basic starting point and successfully make it interesting for once.
Of course, while The Faceless remain more of a technical death metal outfit than anything else, it's hard to deny that there's a bit of beefy metalcore menace hidden underneath the multiple layers of shred found here. Aside from being rather skilled musicians though, The Faceless manage to succeed by doing something so many of their peers seem incapable of these days - take chances.
It could easily be argued that the sweeping prog riffery and obtuse song structures on display here aren't all that removed from the likes of Opeth, Cynic or hell, even Dream Theater. But through a well balanced combination of vocoder, piano, melodic vocals and more, the group have skillfully combined a wholly impressive display of colorful genre tinges and depth with an intimidating amount of brutish aural punishment. Adding to this is the bands stern focus on each songs core which allows the tracks to retain an identity throughout the occasional superfluous part change.
Basically, each track remains heavy and varied enough, even with the added extra color, to keep the listener thoroughly entertained. Sure it's admittedly too brainy for the average meathead metal fan and the drums sound suspiciously programmed at times. While we're at it the production could also stand to have a bit more range as well. But these shortcomings are easily overlooked for the most part and are readily forgivable when met with not only the instrumental proficiency on display here, but the attention paid to dynamic songwriting as well.
(4 / 5)