Brutal and technical death metal...seems like we are hearing quite a lot of that term lately. With bands such as Nile, Psycroptic, Necrophagist, Decrepit Birth, Deeds of Flesh, Origin, Beneath the Massacre, and Spawn of Possession (among many others) capturing the attention of the extreme metal faithful, it's no doubt that many other bands will pop out of the woodwork and explore this complex style. The Faceless are another such act, following up their strong release Akeldama with the brand new Planetary Duality. The band has shown here that they mean business, as this new one, out now on Sumerian Records, is one hell of a blistering affair, 32 minutes of mind-numbing technical death metal, brutal as humanly possible, yet surprisingly melodic and progressive in spots.
Kicking off with the sledgehammer "Prison Born", which is just under two minutes of manic blasting, intricate riffs, and monstrous growls, the band goes for the juggular right off the bat. Interesting use of vocoder vocals from guitarist Michael Keene, who trades off here with main growler Derek "Demon Carcass" Rydquist, giving this song a futuristic feel, an element they use on a few tunes actually. "The Ancient Covenant" almost reminds of Meshuggah in spots, intense drum work courtesy of Lyle Cooper playing off the acrobatic guitars of Keene & Steve Jones (who both plop in some jaw dropping jazzy solos for good measure). After the short, proggy instrumental "Shape Shifter" (featuring some stunning keyboards), the band rips back in with "Coldly Calculated Design", an evil slice of complex death metal, crushing riffs, growls, and blast beats flying about the mix. The vocoder vocals also make a return appearance here as well. The band delivers some truly progressive extreme metal on "XenoChrist", a tune that features some of the wildest guitar playing on the CD, metal, jazz, & prog solos, staccato riffing, as well as some impossibly intricate drum work. "Sons of Belial" combines melodic vocals with the growls, and much of the arrangements here border on black metal at times, especially the drums, a pace that continues on the brutal "Legion of the Serpent". This one is simply sick from an instrumental standpoint. Love how they drop in a little 'jazz/prog' interlude right in the middle of all the insanity...brilliant. The two-part title track closes out the CD, the first a crushing instrumental (save for some voice overs), and the finale is "chase the neighbors away" styled death metal, a punishing piece that, despite the brutality, is quite melodic in spots.
Props to The Faceless for delivering one of 2008's more unique sounding extreme metal platters. I'm still not sold on the whole 'vocoder' thing, but you have to admit, it does give this band a certain futuristic vibe. Musically speaking, these guys are into some seriously complex death metal, and the way they throw in some wild jazzy & prog bits, a few melodic vocals here and there, makes the whole package quite stunning. I'm deducting a point for the brevity of CD, as it would have been nice to have another song or two, considering that two of these pieces are a minute and change, but don't let that stop you from checking out a real killer release. My guess is their next offering will be the one that sets the world on fire.
1. Prison Born 01:59
2. The Ancient Covenant 04:02
3. Shape Shifters 00:44
4. Coldly Calculated Design 03:41
5. Xeno Christ 05:01
6. Sons of Belial 04:46
7. Legion of the Serpent 04:27
8. Planetary Duality I : Hideous Revelation 01:34
9. Planetary Duality II : A Prophecies Fruition 05:28