Autotheism review by The Faceless

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  • Released: Aug 14, 2012
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.1 (68 votes)
The Faceless: Autotheism

Sound — 9
The Faceless are one of those bands where the first impression is largely decided on who the fans are. Being signed to Sumerian, you'd expect a band full of tosh about how "important" their new and improved breakdown formula is (when it's just the same chord moved from a 6 string to an 8 string) and how "the punk scene is different from the metal scene" and all that media spin. The Faceless seem to be the most out of place band on their roster. Here is a band expanding and improving the reputation of all metal being lumped along the likes of Asking Alexandria and Upon A Burning Body, two bands who know they're cash cows and are enjoying it. Initially I thought The Faceless to be along this sort of vein of mediocrity with some technical riffing, but their first album isn't much to go on. "Planetary Duality" on the other hand, the second album, is a marked increase in progression, while nothing completely innovative, there was a lot to defining their sound, including synths, alien atmospherics, infrequent but incredibly unorthodox and beautifully written clean vocals and an absence of generic breakdowns (instead, there's just lots of lovely drumming half time). "Autotheism" is sort of like, what happens when we really let the musical juice flow? Not just in snippets and titbits, but in full force? To make it kind of clearer, there's a hell of a lot of melody going on here, ranging from the somewhat familiar and approachable sounds of "Create" and halfway into "Ten Billion Years" to the jazzy and overall beautiful sounds of "Eidolon Reality" and "Emancipate", which I should add, is a song heavily influenced by Devin Townsend's "Deconstruction", especially the melodies. In fact, one of the very noticeable features of "Autotheism" is an inclusion of a somewhat tried-and-tested approach to "progness" in extreme metal: "Deconsecrate" has a sort of galactic carnival approach to many of the bridges and heavy use of saxophone, (and speaking of Devin Townsend) "Accelerated Evolution" appears to be influenced by Wintersun and Cynic in terms of riff writing (tremolo picking heaven) but still retaining that uniquely unorthodox Michael Keene harmony and overall there's more focus on juxtaposing clean bridges, breaks and intros next to grinding blast beats and diverse harsh vocals. And another thing, I doubt that there are many guitarists able to compare to Keene's lead guitar writing. Technicality and actual performance, there's better, but very few could top those leads, they sound as close to perfect as possible.

Lyrics — 9
Autotheism is a term I'm not familiar with, but if the song names are anything to go by then we're dealing with some sciencey sh-t. It's as expected, but this band actually has a song called "Hail Science" and take this thing seriously, leaving me to understand that I should put more effort into the lyrics section this time round, but moving on. Technical bands in general seem to generate pure awesomeness simply by firing a member that can be easily replaced and getting a new one. The Faceless might not be aware of this made-up-on-the-spot theory, but it does show: Removing the second guitarist, bassist and vocalist has opened the door that leads from stewing in technical death metal mediocrity to a major force in the scene. The new vocalist is perhaps the most notable addition, if not by much, but bear with me (again). The previous vocalist sounded much like your typical "deathcore screamy growly" type, but this new guy is more in line with the vocals of Christian Alvestam, Nathan Explosion (yeah I know, cartoon character, but the guys got chops) and Trevor Strnad (is it really Strnad?). The other side of the vocals (which are now much much much more prominent this album) are by lead guitarist and overall mastermind Michael Keene. At first, his vocals didn't impact quite as well as they could have when I first heard them (Eidolon Reality demo from last year), but it doesn't take long for them to grow, and like his lead playing, are expertly written. There's something really charismatic in his voice, and although his range isn't greatly explored, the musical ideas put alongside fuse fantastically and also, dat vibrato.

Overall Impression — 10
Really, the only bad thing to say is that this album is too short. There's the ending before the beginning, but anyway: There's little else in terms of music (not just metal, but music) that really jumps out with this level of writing. Sure, there are far more "brutalist and deathiest of all the shiny metals" sort of bands (Origin, Brain Drill), but The Faceless have found this niche where their music is heavy enough to be TDM but with enough progression in their music to place them in the crowd of fans of Opeth, Cynic and Dream Theater (if you don't mind crushing blast beats and death growls). This album makes you feel amazing. Songs to look out for: All of them, but highlights are "Emancipate", "Deconsecrate", "Eidolon Reality", "In Solitude".

45 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The Spoon
    So that's what it looks like when EpiExplorer likes something. Lol, the review was pretty good though, eloquently written and not too biased in either direction. I didn't think this album would cause such a stir amongst fans. Maybe I just don't pay attention to fans of this band that much, but for some reason I thought most people already loved Keene's vocals. He's definitely improved. The new frontman sounds pretty good as well.
    I've listened to this album like 4 times now, Michael Keene is amazing. Truly an album I'll buy a physical copy of, just to have it in my hands.
    Stagg 'n Guvnor
    I actually felt their first vocalist (Derek Rydquist) was a little bit more powerful, I preferred him. The new guy is fantastic, don't get me wrong, but I think this review painted Derek out as a poor singer. Other than that it was a pleasure to read!
    Heard it today for the first time (also first time checking the band) and I already think it's lovely and that I'll have a lot to milk out of it. Sounds like a more brutal Watershed at times. Really good review, a lot better than what you usually see on this site.
    Am I the only one who thought Planetary Duality was better than Akeldama? (sry for bad english)
    No, you're not. PD shits all over Akeldama. It's bt far and away their best album. I can't believe all the good reviews I'm reading for this new album. It's total crap.
    Saying this album is "total crap" because it doesn't sound like Akeldama or Planetary Duality (I'm a big fan of both, but the I prefer the latter) is a joke.
    Loving this album right now. The Opeth influence is huge, without sounding like a complete rip-off. I like the direction they took on this album.
    I liked their first two albums, but I had always wondered if and how they'd progress. Sounds like I'm going to love this (considering Opeth and Cynic are two of my favorite bands).
    never seen epiexplorer say something good about a band before this article
    I've done like, 80 reviews on this website, at least 90% of them are glowingly positive and badly written. Some of them are elaborate trolls a la In Flames.
    Surely one of the greatest albums so far this year, can't stop listening to it!
    you did NOT just compare the Faceless to Asking Alexandria... ur retarded, and u used the word tosh... wow
    You're quite correct, he didn't compare them.. he just made the mention that they're on the same label. Read the article, learn to spll, and **** the hell off.
    my first impression of Autotheism is that its not heavy enough - then i listened to it in my car w subwoofers - its plenty heavy. and the songwriting is amazing - u have to listen to it 4 or 5 times to really get it. brilliant progression. masterpiece.
    I like the band and this album. This review, however, was typical childish 14-year-old-metalhead bullshit. Stop making us look bad.
    i was mostly annoyed how he said akeldama was crap? its my favourite all their songs are practically a different genre
    the melodic bits sound a lot like opeth and textures. I don't think the singing is as good as those bands though. maybe the album will grow on me.
    I couldn't agree with you more. In the year 2012, I had 3 surprises: Monuments, Periphery and The Faceless. Among the three I guess I've listened to this the most. Interesting to mention DT, I've never thought I like prog death and deathcore because I like prog rock and prog metal. I think it's more like because of the extreme guitar work. I know many guitar players who aren't into DT but love prog death big time. I didn't recognize the Opeth influence, it's a shame knowing I love Opeth. Anyway, love their new sound, love the clean vocals and the song structures. Michael Keene really is a genius. Constantly changing themes without turning it into chaos. Every single riff and bit is memorable!
    CombatWombat 95
    I thought this band sounded like Dream Theater on steriods and turnt up to 11. I love DT and I now love The Faceless, hope these guys have good career.
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    i saw them at summer slaughter - they were ok. i saw them headlining an indoor concert and it was the most awesome powerful thing ive ever seen. ofcourse that was with the lineup from planetary duality tho
    I've seen a lot of people complain about the clean vocals on youtube and personally I don't mind clean vocals but his voice just didn't do it for me, the first song sounded like they asked Sully Erna from Godsmack to do guest vocals lol . This album is good but not great. Although like people have mentioned before the "Opeth-y" sound is a welcome addition.
    I quite like this review. only a few other things I wish to add. the starting vocals from Ten billion years are truly brutal: "I, I AM THE ALPHA. I AM THE OMEGA. AS I WILL IT, SO IT SHALL BE!." the lyrics on this album are truly wonderful and are quite enjoyable to read though are quite overcomplicated on songs such as Emancipate where they are a bit confusingly contradictory: "I Ascended carrying ashes, Upon my decent I carry my fire through the valleys" ?? was anyone else confused? my main concerns for this album though was that Hymn of sanity was not long enough. Its probably the most punishing song on the album for me so far, but you just wish it went for a bit longer, and that a couple of the other songs on the album contained this level of brutality. Dont get me wrong all the songs are ****ing amazing but I thought it could be a little more punnishing at times
    "The Faceless are one of those bands where the first impression is largely decided on who the fans are." Huh?? I thought first impressions were based on listening to the music...If you have to seek validation for liking a band (or not liking) then i feel sorry for ya. Good album and good review other then that first bit.
    The album is quite good though I feel as though it really was missing the creativity and epicness of Planetary Duality. It felt too plain and boring at times. Now I'm not a hater, I absolutely love The Faceless. They were one of the first bands I ever got into but I just felt like it lacked substance. Either way, I still like the album a lot and it's definitely going into my CD collection. Overall, I give it an 7/10. Very listenable and likeable but a step down from 8/10 of Planetary Duality.
    Amazing album!! Although this album pretty much only has 6 songs 1. Autotheist Movement (No need to split them) 2. Accelerated Evolution 3. The Eidolon Reality 4. Ten Billion Years 5. Hail Science / Hymn of Sanity 6. In Solitude (this the best song)
    I like this album a lot but I'll confess that there are maybe just a few too many moments when it sounds way too much like Mr. Bungle, Opeth, and Devin Townsend...not that that's necessarily a bad thing haha.
    you forgot to mention the fact that they have a fantastic bassist now and didnt even make him audible on the damn cd. this ones a let down for me, it feels like Planetary Duality v1.5. nothing new, nothing i havent heard before, just the same old cd.
    Theres only a few parts on this album that I think sound like The Faceless, but overall it's still a pretty damn good album.
    saw them at summer slaughter and all their stuff sounded very repetitive. Maybe they'll be different on the record?
    Oh, and the new vocalist kicks ass. I didn't think he'd be able to replace Derek Rydquist, but I think I actually like him even better. I feel like he has a little more range.
    I've listened to this album beginning to end probably 6 or 7 times in the last few days. 'Planetary Duality' is one of my favorite CD's, but the more I listen to it, the closer 'Autotheism' gets to taking it's place. I think the technicality is a little dumbed down on this one at times, but it's replaced with very well written, melodic clean guitars (and other random instruments) and it just works. I liked Keene's vocals on PD but they've improved a ton. I love it. Definitely buying this one, no doubt. Michael Keene is a genious.
    Loving this new record! Can't commend Keene enough for taking a bigger role with clean vocals, although he is receiving a fair bit of flak from fans for it, people calling it egotistical and whatnot. And the infamous "Sexy Sax Man" on saxophone? - can't beat it!