Review: “In Becoming A Ghost” by The Faceless

I’ll be the first to admit that The Faceless are a band that I find difficult to get my head around. Not that they make bad music, far from it. There attitude and approach, the turn over of musicians, the missed tour dates and everything else that surrounds the band like a Bermuda triangle makes them a challenge. For all their promise and delivery on recordings previous recordings, it has been 5 years since their last album. I actually didn’t expect this one to appear at all.

The album opens up with a cheesy horror spoken word intro “In Becoming A Ghost” before kicking into the brutal”Digging The Grave”. Blast beats and death metal guitar for the first two minutes before slowing up dramatically to allow Michael Keene to add a clean sung section, with much improved vocals from him. The song then lifts up once more before dropping back into an orchestral section that makes the the song sound like it belongs in a horror film. The Flute¬†solo will catch you off¬†guard! We then plunge into “Black Star”, the teaser for the album, which features a couple of tasty solos while again showcasing Michael Keene’s clean vocals in stark contrast to Ken “Sorceron” Bergeron’s brutal uncleans. It’s a distintively layered and atmospheric track, moving between segments like a classical piece at times before returning to the main riff before ending suddenly rather than fading out. “Cup of Mephistopheles” then starts off with an industrial programmed drum sequence and more clean vocals, sounding like something that Mike Patton or Greg Puciato would deliver from one of their side project bands. Then it piles into the death metal guitar work before cutting back once again. “The Spiriling Void” is then more traditional death metal but includes an interesting programmed Xylaphone section that brings Oni to mind. Its a virtuoso song that seemlessly blends styles and builds on the previously showcased elements nicely. The suprise inclusion of a cover of “Shake The Disease” by Depeche Mode is actually not so suprising. Not in the sense that it’s clearly The Faceless’s own take on the track and done in a style that fits in well with the album as a whole prior to the song. Layering the unclean vocals underneath the cleans gives an extra dimension and the industrial undercurrent suits the song perfectly. “I Am” is a much more straightforward death metal affair ditching the industrial elements entirely in favour of sweeping guitar work that makes the song sound epic. Both vocalists demonstrate a dark and poetic lyrical trait and maintain this in their vocal performances, with Keene bringing a hightened level of emosion to the mix in stark contrast to Sorceron’s Brutality. “Ghost Reprise” is the second spoken work track, backed by a chilling piece of piano work. The song then cuts in dramatic fashion to “(Instru)metal illness” which as it says in the title is an instrumental piece. It’s another epic that sounds like it belongs on a horror film score and showcases the bands musicianship which has clearly grown since their last release. “The Terminal Breath” closes the album out in style befitting of the album.

Overall, it’s an album which shifts from sinister, creeping tones through epic movements to a bright sunlight. It’s soaked in aristry, musicianship and technicallity, clearly crafted from the mind of Michael Keene, leading the charge. It’s an album that is so good, it’s painful. Painful because you want the band to be bigger and better than they are. Painful because they need to get their shit together, keep this clearly quality lineup together, tour this one out for two years and then repeat cycle. They need to stop messing about, letting people down and making excuses for their actions because they have all the talent in the World, they just need to show it. [5/5]

Tracklisting

1. In Becoming A Ghost
2. Digging The Grave
3. Black Star
4. Cup of Mehistopheles
5. The Spiriling Void
6. Shake The Disease (Depeche Mode Cover)
7. I Am
8. Ghost Reprise
9. (Instru)metal illness
10. The Terminal Breath.

The band will be in the UK in February. Lets hope.

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