The self-titled full length from Faces of Eve is the 2017 follow-up to the bands impressive debut EP “The Story So Far”, released in 2015. Hailing from Hertfordshire the band have been lucking enough as an unsigned band to land Tim “Timfy James” Beazley, current Hacktivist and former Heart Of A Coward guitarist to recorded, produce, mix and master this album.
The album starts off at a furious pace with “Sanctuary of Heavy Hearts” before slowing up to an almost Jazz inspired breakdown around the two minute mark. What’s really apparent is that Benjamin Black’s solely clean vocals are a real highlight, akin to Slaves (US) Jonny Craig. That’s how good they are. There is then a nice build into a the closing section which cuts neatly into the album’s first single “Dreamcatcher”. The second song also features a bridged section that slows up to allow Black’s vocals to be highlighted. Both songs are tinged with a sparkle of technicality that act almost as solos rather than being the main guitar attack. “Colours” then adds a bounce an energy while moving between riffs that show off guitarist Dan Sloane’s skills. “IV” is an instrumental that separates the album in two and has a real “death march” style to it that would have perhaps made it better suited as an intro to the album, especially as it’s short and sweet at 1 minute 40 seconds. “The Bird Cage” is the album’s longest song at just under the five minute mark and demonstrates some DJent leanings while being the most progressive of the songs. “Loveless” returns to the style of “Sanctuary of Heavy Hearts” with a real driving polyrhythmic riffage that builds in to some dissonance. Its a track that really demonstrates the fine balance between showcasing the musicianship and showcasing the vocals – something which Slaves have struggled with since their debut. “Rail Grit Line” is one of the best cuts on the album. Largely because it takes all the elements that make the previous songs good and takes it up a notch. It’s also a song that delivers lyrically as well as vocally. As a band that doesn’t particularly stick to the verse-chorus structure and instead opts to repeat a single line or a couple of lines, it’s a style that is best shown here. “As Above” then comes in and surprises by using profanity for the first time on the album. The song is the story of a breakup and Black’s story telling ability lyrically is again highlighted while the band deliver some quality musicianship. “So Below” is then an acoustic re-working of the lyrics from “As Above” with that slows things up and showcases the vocals against a more intimate background.
The album is nine tracks, clocking in at just over 29 minutes and includes an instrumental and acoustic re-working that is perhaps more of an intro or outro than a song in complete form. So you could argue that what has been billed as Faces of Eve’s self-titled debut album is actually little more than an EP. That being said, what you have is quality more than quantity, with each song being distinctly memorable both vocally and musically with the production being second to none. It’s clear that a lot of effort has been put in on all sides and without label backing that is something that is impressive. It strikes me that what has been missed is the opportunity to re-record a couple of the songs from the bands debut EP “The Story So Far” with Timfy James in the production chair. “One Man Show”, “Feed” or “Dwellers” are stylistically similar to the songs that appear on the album and would have benefited from re-recording while also benefiting the album in terms of adding quality and length. But these are minor grumbles in the context of an album that has plenty of attractive qualities and a decent amount of charm [7/10].
1. Sanctuary for Heavy Hearts
4. IV (Instrumental)
5. The Bird Cage
7. Rail Grit Line
8. As Above
9. So Below (Acoustic)