Focus of the Death
After their promising, albeit severely flawed, debut demo in 1995, Deface released a follow-up demo in 1996. The Temple of Truth shows the band in an improved state from many aspects, but as a whole, both demos are about equal in terms of quality. This would end up being the final release from Deface, seeing that they disbanded in 1997 and have been silent ever since. Whereas Silent Coldness was a pretty straightforward melodic death metal release, The Temple of Truth is a much more progressive effort that showcases many mood changes and much more riff variation. It's pretty frustrating that this would be the last effort by Deface - they were really onto something great here. I'm sure that if they ended up releasing a full-length album, I would've been very impressed. Like the previous effort, The Temple of Truth is a very promising release that's marred by a few crippling flaws. Still, it's a warm recommendation to progressive/melodic death metal fans that are okay with a muddy production and occasionally sloppy musicianship.
Although Deface is still firmly rooted in the early melodic death metal scene, this time around they've incorporated some more subtle progressive influences. It seems like they took a few listens to Orchid by Opeth or Purgatory Afterglow by Edge of Sanity before working on this demo, and this newly refined sound ultimately enhances Deface's music. The end result is a slightly better demo than Silent Coldness, but not by a significant amount. If anything, The Temple of Truth has more issues than the previous demo, but the improvement in the songwriting department gives it a small edge. Songs like "Deep Breath Pad (Intro) & Focus of the Death", "Across the Addiction", and "In The Temple of Truth" are stellar highlights, and although the rest of the album isn't quite as good, Deface have really improved their compositional strength since their last demo. Like its predecessor, my biggest complaints result in the sloppy playing and muddy production. Surprisingly enough, the production on The Temple of Truth is actually significantly worse than it was on their debut. Although the production was a setback on Silent Coldness, it's sometimes unbearable here. The musicians in Deface are unquestionably talented, but they still don't sound quite as tight and precise as they should. It's not a huge complaint though, and it's evident that Deface have improved in this area as well.
The Temple of Truth is a slight improvement over its predecessor, though it still has some major issues to deal with. I have a feeling that if Deface would've been around for a few more years, they could've created something truly excellent. Fans of melodic death metal with progressive touches should check this (and their previous demo) out, considering that Deface has them both available for free legal download from their website. This isn't anything outstanding, but it's a satisfying release that should please fans of the genre. Although this is a bit better than Silent Coldness, it still deserves the same score of a 2.5 (almost 3 in this case). Deface really had something special - unfortunately, we'll never know what they would've sounded like with a professional production and a full-length album. This band has been forgotten with the sands of time, but they did create two good demos that I've enjoyed experiencing.