THE FACELESS

Technical Death Metal • United States
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THE FACELESS picture
The Faceless is a technical death metal band from Los Angeles who have astonished their live audiences with dizzying guitar work, lightning fast drumming and unmatched brutality. Formed by guitarist Michael Keene and bassist Brandon Giffin, the band quickly found the perfect mix of dedicated musicians to complete the line up.

The Faceless have shared the stage with such talented acts as: Meshuggah, In Flames, Between The Buried and Me, Dying Fetus, Vital Remains, Suffocation, The Black Dahlia Murder, Cynic, Necrophagist, Decapitated, Cephalic Carnage, Neuraxis, Job For a Cowboy etc.

Members:

Derek Rydquist- Vocals Michael Keene - Guitar, Vocals Steve Jones - Guitar Brandon Giffin - Bass Lyle Cooper- Drums
Thanks to UMUR, rushfan4, andyman1125, adg211288 for the updates

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In Becoming A GhostIn Becoming A Ghost
Sumerian Records 2017
$8.86
$9.37 (used)
AutotheismAutotheism
Sumerian Records 2011
$8.44
$3.98 (used)
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THE FACELESS Discography

THE FACELESS albums / top albums

THE FACELESS Akeldama album cover 4.00 | 12 ratings
Akeldama
Technical Death Metal 2006
THE FACELESS Planetary Duality album cover 4.09 | 14 ratings
Planetary Duality
Technical Death Metal 2008
THE FACELESS Autotheism album cover 3.98 | 13 ratings
Autotheism
Technical Death Metal 2012
THE FACELESS In Becoming a Ghost album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
In Becoming a Ghost
Technical Death Metal 2017

THE FACELESS EPs & splits

THE FACELESS live albums

THE FACELESS demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

THE FACELESS Nightmare Fest album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Nightmare Fest
Technical Death Metal 2006

THE FACELESS re-issues & compilations

THE FACELESS singles (0)

THE FACELESS movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

THE FACELESS Reviews

THE FACELESS Akeldama

Album · 2006 · Technical Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Sea Whisperer
THE FACELESS is a Technical Death metal band from Encino, California, founded by guitarist Michael Keene and bassist Brandon Giffin in 2004. Their debut album “Akeldama” (“Field of blood” in Aramaic), released in 2006, turned out to be very mature and well-written work, showing immense potential of the collective.

To say that music on “Akeldama” is diverse is to make an understatement. This album can serve as an encyclopedia of technical extreme metal, incorporating almost any trick from its arsenal you can think of. Differently sounding parts replace each other in quick succession. At one moment we hear NILE-like tremolo riffs with recognizable oriental mood, at next – a NECROPHAGIST-styled part and then – Deathcore breakdowns. To keep all these different fragments consistent and prevent songs from falling apart is a difficult task by itself, but most of the time the band is capable to do just that, thanks to Michael Keene’s songwriting talents (and small length of the songs, I guess). Despite of being influenced by some colleagues from tech-death scene, on this album THE FACELESS already developed their own style – cascades of intricate riffs, rapid changes in rhythm and tempo, sudden stops, intense, aggressive drumming, very neat use of keyboards, providing additional coloration and depth of the music, and using both clean and harsh vocals.

Production of the album is amazing: guitar tone is thick and edgy, bass is audible, drums are clear and loud. Musicianship is impressive – from guest drummers’ great performance to spectacular guitar work by Michael Keene, who delivers tons of technically challenging riffs and several tasteful solos, without slipping to mindless shredding. Derek Rydquist’s vocals, both screaming and growling, fit music perfectly.

My personal favourites from this album are “Horizons of Chaos I: Oracle of the Onslaught”, starting and ending with a very memorable “flowing” riff, “Leica”, containing some cool harmonized solos (if Halloween played Technical Death metal, they would probably sound something like that), and a title track, a brilliant Fusion Metal instrumental (reminding of some songs by Counter-World Experience), featuring great solo parts by all players (especially Keene and the drummer) and dreamy atmosphere.

Summary: a very solid debut, complex and diverse, marking the beginning of the way of one of the most interesting Technical Death metal bands nowadays.

THE FACELESS In Becoming a Ghost

Album · 2017 · Technical Death Metal
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Necrotica
Up until now, my relationship with The Faceless had been a slowly deteriorating one. When I first heard Planetary Duality and Akeldama back in 2009, I thought it was the heaviest, fastest, and most technical shit on the planet. The intricate guitar harmonies, the frenzied drumming, and varied vocal work made it clear to me that we were witnessing a fantastic new beacon for technical death metal. Throw in some progressive rock influences and some creepy sci-fi interludes for good measure, and things just got more interesting. But sadly, Autotheism ruined the good will built up by many fans. It wasn’t an awful album, but it sounded disjointed and undercooked by the band’s standards. And of course, lead guitarist and (I guess) figurehead Michael Keene’s ego seemed to be getting in the way of the band’s future. So it’s pretty safe to say that I was approaching In Becoming a Ghost with much more caution than usual. Luckily, I’m pleased to report that my fears have mostly been erased.

In Becoming a Ghost is largely defined by a more cinematic, progressive identity than its predecessors, and it can be considered the band’s furthest removed from their original sound. But, bizarrely enough, this isn’t as much of a problem as you’d think. The experimentation is wrapped up in song structures and lyrical themes that are both engaging and tight, and the progressive elements serve more to bolster the atmosphere than be an excuse to noodle around. As if the haunting piano part of the intro title track wasn’t cool enough, we get to hear some killer tech-death flute melodies (!) and full-on symphonic passages in its followup “Digging the Grave.” That’s not to say the aggression is absent, though; Abigail Williams vocalist Ken Sorceron is more than enough to fill the shoes of Derek Rydquist with his strong mix of guttural growls and black metal shrieks. The riffs are still quite punishing in parts too, especially in the killer tremolo-picked riff that kicks of “The Spiralling Void.” But the difference between this album and Autotheism is that it seems to have more purpose to it. I get the sense that the band members genuinely put their all into this one, and that they really wanted to experiment around with what they thought was cool. Oftentimes, the framework surrounding the riffs is just as interesting as the riffs themselves, such as the weird staccato bass stabs that dance around the guitar intro of “I Am” or the deranged orchestral breaks in “Shake the Disease.” As for the problems with the album, I only have two major ones. One is, as in Autotheism, that Michael Keene’s voice gets way too much time in the spotlight. Remember when his voice would pop up very sparingly in Planetary Duality to add a little extra atmosphere and variety" Well, he sings in just about every track here. And, simply put, his voice is just boring. His inflections make him sound uninterested with the subject matter, and he draws attention away from the far superior performances of Ken Sorceron. Also, while the band’s technical skills are still impressive, the riffs aren’t the most memorable around. This has been a problem with past Faceless records, but sometimes the band get so caught up in their experimentation and technicality that their riffs don’t really stick with you very well. But maybe that’s because In Becoming a Ghost will need a bit more time to sink in. Regardless, it’s impressive what they accomplished here. It seems as though the band are getting closer to fully realizing their potential as a progressive death metal band; it’s just time that they tightened up their songcraft... and perhaps let Michael Keene stick to just his guitar playing and songwriting.

THE FACELESS Akeldama

Album · 2006 · Technical Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Akeldama" is the debut full-length studio album by US, California based technical/progressive death metal act The Faceless. The album was released through Sumerian Records in November 2006. The Faceless was formed in 2004 and was at that point a four-piece without a permanent drummer. The drumming on the album is therefore handled by no less than four different session drummers. All skilled performers, who deliver fast precision playing, suiting the band´s demanding music perfectly.

Stylistically the material on the 8 track, 33:18 minutes long album is technical/progressive death metal with the occasional nod towards deathcore and more than a few parts which can be labelled melodeath. When the latter parts occur I´m reminded of an artist like The Black Dahlia Murder, but that is only a part of the band´s sound, and the music on "Akeldama" is generally a much more varied size.

The album opens with "An Autopsy", and it´s one of those tracks that´ll blow most listeners away. Jaw-dropping techncial playing, compositional diversity, and just loads of power and aggression. Pretty soon The Faceless introduce a little clean singing, deathcore breakdowns, and progressive structures and adventurous ideas, which ultimately make "Akeldama" a little more than your standard technical/progressive death metal release. The vocals vary between deep growling and higher pitched screaming (and as mentioned above the occasional clean vocal part).

"Akeldama" features a clear, powerful, and detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly. So upon conclusion "Akeldama" is a high quality debut album by The Faceless. Some of the excursions into progressive territories make the overall flow of the album slightly inconsistent, but overall it´s a pretty impressive first release by the band and a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

THE FACELESS Autotheism

Album · 2012 · Technical Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
Autotheism is the third full-length studio album by US death metal act The Faceless. The album was released in 2012. The Faceless have left a quite large gap between this and their previous release Planetary Duality (2008), and in that time much of their line-up has changed with only Michael Keene (guitars, keyboards, clean vocals) and Lyle Cooper (drums) performing on both releases.

And while they haven’t moved away from the death metal genre, their style within death metal has shifted in that time as well. Planetary Duality was a technical death metal album that had, like many within the genre, some progressive leanings but nothing so major that what progressiveness the album had went beyond anything more than flavour. Autotheism on the other hand is a progressive death metal release, albeit one that does keep the technical element of its predecessor intact. Ultimately though, Autotheism is a very different sounding death metal album.

The album kicks off with a three part suite of songs called Autotheist Movement. It’s basically one long track and the best showcase the album has to offer on how much more progressive the band has become between releases. Those familiar with Planetary Duality will no doubt note that Michael Keene is performing a lot more clean vocals on the album, sometimes to the point where he can be considered a co-vocalist with new frontman Geoffrey Ficco rather than the occasional secondary vocalist he came across as on the previous album. He’s even the first voice you hear during Autotheist Movement I: Create. You’ll be almost two minutes in before you even hear Geoffrey Ficco’s death growl, which is pretty damn good I must note, perfect for the kind of music that The Faceless play. During Autotheist Movement I: Create though, it’s very clear that Michael Keene is the main vocalist.

Create may be the shortest movement of the suite, but it’s all that’s needed for The Faceless to assert themselves as a progressive band. Things get more death metal like for Autotheist Movement II: Emancipate, with Geoffrey Ficco taking over the lead vocal role, but still very progressive and featuring Michael Keene’s voice in what can only be described as role reversal after the approach taken on Create. Autotheist Movement III: Deconsecrate stirs things up even further with some of the infamous prog circus sounds, and a saxophone. Autotheist Movement is very much top tier progressive death metal in my book.

The trouble with the album as a whole though, is that it does feel that The Faceless put everything they had into Autotheist Movement, so once it ends, it does feel as if the album lost a bit of its steam. Don’t get me wrong, we’re still talking pretty high quality prog/tech death metal, but Autotheism is definitely one case where an album can’t keep up with its own high standard set by the very best it has to offer. The thing is, what follows Autotheist Movement is still high quality material, but after being wowed by that suite the rest is just rather underwhelming, so much that despite this material having its own strengths, my enjoyment of the album as a whole actually suffers a bit.

I think, despite that, I do actually prefer Autotheism to Planetary Duality, at least by a small margin, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel a bit of disappoint in the album because if the whole thing had been on the level of Autotheist Movement, then I’d easily have rated this one in the top tier, not to mention counted it among my favourite death metal releases, but as it is, the highest I can reasonable give it is a high end ‘great album’ tier rating. A part of me wants to push that score up just that little bit more into the ‘exceptional’ grade range, but I can’t ignore that feeling of being underwhelmed that I mentioned, which ultimately decided which side of the grade boundary this one fell. Autotheism is still highly recommendable prog/tech death metal, I’d even go as far to say it’s worth owning for that suite alone, but I’ll be hoping the next The Faceless makes an album it maintains a consistency for top tier death metal which Autotheism certainly showed them capable of.

84/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))

THE FACELESS Autotheism

Album · 2012 · Technical Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Autotheism" is the 3rd full-length studio album by technical death metal act The Faceless. The album was released through Sumerian Records in August 2012. It´s been four years since the release of the critically acclaimed "Planetary Duality (2008)". An album that showed a progression from the band´s early more "core" oriented sound to a technical death metal sound with progressive leanings.

...the music on "Autotheism" continues the technical death metal sound of it´s predecessor to a degree, but I´d say the technical part of the band´s sound is now playing second violin to the progressive part of their sound. In other words this is more a progressive death metal release, which is technically well played, than it is a technical death metal release with progressive leanings like the case was with "Planetary Duality (2008)". The change in style between the two albums is actually so radical that at times I´m in doubt if it´s the same band playing. Influences from artists like Devin Townsend and especially Opeth are strong on the album and there are extensive use of clean vocals (in addition to growling vocals) on the album. A feauture that was only occasionally used on the predecessor.

The album features adventurous song structures, tempo-and time signature changes and a generally progressive mindset to creating music. Best examplified in the opening 17:43 minutes long "Autotheist Movement" (check out the carnival music in "Autotheist Movement III: Deconsecrate" or the dynamic semi-jazzy soloing which also occur in the suite), which might be sub-divided into three tracks but functions as one long track. The rest of the material isn´t as progressive in nature, but there is still a focus on creative ideas before technical playing.

We´re talking high level musicianship all around and a powerful sound production that suits the music well, which of course adds further to how professional sounding and enjoyable the album is as a whole.

If I take on the objective glasses "Autotheism" is a damn fine progressive/technical death metal album strongly influenced by Opeth and at times Devin Townsend. A high quality release and recommendable to fans of the style.

On a personal level I´m slightly disappointed that they´ve changed their style so much since "Planetary Duality (2008)" (which I still think is one of the strongest tech death metal albums, released after 2000), that I have a hard time recognising "Autotheism" as a The Faceless release. There was a big difference in sound and style between the debut and "Planetary Duality (2008)" but this time I think they´ve worn their influences a bit too much on their sleeve and in the process have forgotten to focus on who they are as a band and what made them distinct and unique sounding. Musical development is fine, but not necessarily if you sacrifice identity in the process.

Still I´ll go with the objective opinion about "Autotheism", when I rate it, because you can´t take away from the album that it´s extremely well played, well produced and very creatively put together, and I know I would have rated it high, if it was the debut album by a new artist. So a 4 star (80%) rating is still deserved despite my reservations.

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