THE FACELESS — Akeldama (review)

THE FACELESS — Akeldama album cover Album · 2006 · Technical Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
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.
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Bosh66 wrote:
9 months ago
Probably the first tech death album I shelled out cash for, and still like it. You've summed the album up pretty well for me.

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