add a review/comment
Add an audio file
Band Name The Faceless
Album Name Autotheism
Type Album
Released date 14 August 2012
Produced by Michael Keene
Music StyleTechnical Death
Members owning this album87


1. Autotheist Movement I: Create 03:44
2. Autotheist Movement II: Emancipate (ft. Tara Keene) 07:20
3. Autotheist Movement III: Deconsecrate (ft. Sergio "The Sexy Sax Man" Flores) 06:40
4. Accelerated Evolution 04:39
5. The Eidolon Reality 03:47
6. Ten Billion Years 05:55
7. Hail Science 00:54
8. Hymn of Sanity 01:35
9. In Solitude 06:28
Total playing time 41:02

Review @ VesselsOfBlood

17 August 2012

Shape-Shifting Death Metal

One of California’s greatest death metal juggernauts has returned, and its name is The Faceless. This quintet has brought chaos into the metal scene since 2004, and has retained a large amount of fans with their deadly technical onslaught. After releasing a 2-song demo in 2006, they became the first band to ever be signed to Sumerian Records in the same year. During that time, they released their full-length debut “Akeldama,” which alone grabbed the attention of plenty of metal-goers. Later, in 2008, The Faceless struck the scene again with another full-length record entitled “Planetary Duality,” with superb results. However, since then, the band was caught in a whirlwind of lineup changes for the next few years, and it would be very hard to be able to generate a new sequel to their collection at this rate. Luckily, that didn’t stop these guys, and now that they have a full and solid lineup, they have released their third full-length album of 2012 called “Autotheism.” Another album with 9 tracks in its roster after “Planetary Duality,” this new record sees the continuation of The Faceless’s technical death metal assault, but with some new elements.

The musicianship has somewhat changed in “Autotheism” compared to the band’s other works, and it turned out fantastic. Firstly, there is now more clean singing by Michael Keene in this album, which generates much more of a dark and atmospheric feel to the music. Keene has a very bold and resonant quality to his singing, and it’s all just wonderfully played out. Therefore, for those who wished for more of the clean singing from their previous records, your wish has officially been granted. Another change in the band’s musicianship is that it’s much more synthesizer-laden than before. However, now they mainly consist of ominous symphonic tunes, which drums up a lot more dramatic aura than in the band’s preceding works. Other than that, however, the musicianship overall is the same as before. Despite the new lead singer Geoff Ficco, the growls and highs do sound mostly the same as Michael Rydquist’s from their other albums. The guitars are also as complex and melodic as before, and the drums are very technical, if not unrelenting. However, “Autotheism” is not without flaw when it comes to the album’s production. Overall, it is not as good and solid as it was in "Akeldama" or “Planetary Duality,” mainly because the drums don’t sound as crisp as they did back then. Thankfully, the musicianship for this band has progressed nevertheless, and it plays in their favor greatly.

The sound in “Autotheism” itself is not exactly the same as before, either. There is much more atmosphere concealed within its songs, and when the band isn’t pummeling the listener with their usual barrage of technical death metal punches, the music holds a dark and progressive tone. The first track, “Autotheist Movement I: Create” is the perfect example of this. As stated earlier, there is plenty of clean singing in the album as a whole, but this particular song holds most of it in its dark clutches. This song reveals the most progressive and atmospheric side to this band, yet it still retains their usual sinister nature. Keene’s singing really shines here, even though there are occasional hints of growls and vocoder. It’s highly intriguing, if not entrancing, considering the new direction that this band is sort of starting to take. Even the tracks that mostly consist of technical metal blasts hold the same formula every now and then, but it’s not simply thrown in there. In other words, this progressive sound does flow very well with the death metal aspect. “The Eidolon Reality” is a track that sees this flow. Even though it is mostly technical death metal, there is still plenty of hints of progressive atmosphere hidden in its onslaught, especially when the clean singing comes in. In conclusion, what separates “Autotheism” from the previous two works is the new atmosphere and higher abundance in clean singing. It comes to show how The Faceless has truly progressed in this respect.

On the other hand, “Autotheism” does mostly contain the technical, brutal, and complex death metal that fans of The Faceless have grown to admire over the years. As stated earlier, “The Eidolon Reality,” despite its atmosphere, mainly consists of blistering death metal, along with most of the rest of the album. The second to last track, “Hymn to Sanity,” is probably their highest example of the band’s death metal pounding, containing rapid drum blasts, monstrous growls, and highly complex and melodic guitar riffs. Overall, “Autotheism” shouldn’t disappoint any fans who adored the brutal side of the band’s music. Sadly, however, this record does contain a minor issue in this brutal aspect: A few of the tracks are a bit too lengthy. “Autotheist Movement II: Emancipate” demonstrates this flaw. Despite the great technical death metal it holds, the track itself starts to lose steam through even the first listen. This is because of the song’s length, stretching over 7 minutes, and it almost becomes repetitive and less gripping. It would have been fine if the track built up somehow, but it mostly consists of their usual death metal barrages throughout. Tracks like these in “Autotheism” are not bad at all, but it would have turned out much better if they were divided up so their brutal effects could retain the same potency. Nonetheless, this record still shouldn’t scare too many old fans away, because the death metal The Faceless plays here is as strong as ever.

As stated by the band itself, “Autotheism” isn’t much of a conceptual album in regards to the meaning of their lyrics. However, the lyrics in each of the songs overall deal with subjects of religion and science, hence the album’s name. In definition, Autotheism is when one truly believes that the voice in his or her head really belongs to God’s. It can also be defined as when someone worships or regards to him or herself as a god; it’s a religious form of human arrogance and self-righteousness. The introductory track “Autotheist Movement I: Create” relates to this definition the most, including lines such as “No creator in the heavens above (I am the lightning),” “No demons in the furnace below (I am the frenzy),” and “I have realized I am God.” The dark-toned lyrics in this song capture the self-worshipping person’s arrogance accurately, where the person proclaims him or herself as the true God of the world. The lyrics in the next song, “Autotheist Movement II: Emancipate,” punish the lines from the preceding track with their own lines, such as “Say goodnight to the voices in your head, you never heard them anyway, you might just be insane” and “Into a god’s mask your dreadful coiling snake has crawled.” On the other hand, the lyrics also, as stated earlier, deal with scientific matters and knowledge more so than religion and self-worship. These songs include “Hymn to Sanity,” where the lyrics proclaim “it rules in Earth and sky, now we live no more to die, science is risen,” and “The Eidolon Reality,” with eloquently written lines including “And at a greater depth, lies the holographic structure painted among the cosmos.” As a whole, the lyrics in “Autotheism” are very provocative and interesting, as usual.

Ultimately, “Autotheism” answers two questions from the followers of The Faceless: Is this album any better than “Planetary Duality,” supposedly their most stellar record up to date? Not quite. Was this album truly worth the band’s effort and the fans’ wait? Most certainly. Even though “Autotheism” does have a couple hiccups that prevent it from being perfectly crafted, involving the sound production and the song length, it’s nonetheless a great sequel to the quintet’s collection. The musicianship altogether has progressed greatly, in terms of the clean vocals and the synthesizer, and the band overall is starting to reach new grounds with the darkly atmospheric direction it is taking. Old fans, for the most part, shouldn’t be very disappointed with how “Autotheism” turned out, because plenty of the band’s usual death metal elements remain. On the other hand, fans of complex, dark, technical, interesting, and progressive death metal should really give this a try. Although “Planetary Duality” still remains as this band’s best record yet, “Autotheism” is a highly enjoyable listen, with awesome musicianship, great songwriting, and intriguing lyrics. After about 4 long years, The Faceless has officially made its greatly sinister return.


2 Like

CLucker666 - 18 August 2012: i disagree with what you said on the sound quality. i think the quality is much better than akeldama and about the same as planetary duality. In my opinion it is their best
VesselsOfBlood - 18 August 2012: To me, the production is very good (as usual), but like I said, the drums in "Planetary Duality" just sound better than in this record. They sound a little crisper in "Planetary Duality," especially the snare and cymbals. They're a little easier to tell apart when I'm listening to the music. That's ultimately my reason for saying this.
    You must be logged in to add a comment

Review @ hailmonster

19 August 2012

...what maturation truly means.

The Faceless have been winning over the hearts of the death metal community since the release of their 2006 record, ‘Akeldama’, with a highly technical and undoubtedly jaw-dropping style of songwriting. It seemed the ultimate peak of combining breakdowns, blast beats, and technicality had been reached. But The Faceless soon blew that thought right out of the water with their sophomore release, ‘Planetary Duality’, where they evolved to an even higher and purer death metal status with futuristic, face-melting fury that just had to feature some Martian as a producer. If there was ever a perfect follow-up and evolution from a debut, ‘Planetary Duality’ would be it. So what more could this insane, heart-stopping band have in store for their latest piece of mind fuckery?

Well, for one thing, the idea of waiting for a new album from this group isn’t so very different from the idea of watching a huge, billion-ton behemoth of a meteor crash into the very Earth and destroy everything you know. Or think you know. Obviously there’s been a lot of suspense in relevance to this record, and it’s easy to see why from the band’s discography so far. If you haven’t listened to anything from ‘Autotheism’ yet, I suggest you heavily sedate yourself to prepare for the utter explosion your brain will ultimately experience. Not because it’s as technical as ‘Planetary Duality’, or as inventive as ‘Akeldama’. But because ‘Autotheism’ shares as much in common with Opeth’s ‘Heritage as it does with Brain Drill’s ‘Quantum Catastrophe’.

That’s right, The Faceless have stepped up their progressive game! Armed with a truckload of slow, atmospheric riffs and a damn-near perfect croon to pile on top of their unbelievable technical work and brutal chops, this amazing outfit reminds us once again what maturation truly means. It’s not even appropriate to call this movement in sound “experimentation” because of the fact that The Faceless approach it with an unsettling amount of confidence.

Autotheism’ begins with ‘Autotheist Movement I: Create’, a track that begins with a spine-chilling orchestral progression, eventually introducing alternative percussion before diving into a sound that gives off a vibe strangely akin to something out of the catalog of grunge titans: Alice In Chains. Despite this song, with a calmer nature than most, the pent-up energy initially built up during the symphonic intro doesn’t go to waste. A few minutes in, the piece ends at just the right time, before the excitement and thirst for heaviness dies out, to let ‘Autotheist Movement II: Emancipate’ rip through the minds of listeners with a furious death metal assault. This give and take between brutality, beefed up with noodle leads and shameless growls, and thoughtfulness, laced with powerful croons and airy riffs, continues throughout the remainder of the record. All sprinkled with synthesizers and deadly blast beats.

The Faceless clearly match their musicianship on this album to their prior record, ‘Planetary Duality’. However, less tech guitar wizardry is used than on previous efforts due to the more progressive sound of the album. The low end is as amazing as ever, always a unique feather in the band’s cap; drums pound out usual technical beats, along with more atmosphere-focused rhythms. The usual impressiveness with the dirty vocals remains, but what is more interesting, is the new factor of the true utilization of clean singing. Keene’s voice is haunting and undeniably solid in itself. Symphonic patterns also play an excellent part in the movement in the album.

Lyrics on ‘Autotheism’ become a whirlwind of contrasting and cooperating layers of subject matter, all loosely related to subjects of science and deities. An obvious theme, stated by the title of the release itself, is, of course, Autotheism. Autotheism refers to self-religion, defining oneself as God. A fitting and prodding matter that fits well with the style, feel, and remainder of lyrical content displayed on the album.

Overall, ‘Autotheism’ is an album with a new, unexpected change in sound for The Faceless. However, despite this, it matches the level of talent and memorability of ‘Planetary Duality’, simply by being different. The Faceless have definitely raised the bar for future records, and in turn, the expectations of the legions of undying fans have also risen. It seems The Faceless will never tire in updating their style to perfection with every album they record. ‘Autotheism ‘gets an 18/20 from me. Let’s see what this fantastic band can do next.


0 Like

McLovinSkittlez - 28 November 2012: A lot of people are hating on this album, and I can't figure out why...It's still the same face-shredding tunes we've all known and loved by The Faceless, but there's even more to it now! I think this is their best record yet!
VesselsOfBlood - 12 January 2013: I think they're bashing it because they've gotten "softer," what with the increase of melodic moments and more clean vocals. It's one of those instances where people really don't like the new direction a band is headed to.
    You must be logged in to add a comment