The Faceless
Autotheism


3.5
great

Review

by Daniel Davis CONTRIBUTOR (44 Reviews)
August 17th, 2012 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Faceless have changed - not necessarily for the better, but they certainly have become more interesting.

Tech death titans The Faceless are no stranger to changing up their formula; their first release "Akeldama" was a progressive deathcore affair, while "Planetary Duality" took their sound in more of a Cynic-infused technical death metal direction, complete with blistering tempos and sweep picks at every corner. They were both very good in their own way, but both were mostly restricted to their respective sounds. With "Autotheism", the band begins to branch out, taking on elements of BTBAM and Opeth while retaining the general sound of Planetary Duality. The result is mostly a success, although it feels a bit unfocused at times.

"Autotheism" is a concept record about, as the title suggests, a man's desision to forgo all existing gods and worship himself instead. Done wrong, this could have come off as very egotistical, but it remains mostly tasteful, with most of the lyrics dedicated to attacking religion and promoting science - it's about as tasteful as one can expect an album called "Autotheism" to be. The lyrics don't tell the most cohesive story, but you can tell that they fit together and the album feels very thematic. The opening three songs comprise the "Autotheist Movement" and run seamlessly into each other. Each is a different beast, but all of them incorporate elements that are new to The Faceless - namely, prominent clean vocals (performed by none other than lead guitarist/main songwriter Michael Keene), saxophone solos, and carnival music sections. It feels like someone took Between the Buried and Me's latest EP and mixed it with Planetary Duality. This could be perceived as a bad thing, but it is done well enough that it feels like a true blend and not a halfassed one. It goes on for a bit longer than it needs to (the ending of the second part is great and all, but they could have shortened the solos), but it never gets boring.

The rest of the record shows a great amount of variation - "The Eidolon Reality" is a Cynic affair on crack, with a catchy chorus (in a Faceless song?) and jazzy chords used in liberal amounts, "Ten Billion Years" is a mid tempo song with a solo from newcomer Wes Hauch, "Hymn of Sanity" is an extremely fast and short song that seems to be apologizing for the lack of speed earlier in the album, and "In Solitude" is a good closer that feels suspiciously close to being a ballad. The influences on each song are fairly obvious, but it doesn't really impact the quality of the music.

The album feels a bit awkwardly structured - long songs are typically in the middle or end of a record, and are something you have to build up to (unless all your songs are long, ahem, Dream Theater). The Faceless was probably experimenting by putting the epic first, and while it doesn't really fail, it has the effect of making the record feel a lot shorter than it is, due to the first song taking up almost half the runtime, while the rest of the songs feel almost like mere bonuses. Rush famously did this with "2112", but it just doesn't work as well here.

The album's production also feels awkward in some places. There's a section in Deconsecrate beginning at around the five minute mark that just feels...washed out. I don't know if it's just me or not, but it has a pretty jarring effect on me. Overall, it's an improvement from Keene's previous production jobs, but it's still far from perfect.

When all of that is said and done, though, we're left with an amazingly composed record; one that doesn't quite live up to the four year wait but is still a very solid album. People who complained of the previous albums' sameness should definitely check this one out, because the variation here is much greater. I won't go out and say The Faceless have changed for the better, but they've certainly become more interesting.



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user ratings (662)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
Permafrost (3)
Symptomatic of a healthy desire to expand and to grow, Autotheism is a welcome break from the stereo...

BroManCaptainGuySirDylan (3.5)
Autotheism shows The Faceless expanding on their sound on every front, and somewhat regressing from ...

froghawk (2)
It seems that Michael Keene truly does worship himself as a god....

MarcatMeow (2.5)
The Faceless of yesteryear meets the Faceless of today - and discovers The Faceless of today fancies...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Shuyin
August 17th 2012


12357 Comments


'Tech death titans The Faceless'

TooLateToGoBack
August 17th 2012


1812 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Really like the cleans on this.

Digging: Haste the Day - Coward

baldymort
August 17th 2012


793 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

^lol

Sirob
August 17th 2012


2653 Comments


so this isnt worth listening to?

oltnabrick
August 17th 2012


33034 Comments


Album is a grower. I like it a lot more now.

TheMoreira
August 17th 2012


7188 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review man, pos'd hard.



The Faceless previous work overall imo - 2.5 - by any chance, would this be worth a listening for me?

mindleviticus
August 17th 2012


8467 Comments


my thoughts exactly

sexpoi
August 17th 2012


603 Comments


great review! still gotta get my hands on this though

paradox1216
Contributing Reviewer
August 17th 2012


709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@sirob I would definitely give it a listen, but it's far from a classic, and it's not for everyone.



@TheMoreita yes, this one is different enough to warrant giving it a chance, and there's a good chance you'll find it enjoyable. It's got the same basic sound that Planetary Duality has, but in a modified form and with much more variation.



Thanks for the good feedback guys.





Digging: Silverstein - I Am Alive In Everything I Touch

bloozclooz
August 18th 2012


1770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album as a whole is solid, but if you try to jump in at the middle you notice that each song doesn't stand up by itself like past releases did

Apoc
August 25th 2012


13 Comments


"Rush famously did this with "2112", but it just doesn't work as good here."

*doesn't work as well

other than that, very good review. pos'd. album is kind of underwhelming.

zulop
August 31st 2012


166 Comments


Agree about the washed out production on Deconsecrate, very upsetting as it just sucks the life out of the rest of the song when the washed part begins. One of the few actually useful reviews.

zulop
August 31st 2012


166 Comments


Agree about the washed out production on Deconsecrate, very upsetting as it just sucks the life out of the rest of the song when the washed part begins. One of the few actually useful reviews.

zulop
August 31st 2012


166 Comments


Agree about the washed out production on Deconsecrate, very upsetting as it just sucks the life out of the rest of the song when the washed part begins. One of the few actually useful reviews.

zulop
August 31st 2012


166 Comments


Agree about the washed out production on Deconsecrate, very upsetting as it just sucks the life out of the rest of the song when the washed part begins. One of the few actually useful reviews.

peartnoy
September 10th 2012


1256 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So... the production in Deconsecrate is washed out you say? Oh and paradox the review was great, have a pos!

sixdegrees
September 10th 2012


18636 Comments


now let's not jump to conclusions here

Digging: Bosse-de-Nage - All Fours

ChuckyTruant
September 10th 2012


15728 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't like the intro paragraph but otherwise good

peartnoy
September 10th 2012


1256 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love the first track on this. Shame the rest isn't as good.

paradox1216
Contributing Reviewer
September 13th 2012


709 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@peartnoy Yes, but really only during the section I mentioned.



@ChuckTheMan thanks. it's mostly a lot of comparisons, could have done without namedropping every band ever lol



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