The Faceless
Autotheism


3.0
good

Review

by Permafrost USER (2 Reviews)
November 19th, 2012 | 49 replies | 2,501 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Symptomatic of a healthy desire to expand and to grow, Autotheism is a welcome break from the stereotype.

11 of 11 thought this review was well written

By no means could this album pass through its fanbase without a controversial split in opinions. It's not as if The Faceless has kicked back and become lazy, they have just deviated noticeably from their earlier material. I think that this change in form has also brought about a welcome shift in content: Autotheism delivers a much more interesting set of tracks this time around; to disregard this album simply for its change in thematic style is to ultimately do yourself a disservice. I will spell it out plainly, I did not like Planetary Duality and I certainly did not enjoy Akeldama. However, this album if assuming it's a model for future progression has certainly made a fan out of me.

One major source of controversy is both the introduction of cleans vocals and their overlaying style. What is interesting to note is the fact that they sound almost entirely different throughout this album's ventures, a contrast best represented in a comparison cut between In Solitude and Create. These clean vocals do their job quite well enough - the aforementioned closing track being the discernible moment where they are a delightful highlight. It has become fashionable to compare them to that of Devin Townsend, and indeed this entire album to his work such as in Deconstruction, but such communicated relations are but perception only. There is no real comparison to be made here, the best I can say is that people have fabricated it in their minds. It's not that they are liars, the tendency to find obscure/nonexistent patterns and similarities between artists seems to be a universal practice. And honestly, the best you can really establish is just some thematic similarities falling under some broadly defined paradigm. To which end everything just becomes derivative of everything else and so it doesn't matter.

Here we start off with the Autotheist Movement trilogy. This is where the album takes its share of time to explore this interesting topical premise, represented quite suitability in the lyrics. The songs themselves are robust and noticeably progressive in structure. And it is here that one will take notice that The Faceless is introducing a more melodic but otherwise more diverse array of sounds into their music. While this band still maintains their technical identity, they have traversed beyond its edges just enough that they were able to finally break the strain of its limitations. If I had to summarize their previous works in one word, I would have to say that they were just 'typical'. In comparison, Autotheism is breath of fresh air despite a minor incorporation of their influences into their very signature this time around. There are neat touches all around that can be appreciate such as in this trilogy, like the use of saxophone in the second track - and otherwise the occasional lending to acoustics.

The album has this distinct texture brought on by its mix/mastering style. If I could say anything in greater detail about it, it's that the color schema present in the artwork is perfectly translatable in sonic terms in the music. The guitar comes in really thin yet full of substance, and is vibrant in terms of its audible presence. Everything is clearly audible and distinguished from everything else, which includes the bass as is contrary to popular belief. What is absent is 'bass' only in terms of its filtering ability in the waveform. To illustrate this, if you were to increase the lower frequencies in your equalizer significantly, then you would get 'more bass' in its own right, but you wouldn't have any distinguished extra-audible capability in discerning the notes in the bass track. So Brewer's presence is not absent from the mix, it's role has just been trimmed of its unimportant effects on the audible mix.

Tracks like Ten Billion Years and The Eidolon Reality are unfortunate weak points. There is just not that much to them; they are super repetitive and unpronounced despite their promising introductory phases. While they are technically interesting from the perspective of being self-contained in their first 40 seconds or so, the content is just sorely rehashed throughout the entire song. These tracks are still necessary for the flow of the album, so it's a relief that they are blissfully short. It's writing of this low caliber that prevented me from digging any of their preceding material. As the stumbling blocks they might be, they are unable to overshadow the two 3rds of this album that are just excellent.

In particular, Accelerated Evolution and In Solitude are the penultimate duo. They are just superfantastically good; well-written; intelligently structured and played. This is the direction I would like to see The Faceless pursue more clearly. In Solitude best embodies their new found progressive leanings, yet being executed much more crisply than the trilogy we were treated with in the beginning. This here is a much softer track, which is not necessarily either a bad or a good thing mind you, but it is a pleasant surprise to see this band be able to execute it so soundly. I have the feeling that some people will be unopen to such a directional shift in theme, which I think is quite saddening when considering the rich and diverse fields of progress that has been laid open to them as a result. I remember waking up one morning, still unsure just how this album clicked with me, and having Accelerated Evolution come up in a random shuffle. I was immediately taken back when giving fresh ears to it. There is just so much of a concentrated aesthetic brilliance contained within both of these tracks. It's not so much that they necessarily owe themselves to originality, it's just that the cohesive whole is structurally significant and its contents written well enough that it doesn't matter. For example, the use of second-long musical break in Accelerated Evolution in interruption of a fast-paced rhythm is by no means some autonomous tactic, but it is incorporate well enough that it is a joy to experience nonetheless.

As previously mentioned, the lyrics perform their functional job just fine enough. They are by no means by the best, or even that good, but they stand aside from the illiterate crap that has flooded much of metal. I would have liked to see the themes like so expressed In Solitude expanded upon and become more commonplace in that style; the drive with which Keene likes to push his metaphilosophical naturalism is just ridiculous. There is clear headroom for some expansion here, but he seems passionate enough about it to the point that I am not holding my breath. What is most bizarre is that people seem inclined to intake the form of their lyrics entirely from the perspective of what lies on the surface. It is true that they seem to express a clearly determined content regardless of any structural spins, but people's criticisms of such lines like, "An age in which The Faceless will have to say, 'we told you so'," are unfounded in virtue of their assumption of what it is meant to expressively be. With lines such as "Praise science eternally," and "Accept science into your life," I wouldn't dare think that the irony is not lost on them. I choose to interpret such feats as being in mockery of religion that is yet facilitated through an underlying goal of uplifting empiricism and science.

Autotheism is an album that is worth your initiative honesty or at the very least your time. It doesn't have a stake in the purpose of appealing to everyone, an analysis that is assuredly withstanding their fanbase, but this all is ultimately a good thing. It seems that The Faceless are starting to truly explore their identity and have become better artists for it. I stand here hoping that they will continue in this new development trend, perhaps earning earn their place as distinguished, autonomous musicians that will venture on to herald many a great feats.


user ratings (594)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Daniel Davis (3.5)
    The Faceless have changed - not necessarily for the better, but they certainly have become...

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

    Michael Snoxall (2.5)
    Technical Death Metal progresses to new heights of mediocrity....

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

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


Comments:Add a Comment 
ViperAces
November 19th 2012



12376 Comments


album sucks

TBliss2
November 19th 2012



504 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lonnnng review

MichaelSnoxall
November 19th 2012



12163 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Yeah, album really gets worse over time. album blows.

MO
November 19th 2012



18257 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

total shit

Digging: Immolation - Dawn of Possession

ikarus
November 19th 2012



560 Comments


The more of keene's vocals I hear the worse this gets.

MikeC26
November 19th 2012



3146 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

it's kinda cool, but for the talent this band posses's a record of this mediocrity is unforgivable.

Animus
November 19th 2012



70 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review. It's sad that this cant live up to their older stuff.

XingKing
November 19th 2012



10045 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

God damn this review is long. This album really does suck though. The production on it is also really bad. Like really bad.

apert
November 19th 2012



2977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

best faceless album

Digging: Emperor - In the Nightside Eclipse

Animus
November 19th 2012



70 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah... No.

AfterTheBreakdown
November 19th 2012



7106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

not a chance.

DarthMann
November 19th 2012



13476 Comments


Album Rating: 4

not a chance.



i see

Wolfhorde
November 19th 2012



12070 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"
album sucks"
Agreed.

apert
November 19th 2012



2977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

you guys are wrong

DarthMann
November 19th 2012



13476 Comments


stfu

ViralOblivion
November 19th 2012



7679 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Album sucks

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
November 19th 2012



13529 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Album's okay, they just tried to do too many things at once.

Digging: Krusseldorf - Fractal World

DarthMann
November 19th 2012



13476 Comments


dxc

Wolfhorde
November 19th 2012



12070 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

.. or they just suck at them.

apert
November 19th 2012



2977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

best faceless album



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