The Faceless
In Becoming a Ghost


3.5
great

Review

by Brendan Schroer USER (132 Reviews)
December 16th, 2017 | 351 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A surprising step up.

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.



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user ratings (189)
Chart.
3
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other reviews of this album
Panzerchrist (2)
In Becoming A Ghost has something interesting to say, but it's all mumbles and incoherence underneat...



Comments:Add a Comment 
DivergentThinking
December 15th 2017


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

P.S. that album cover is fucking abysmal

Evok
December 15th 2017


7728 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

That 3.5 burns my eyes.

Digging: S.P.Y. - Dubplate Style

bloc
December 15th 2017


57069 Comments


Yeah I got this at 3.5 too, nice work. I was surprised by how enjoyable this was.

Honestly the album cover keeps reminding me of those ghost ropes from Donkey Kong Country 2 lol



Digging: Ultravox - Vienna

DivergentThinking
December 15th 2017


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks bloc. I'm surprised this never got a review

Evok
December 15th 2017


7728 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

I have a much less favorable one half-written but Im refraining from pursuing it further lol. This one reads really well anyway. Pos'd m/

DivergentThinking
December 15th 2017


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

You should write it, man. It's always good hearing contrasting opinions on something :]

BlackMalachite
December 15th 2017


3711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Album rules, that fucking flute solo in Digging the Grave gets my dick hard.

Have a pos m8

DatBeefPudding
December 15th 2017


1918 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i would love this if keene's clean vocals weren't absolutely dreadful

BlackMalachite
December 15th 2017


3711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I like Keene's clean vocals quite a bit though.

DivergentThinking
December 15th 2017


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

They're alright, just kinda overbearing and featured too much

BlackMalachite
December 15th 2017


3711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Probably why this is a 4 for me, I didn't find them to be overbearing at all. My only gripe with this was that the guitar and drum tones sounded a bit thin for my taste in places.

Lucifer
December 15th 2017


141 Comments


Should i dig this band?

bloc
December 15th 2017


57069 Comments


I love the cleans

The overall production is very brittle sounding though yeah

ConcubinaryCode
December 15th 2017


4749 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice to see these guys came out of limbo. I liked planetary duality and autotheism was OK. I'll give this a listen soon.

DivergentThinking
December 15th 2017


6226 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, this lands somewhere between Autotheism and Planetary Duality for me. I do prefer Planetary Duality to this, but it does come close in spots

BlackMalachite
December 16th 2017


3711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Where should I jump in on jamming the rest of this band's discography first?

BlackwaterPork
December 16th 2017


4390 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

No, no it really isn’t that good

Pos nonetheless

suppatime
December 16th 2017


1449 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this should have a higher rating than autotheism but it's still not great

Digging: Midlake - Bamnan and Slivercork

Kusangii
December 16th 2017


2359 Comments


Heard one song of this. Hated it.

DePlazz
December 16th 2017


1579 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Review is well written, but you're giving this way too much credit imo



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