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Album Reviews : The Faceless – Planetary Duality

By on February 22, 2009

Knowing that I would be seeing them play on the Summer Slaughter tour, and hearing nothing but good things from a friend, I decided I should buy this, the second album from ‘Progressive Death Metal’ band, The Faceless.

I was pleasantly surprised, while doing my pre-buying research, to discover that The Faceless are keen on science fiction themes, which I thought made a nice change from the more common lyrical themes of zombies, murder, Vikings, sacrifice, revolution, serial killers etc. Planetary Duality is a concept album, the narrative being that mankind has been controlled from it’s very beginnings by ‘extra-dimensional beings’ and that, since then, humans have been limited by these beings, forced to do their bidding. The album has a fantastic narrative if nothing else, but it would be an injustice to focus too much on the fantastic lyrical content of Planetary Duality when the music is so amazing.

Vocally, the gutturals are, by and large, very rhythmically precise but fairly standard in terms of pitch. There are a few exceptions to this, the main one being “Sons of Belial”, which features the best death metal vocal part I have ever heard. Of note, too the occasional bursts of clean vocals, which provide an interesting break up to the guttural vox. The guitar parts throughout this album are varied and interesting, “Legion of the Serpent” featuring some fairly simple-sounding but never-the-less entrancing and “Xenochrist” a fantastic, dynamic solo.

The rhythm section of this band deserves as much, if not more praise than the ‘melodic’ section. The precise rhythmic changes, pauses and chugging guitar make the album what it is, “Sons of Belial”, again, is a fantastic example of this, particularly at the beginning, where the growls and rhythm intertwine so well, playing off each other, each complimenting the other and heightening it, fantastic stuff.

I have only two tiny criticisms of this album: First, no matter how much weird synthy alien voices might fit into the theme of the album, they will continue to annoy me and, for me at least, interrupt a great song or be something of an anticlimax. Second, it’s too short, every time I get to the end of that half hour I wish it was another half hour long, but, as is rightly said, quality not quantity.

Planetary Duality is that album that gets better every time you listen to it. It is one of my absolute favourite releases from 2008 among a lot of brilliant competition. If you like death metal, scratch that, if you like metal you should go out and buy this album, right now. 9.5/10

For fans of: Necrophagist, Psycroptic, Dream Theater, Nile

Band: The Faceless
Album: Planetary Duality
Year: 2008
Genre: Progressive Death Metal
Label: Sumerian Records
Origin: California, USA
myspace.com/thefaceless

Track listing:
1.Prison Born
2.The Ancient Covenant
3.Shape Shifters
4.Coldly Calculated Design
5.XenoChrist
6.Sons of Belial <- Reviewer’s Choice
7.Legion of the Serpent
8.Planetary Duality I : Hideous Revelation
9.Planetary Duality II : A Prophecies Fruition

Reviewed by Tris

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