I was extremely impressed by this awesome deubt album from The Faceless. I got “Akeldama” at FYE just last month after hearing the song “An Autopsy” on YouTube, and it quickly blew me away in an instant. This album just comes right out of nowhere and litteraly rips and smashes everything in it’s path just like that. It’s just brutal, vicious, hard-edged and in your face yet very technical and melodic in every sense of the way. There’s definately an outstanding mix of technicality and melody as well as savage brutality and aggression throughout this great album. The production on this album is outstanding and the musicianship is straight up tight and downright amazing. I would definately say The Faceless play pretty much in the same vein as Necrophagist does as far as technicality, progression and melody are concerned. These guys definately give Necrophagist a good run for their money let me tell you. Derek Rydquist has got an awesome vocal range, switching from monstrous and beastly low death metal growling to ear bleeding, throat piercing screams. They just sound excellent on here. The guitarwork courtesy of Michael Keene and Steve Jones is simply jaw-droppingly unbelievable throughout. The riffs are just heavy and insane and very technical, the breakdowns are really sick and crushing, and the solos just rip your bare flesh off, and they’re very melodic too. Michael Sherer’s keyboards really shine and soar, and they really add to the audio assault of this album. They have such a spacey, sci-fi-like feel which is really cool. Brandon Griffin’s bass is great, and he also does an awesome bass solo on the title track, and the drumming is very impressive and fast with lots of wicked blasting fills and wild machine gun-like double bass kicking throughout.
The blistering album opener “An Autopsy” is definately among one of the album’s best songs which is highlighted by insane and merciless double bass drumming, wickedly fast insane riffs, crazy keyboard effects, insane growling/screaming vocals, and there’s also a massive, crushing breakdown section around 2:25 which is followed by an awesomely ripping melodic guitar solo at 2:43. When I first heard that solo, I just laughed and grinned with amazement. Track two “Pestilence” is anohter favorite that boasts another awesome melodic guitar solo as well as more fantastic riffing and pounding blast beats, more monstrous growls and even some clean vocal parts with a wailing female falsetto harmony, and there’s also a crushing breakdown near the end with some sweep picks included. The title track “Akeldama” (which features some wierd robotic vocal narration in the beginning) is an amazingly mindblowing instrumental that showcases the band’s progressive and jazz-fushion influences, and it also features in my opinion, the best solo work on the album including three guitar solos (the first one is really amazing), along with a nice beautifully soaring keyboard solo after the first guitar solo, and there’s also a great bass solo from Brandon Griffin around 2:52, as well as an excellent drum solo that is broken up into extended fills. Other highlights on here include “Leica” which is highlighted by more deadly growling vocals, insane technical riffing, ripping double bass kicking and pummeling fills, and a cool, spacey keyboard part at 4:13 which leads to another killer melodic guitar solo at 4:22. I also like “All Dark Graves”, “Horizon of Chaos II: Hypocrisy”, and “The Ghost of a Stranger” is an excellent album closer as well.
Overall, “Akeldama” is an awesomely ripping, impressively crushing debut album from The Faceless, and it definately shows that they’re really indeed going places in the world of technical death metal, and they also have a new album out called “Planetary Duality” which I heard is awesome too, so I’ll be getting that one pretty soon. Anyways, this album is an absolute must have for any fan of death metal, technical death metal, progressive death metal, or just extreme music period. I also recommend this to fans of Necrophagist, Death (late period stuff), Atheist, Cynic, Pestilence, All Shall Perish, and Beneath The Massacre. Enjoy!!