The Faceless – In Becoming A Ghost

After quite a bit of lineup changes and delays, The Faceless finally return with their 4th album. This showcases a very different side of the band, and even has some writing from Justin McKinney, which adds a nice element to this new music.

Digging The Grave: opens with very dissonant and abrasive instrumentation, combined with very “black metal,” styled vocals. At a certain point, there’s a change of pace, where there are some clean vocals, combined with their signature “7-7-2 groove,” that they love to use. Definitely a tribute to Autotheism here. There’s also a Planetary Duality tribute that happens during the rhythm part behind one of the solos. It reminds me of the beginning of “Ancient Covenant.” This will tickle the pickle of old school The Faceless fans, for sure!

Black Star: opens with some pretty proggy riffing. It’s followed up by some cool interchanging vocals, bouncing from clean to harsh. The middle section has that Autotheism thing going on again with the clean vocals, and a 7/8 feel. There are cool new elements sprinkled in the track too.

Cup Of Mephistopheles: opens with a bit of a more old school 80’s electronic vibe. This track stands out a lot to me. There’s a lot of cool variations. It has The Faceless experimenting with new ideas. It has a nice eerie feel to it, in general.

The Spiraling Void is about the closest they get to the Planetary Duality sound on the album. With the instrumentation, and vocals being lower growls, as opposed to black metal styled vocals… you’ll see what I mean. This track has some more traditional Prog Metal elements as well.

The Terminal Breath opens with a cool lick that gets used a few times, that is very familiar in Michael Keene’s playing. This track is a cool way for them to close the album, with some Cynic vibes going on throughout the song. Great soloing in here. There’s some atmospheric black metal vibes showing up, that kind of drive the point home that they are changing direction.

There’s a lot of new ideas on this album, combine with signature elements that a long time fan of The Faceless will identify with.



Asking Alexandria – Asking Alexandria

In the modern rock/metal scene Asking Alexandria continues to gain popularity and following the reunion with longtime vocalist Danny Worsnop the band is ready to accomplish much more with the eponymous new album.

“Alone In A Room” starts with somber vibes and crispy sound clarity before engaging in an energetic mixture of heartfelt melodic guitars and modern electro synths layers that eventually lead to a big memorable chorus.

“Into The Fire” skillfully blends familiar crushing metalcore guitar driven dynamics and widely accessible melodies while vocals smoothly shift between unrestrained enraged screams and particularly passionate clean delivery surrounded by a flamboyant series of groovy electro arrangements.

“When The Lights Come On” sounds particularly radio friendly focusing on bright easy melodic instrumental passages carrying delicate darkened nuances yet the main vibrant grooves owe their remarkable strength to a super catchy ensemble of electro layers.

On “Vultures” the bands puts aside chunky distortions to deliver an acoustic piece that simply focuses on an impressive vocal performance channeling introspective feelings and enjoyable melancholic tonalities.

Starting with subtle atmospheric quality “Eve” quickly becomes loud and slightly ferocious with cohesive gritty metalcore style guitar riffing and quite angered screams but doesn’t refrain from providing a fair amount of rock catchiness in the smooth chorus.

“I Am One” confidently delivers fierce guitar driven grooves with a bit of punk rebellion attitude while the multi-layered electro arrangements constantly evoke darker dramatic tones and the dazzling atmospheric melodies add stylish diversity.

Overall, on this self-titled effort Asking Alexandria maintain a mainstream approach but seem to have refined their songwriting skills and definitely display great band chemistry resulting in a sincerely passionate work of music.