It’s a rare sight seeing a band completely transform after only releasing two albums prior and replacing your vocalist only to have it all turn out in the end for the better. Autotheism is The Faceless’ third full-length and first with new vocalist Geoffrey Ficco who fills the role of front-man perfectly. It’s hard to believe that 4 years have past since The Faceless released Planetary Duality all the way back in 2008.
One thing that is immediately noticeable is the fact The Faceless have gone for a more disjointed progressive metal sound. While this isn’t a bad thing, it does pose some very serious questions; who are The Faceless and what kind of band do they want to be? While Autotheism is leaps and bounds ahead of Planetary Duality in terms of musicianship and song-writing, it feels heavily fragmented, like the album is going in so many different directions it gets a little overwhelming.
The opening track, “Autotheist Movement I: Create” starts off dramatic like an RPG game music score and then breaks open into an Opeth like track with prog metal clean vocals. The second track, “Autotheist Movement II: Emancipate” which is a continuation then goes in a technical death metal oriented direction sounding like the kind of intensity and discordant guitar work you’d expect from Between The Buried and Me and then out of nowhere samples of babies crying start playing.
The production on Autotheism eclipses anything else The Faceless have released in a good way. What you get on Autotheism is the same kind of production you’d expect from other bands who have been doing the whole progressive metal thing longer. The guitars at times perhaps sound a little too sterile, the drums a little too overbearing in the cymbal department and the keyboards/sinister synths that make random appearances on the album sound a little too loud in places.
Although Autotheism has some impressive moments and the band have evolved from a chaotic band driven by blast-beats and technical for the sake of being technical guitar work into a unit that works as one not afraid of using clean guitar and singing (Michael Keene has one hell of a voice) as a whole the album doesn’t feel cohesive at all, in-fact the Autotheism as a whole sounds like a big mess of songs that have no definitive start or end, throwing curve balls at you left, right and centre.
Autotheism sounds like a collection of experiments, random parts that sound like they were trying to appease to Planetary Duality fans and other parts that sound like they’ve been listening to Pink Floyd and Between The Buried and Me records a little too much. I don’t think The Faceless know what direction they want to head in as a band just yet. As disjointed as this record is, it’s still a great record and in terms of production coupled with the impressive weird moments musically you get the kitchen sink thrown at you on this album.
Rating: 8 out of 10.