The Faceless - _Planetary Duality_
(Sumerian Records, 2009)
by: Jackie Smit (8 out of 10)
For just a split-second the onslaught of hyper-technical riffing and unhinged death grunts that make up the opening strains of _Planetary Duality_ may lead you to believe that this is just another stock confection to drop off death core's increasingly rusty conveyer belt. But no sooner has blasting given way to a formulaic, albeit brief, beatdown for what the Californian quintet nosedive into a progressive flurry that would make the lads in Zero Hour blush bright red. Indeed, while The Faceless would never be booed off stage at a Despised Icon gig, there's a level of intricacy and songwriting depth present here that goes far beyond your average skinny jeans-sporting, starter outfit. They're plenty ambitious too, their concept of choice bearing more than a whiff of sci-fi metal classics like _Thresholds_ and _Rrröööaaarrr_. Not that it ever comes to taking away from the music of course -- songs like "Coldly Calculated Design" and "Sons of Belial" will strip the skin off your extremities with all the finesse and intelligence of a chess grandmaster, and even if later tracks don't bear quite the same lustre, there's more than enough here to suggest that The Faceless are a band that are seriously worth keeping tabs on.


(article published 24/2/2009)

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