The Faceless - Planetary Duality (Sumerian/Stomp)

Where The Faceless could have brought us an album that was very much same-same, and boring at that, they've managed to mix it up a bit on this release to keep you interested. It's an enjoyable listen, but it's far from stellar.


The Faceless were recently in Australia on the Summer Slaughter tour. Unfortunately, due to tardiness, I missed the majority of their set - which killed me because I had wanted to see these guys do their thing live.


Their latest album, Planetary Duality, is an interesting beast. In the first instance, it's rather far along the extremity continuum, as many albums that get boring quickly are as well. The Faceless do what they do very well: it's a good, tight performance on this album, and despite a propensity to slow down and get chunky, like they want to play breaks but can't quite bring themselves to do it, I rather like it.


That's not to say that this album is not without its drawbacks. There are synth voices on this release that are fine for the first two seconds but get old fast - and they're on more than one track. Yes, fair enough, the album is titled Planetary Duality, but the old synth-voices-for-space-sound is a bit '80s and totally cliched. Need I state that it grated like hell? 


The other thing is that the band's slower, chunkier elements align the sound closer to that metalcore-with-breaks mentality. That's ok in and of itself, especially given the band's stated genre blend of technical death/metalcore; but what it does is that it encourages a band to give clean vocals a go. If you can sing, fine. If you can't, don't try. Please? It's painful to listen to. There is nothing worse than shitty flat vocals, however enthusiastically done, and on Coldly Calculated Design, track four, I have to admit that this very thing made me cringe.


Of course, two minor elements in an album like this isn't bad. Planetary Duality is a good, though not particularly memorable album, and for some well-executed technical death it's pretty good. It's a mid-range album - a long way from being close to the best of the year - but it's an enjoyable listen nonetheless.


I will just add one more thing, though: if you're going to run out and buy the release, wait until the Australian Tour Edition is out, will you? If you do, you'll score bonus tracks!


The Faceless's Planetary Duality is out now on Sumerian/Stomp.