Jul 172012

This morning, Sumerian Records announced that they will release the new album by The FacelessAutotheism — on August 14. Pre-orders are now being taken at this site.

Four years have passed since the band’s last release, and yet few details about the new album’s the progress have surfaced until recently. Now that there’s finally an official release date — with less than a month to go before the album drops — I presume we’ll get a quick roll-out of promotional teasers. That roll-out began this morning with the release of the album art and a brief video. There’s no music in the video until the closing seconds, but even that will probably be enough to get the die-hard fans all slobbery.

2012 has already seen many high-quality tech-death releases, with the albums by Gorod and Spawn of Possession leading the pack (in your humble editor’s humble opinion). With four years of time for The Faceless to plan this new release, expectations for Autotheism will be high. The bar has been raised. With this long running start, we’ll find out soon whether The Faceless can jump over it.

Catch the teaser video after the jump. Also after the jump (thanks to Utmu), we’ve got the album art and release date for that new Krallice album we blogged about just yesterday. Continue reading »

Dec 142011

Yeah, it’s kinda late in the day for another post, but I just saw a press release about a new tour running from March 15 through April 21 of next year that I thought was worth talking about. This tour had been forecast previously, but now we have a concrete schedule. Here’s the line-up:

The Faceless
Dying Fetus
Job For A Cowboy
3 Inches of Blood
Impending Doom

Why is this interesting? Well, first of all, it should be loaded with new music. The Faceless is currently putting the finishing touches on its third album for a tentative February release on Sumerian. Stands to reason that they’ll be performing songs from that album. I’ll be curious to hear it, because guitarist Michael Keene has described the CD as “the most musical and progressive record we’ve made” and says the songs will be more focused “on musicality and making an expressive, unique, moody and expansive record.”

On top of that, Dying Fetus is currently recording a new album. It’s not projected for release until the middle of next year on Relapse, but they will clearly be finished with the recording before hitting the road on this tour, and so we can expect new songs from them, too. And that’s not all. Continue reading »

May 262011

(NCS writer Andy Synn packed a lot into a May 17 show in Leicester, England — a review of the show, an interview of Gorod, and today an interview of Michael Keene, guitarist and song-writer par excellence of The Faceless. I’m biased, but I really enjoyed reading this, and there’s a lot of revealing info in it, too. But mainly I wonder how Andy got this interview after he explained he was from a site called NO CLEAN SINGING.)

On the same Leicester stop where I was lucky enough to interview Gorod, I also had the opportunity to grab The Faceless’ guitar shredding master-mind Michael Keene for an interview of his own.

Reading the transcript you’ll get some insight into the man himself, his goals and influences, see how we bonded over a shared love of Extol, and get his thoughts on how it feels to be the only death metal band on a non-death metal label. All this plus some of the conceptual and lyrical influences which will be present on the next record!

Ok, so how’s the tour been for you and the band so far?

MK: Well this is the fifth date of the tour and it’s been amazing. I think 3 of the 5 shows so far have sold out. It’s been awesome. Every show.

How about things with the other bands?

MK: It’s been super-fun. I’ve know Born Of Osiris and Veil Of Maya for a long time now, and spent a lot of time with both of them. I’ve recorded both of them at different times. Two albums with Veil Of Maya in fact. And we’ve toured with both of them several times. So it’s just really fun being with both of them together and, like… it’s been such a long time coming for the three of us to be together on the same tour, just because we’re all friends and it’s been overdue, both personally and musically.  (more after the jump . . . ) Continue reading »

May 202011

(NCS writer Andy Synn has been burning up his keyboard this week. Today we’re featuring Andy’s review of live performances by The Faceless, Born of Osiris, Veil of Maya, and Gorod in Leicester, England, on May 17, 2011.)

Leicester’s Sub91 is a nice venue. It was my first time there and I was definitely impressed. The layout is spacious but focussed, with a well-positioned sound-desk, a nice-sized bar at the rear of the venue and a large, open stage which provides a good space for the band as well as a clear viewing area for the audience to watch. A perfect venue for tonight’s tech-tacular spectacular.

First up were French Jazz-Tech-Metallers Gorod, who quickly get down to business with a bruising, thrashy assault of complicated riffs and complex song structures. New singer Julien Deyres supplemented the more traditional death growls with an additional hardcore/thrash bark thrown in for good measure, whilst drummer Samuel Santiago performed as an obscenely tight machine on the drums, potentially the best drummer on the entire bill, handling the multitude of timing and tempo changes with ease, while maintaining an unrelenting pace throughout.

Guitarists Mathieu Pascal and Nicolas Alberny were reasonably static presences throughout, capably delivering impressively technical trade-offs and hook-filled tech-riffs with aplomb, while occasionally dropping down for a good old-fashioned headbang, which only served to reinforce the old-school 80’s thrash vibe of their performance. Think Atheist, Sadus, Martyr, but with a more modern, tech-ed up and souped out extreme metal edge.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

May 112011

This post is what we consider a “public service announcement”. In other words, we’re informing you of something that we know many of you will be interested in learning — but not because we’re recommending it to you.

Within approximately the last hour, The Faceless posted a “pre-production preview” of a new song called “The Eidolon Reality”, which will appear on the band’s next album, due sometime this fall. This is not the final mastered version of the track. I’m not sure why the band (or Sumerian) decided to release this instead of waiting until completion of mastering, but they did.

Fans of technical death metal have mixed opinions about The Faceless. We here at NCS are fans of technical death metal, and we liked Akeldema and, to a lesser extent, Planetary Duality. But to be honest, this new song made me cringe. Literally. Cringe.  I even have a hard time developing an opinion about the instrumental work and the growly vocals because the song includes some truly bad clean singing. There. I said it. Go past the jump and listen for yourselves.  Be forewarned, I think the YouTube clip is set to begin playing automatically. Continue reading »

Apr 212011

(Brutalitopia is a great name for a metal blog. If we’d thought of it first, you might be reading “Brutalitopia” right now. But instead of us, two other dudes thought up the name, and they’ve put together some great content to go along with it, too. Check that site now if you never have before (use this link). Today, in response to our appeal for help, Brutalitopia Jack has contributed the following thought-provoking guest post.)

Historically speaking, trends and styles tend to occur in phases. This is certainly true for music, and putting metal under the microscope is a great test of this theory; NWOBHM was the representative blueprint of heavy music in the late 1970s, thrash was the mid-80s, and death metal reigned right around the time Metallica sold out. As for the current era, there’s little doubt that heavier progressive acts have assumed dominion for the foreseeable future.

The intriguing situation with prog, however, is the labyrinthine absorption of various sounds and styles that so conspicuously distinguishes itself in today’s muddled scene. Listeners and critics alike often refer to groups as dissimilar as Opeth and Mastodon as progressive, and no issue is made of it. Some argue that the label “progressive” should be understood less as a genre and more as a descriptor of approach and stylistic ethos, but that’s a discussion for another day. The fact remains that progressive metal is at the forefront and will be for some time.

The logical and fanatical question then becomes this; as we enter the second decade of the new millennium, will the burgeoning progressive metal frontier yield a Big Four like Thrash once did? The short answer (at least to this guy) is no. And that’s only because we’ll simply never see a collective reaction to such a limited number of bands ever again; the digital age makes it impossible for even 40 bands to hold the attention of the whole metal community. But while we likely won’t be able to point at four groups as the unquestioned, paramount torchbearers of metal in the 2010s at the end of the decade, it’s not a futile enterprise to attempt to identify four that could really break into the forefront in the next several years. Essentially, fuck everything I just said and put on your pretending caps.  (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Sep 022010

Sometimes you can admire the idea of beauty from afar, even when you have no chance of experiencing it for yourself. It’s a melancholy kind of fantasy. It’s sublime, and it’s wistful at the same time. It makes you wish, for a moment and maybe longer, that you were someone else, in some different place.

We had that moment today. We have that moment almost every day, prompted by one thing or another. But it passes, as it must, because life must go on, and no good comes from pining too long over what might have been.

Today’s moment was provoked by finding out, finally, about where the following metal tour would be stopping in North America. It will be called THE DECIBEL DEFIANCE TOUR 2010. It is a thing of immense and terrible beauty. It features these bands:


The thought of this tour transports us into flights of ecstasy, as if soaring high above the earth with all of creation spread before us for the taking. In other words, for our tastes, it’s the most fucking skull-rattling, ass-kicking, intestinally perforating tour of the fall.

It’s also a very melancholy discovery. For all the flights of mental fancy, it brings us very low. At the end, it’s an excrutiacingly suck-tastic discovery. Can you guess why?  (more whining after the jump, of course . . .) Continue reading »

Aug 242010

This is the second part of a two-part post about the SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour’s performances in Seattle and Portland on August 20 and 21. In Part 1, we gave our impressions about the music and posted photos of about half the bands performing in Seattle.

Today, we have a random assortment of observations about our two days of metal in the Pacific Northwest, plus photos of all the bands at the show in Portland.

None of us here at NCS know what the fuck we’re doing with a camera. We like to justify our ineptitude by telling ourselves it’s just like the DIY ethic of underground metal. We also like to make excuses that divert attention from our complete lack of training, such as the constantly changing or almost non-existent light, the non-stop motion on stage, the distance from which we’re taking the photos, and — most important — the fact that we go to shows to listen to the fucking music, not to take photos, so there’s a limit to how much time we’re going to spend snapping away like a fucking tourist.

But, despite our manifold shortcomings as photojournalists, we think these pics are just barely good enough to share, so we’re sharing them — a lot of them, since 11 bands played in Portland and we didn’t miss out on any of them.  (after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Aug 232010

This year’s edition of THE SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour was a celebration of death metal in some of its more brutal and technical flavors — and one out-of-place wild card that stole the show. In this case, “stealing the show” is a relative term, because the line-up of bands was so strong.

In fact, with allowances for the extremity of our musical tastes here at NCS, this was as consistently solid a line-up, from start to finish, as any tour in recent memory: Vital Remains, Animals As Leaders, Carnifex, Decrepit Birth, Cephalic Carnage, Veil of Maya, The Red Chord, All Shall Perish, The Faceless, and Decapitated.

In fact, we were so stoked about this tour that we decided to see it both in Seattle last Friday and again in Portland the next day. The tour’s last show is in San Francisco tonight, so we were catching the bands near the end of a long summer haul that no doubt wore them out. But you couldn’t tell that from the way they played. If we didn’t have day jobs and were closer to SF, we’d be tempted to take in a third performance — it was that good.

As usual, we took a crapload of photos at both performances. And in fact, most of them are crap. But we’ve been painstakingly sorting through them to find the least crappy ones that we wouldn’t be too embarrassed to share.

So, today, we’ve got some high-level reactions to what we heard from all the bands, plus photos from the Seattle tour stop. Tomorrow (now at this location), we’ll have some random observations about the scene and the crowds and a few other thoughts that aren’t really in the nature of a review, plus the best photos from the Portland show (which are a bit better than the ones we’re posting today).  (continue after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Aug 222010

Really a slow start here at NCS today. The three of us who put this thing together piled into a van at the crack of dawn yesterday and drove from Seattle to Portland, got settled in to the place where we were staying, and showed up early for the start of the SUMMER SLAUGHTER tour.

About 9 1/2 hours later, we stumbled out of The Roseland Theater with aching body parts and heads filled with a complete deluge of metal. By the time we got something to eat and made it back to where we were staying, it was a really late night. And now it’s a really late morning.

The show was stupendously good, with no real weak spots in the performances from start to finish and lots of high points. We took a gazillion photos that will take some time to sort through and edit. We’ll put up the best of the bunch as soon as we can, along with photos we took when this same tour was in Seattle two nights ago.

For now, The Faceless is on my mind. I thought their performance and Animals As Leaders’ were the best of a very strong night. So, until we get our shit better together and put up a more complete post for today, there’s some Faceless music after the jump and a few more photos of the band performing last night in Portland. Continue reading »