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on February 23, 2007
Just happened to stumble upon The Faceless on myspace, heard 3 songs off the album, Pestilence, An Autopsy and The Ghost of a Stranger. I'm very please with the technical side, being that it isn't so technical that it becomes absurd, but there is enough to make you understand the capability of this band. The guitars are great, very precise riffing and pleasantly melodic solos. Dare I say they are in the same vain as Death, well you can hear influences anyway. As far as the bass player goes, lets just say that somewhere near the end of Ghost of a Stranger, he plays a bass riff that made my hairs on my arm stand up. Marco Pitruzzella does a great job on the drums with nice 64th note dbl bass, gravity blast beats, extremely fast fills. Great job guys, I can't wait to hear the rest of this album!
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on July 19, 2007
This cd is absolutelly jaw-dropping at points. This band can only be described as technical, yet senseable, brutal, yet beautiful, unbelievably off-tempo, yet always in time. This band goes from in your face death metal, to pure sludgy grind, back to hard and heavy and then, out of seemingly nowhere, smashes your face with melody, and its not just thrown in there for the hell of it.

I am a melodic death/progressive metal freak myself, so I was skeptical when I heard about this "Technical death" band. Most bands who are "technical" are technically crap. They make music that makes no sense just for the sake of making no sense and seeming to be on the edge of a revolution. This band NEVER goes too far. They have a very diverse mix of melody, technicallity, and hard-edged death/grind metal style. The only band I listen to who even compares (who they are actually friends with, btw) is All Shall Perish, which are also on, imho, the REAL forefront of the melodic death revolution. Someone mentioned an influence in a review I believe, Death, and it is quiet clear that these guys took it upon themselves to take Chuck's work and bring it beyond even his wildest dreams. My only regret is that its only 8 songs. I eagerly await the next slab of molten death from these guys, cuz it will rule the earth \m/

P.S. I defy you to find me tighter drumming than what is done on any song on this album, drumming that perhaps makes the entire cd worth what it is.
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on February 5, 2013
The Faceless are an incredible band. Some people find them strange at first because they are so PROGRESSIVE combined with Technical Death Metal. But their musicality and musicianship is amazing. They never play fast because they're "trying to play fast". They're not trying to impress. They have a beautiful music statement, and they are solely interested in that. They don't have any bad songs.
And Akeldama is so beautiful and free that you could almost play it for your jazz-loving uncle and he would love it too.....yet it still is Death, somehow. Check it out on youtube first, then buy.
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on August 16, 2013
It is difficult to make up one's mind about which to love for most on "Akeldama," the debut album from California-bred progressive/technical death metal champs The Faceless: The guitar work, the bass playing, or the drumming. All of them come into play and play an integral role in this album, but that can pretty much be expected when the songs are as insanely technical and complex as these. (You wouldn't expect any less coming from, say, Brain Drill, Origin, and/or Beneath The Massacre, now would you?)

The guitar work is just flat-out dizzying. Michael Keene and Steve Jones produce some shredding that is likely to get wanna-be axemen everywhere wanting to chop of their own hands in frustration -- yes, it is that unbelievably technical and fast. But they do come up with innumerable memorable parts, too, including great riffs and totally air-guitar-able solos. Elsewhere, the drumming is excellent, as well. Out of the four drummers that The Faceless used on this album (Andy Taylor, Bret Batdorf, Navene Koperweis, and Nick Pierce), none of them are household names, but one could certainly make a case for all them deserving to be in that they each come up with some really amazing stuff, here. And finally, bassist Brandon Griffin is also noteworthy because he comes up with some of the most technical and all-around astounding bass lines that money can buy.

With that said, though, "Akeldama" is also noteworthy from the keyboardist's perspective, as he turns out some symphonic black metal-influenced keyboard lines that are comparable to the likes of Born Of Osiris and Hollenthon. And top the whole thing off with some killer vocals (Derek Rydquist allows for just enough vocal variation over the course of these eight songs to produce memorable parts and refrains), and a crisp and thunderous production job, and the end result is easily one of the best extreme metal albums of 2006, and quite possibly said year's most impressive debut, as well.

Beginning with a bang, a mind-boggling drum intro slams into pummeling gravity-blast territory laced with blistering riffs. The guitar work is truly virtuosic, dizzying, and nearly seemingly impossible throughout the opener, "An Autopsy," as is evidenced by its fluid sweeps, blazing leads, and a beautiful, crystalline-sounding harmonic solo to end. "Pestilence" continues showing off the band's blistering ways, cranking out a smoke-inducing interplay between the machine-gun riffage and jackhammer-fast drum blasts. As a monotony breaker, the song slips in a ripping melodic guitar solo and tactful clean backing vocal line for good measure. But these things are then replaced by nimble-fingered guitar picking, frenetic blasting, and near goregrind-esque pig squeal vocals. Some thunderous breakdowns and a solid, grumbling bass bottom are also included, here.

And from that point on, from the all-out assault of grindcore brutality that is "All Dark Graves" (which is fueled by mind-blowing, gravity-defying drum fills, blowtorch buzzsaw riffing, and technical, melodic bass grooves), to the bass-driven closer that is "The Ghost Of A Stranger" (which is almost astounding from the bassist's point of view, as it features several excellent bass solos, propulsive fills, and technically-impressive, slapped bass lines), the uber-complex and technical death metal onslaught almost never relents. Almost. It does sporadically give the listener a chance to catch his or her breath through its use of Necrophagist-worthy, classical music-influenced melodical solos. And plus, the title song, is a huge standout track on account of it being an anomaly. This very epic, complicated, and progressive piece pushes the six minute mark as it weaves in some excellent bass soloing and even greater, and jazzier, prog-ish guitar soloing into its trippy mix of industrial-like, Cynic/"Catch 33"-era Meshuggah-reminiscent knick-knacks (including frequent cyber-esque clicks and splatters).

The album's two other biggest highlights are track numbers five and six, "Horizons Of Chaos: Hypocrisy" and "Leica." The former is highlighted by a mind-boggling introductory drum solo and a thin layer of near orchestral-sounding keyboards, as well as some extra harsh death metal growling and occasional metalcore-flavored breakdowns. And the latter blasts off with a bang, in true Faceless fashion, with fiery, chugging riffs and a hailstorm of cracking hyperblasts. A catchy, rhythmic, galloping beat is also included, here, as are several thunderous breakdowns. But "Leica" is mostly of note for featuring a section where it downshifts to nearly doomy and plodding territory. And all the while this is going on, the aforementioned frontman (Rydquist) is proving his worth as one of extreme metal's most elite new pig squealers, spilling out one Dying Fetus-esque burp after another on the microphone. The song also lets rip a couple of excellent, and deliciously clean guitar solos, including one especially sweet, mazy, winding, and jazzy solo that blends in perfectly with the tune's swift keyboard runs. This is all before, however, the track switches back to brutal, blast beaten deathgrind chaos.

So, as you can clearly see, "Akeldama" is one heckuva monster of an album! It is innovative and interesting/experimental enough to move the death metal, progressive metal, and grindcore genres forward while simultaneously being familiar-sounding enough to give all seasoned metalheads something tangible to sink their teeth into. With "Akeldama," it is easy to see why The Faceless are one of heavy music's most influential new bands. And thus, this record puts this band in good stead to give Carolina's Between The Buried And Me a healthy dose of competition for being one of the premier progressive-extreme metal groups of the new millennium.
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on November 17, 2006
Technical death metal is possibly my most favorite genre of music this day. The musicians can prove that they can break boundaries and fuse the extremities of death metal with the talent of jazz and classical music. The Faceless proves that this genre of music still has its high potential and can be executed well.

The percussion is excellent. The guitars are very technical and create a whole new dimension. The solos definitely draw out a neo-classical feel. There's definite classical infleunce. Vocal range is excellent. Every track is flawless, especially the mostly instrumental "Akeldama".

There is no moment to miss out here. If you enjoy the works of Atheist, Beneath The Massacre, Necrophagist, Cynic, and Theory In Practice, you need to pick this up!
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on December 7, 2006
Well, I saw this CD at my local music mart and I was like, "Damn they actually have this here??" I bought it before I even knew it. The Faceless is a fairly recent addition to the Technical Death genre and they do it very well. When I heard this CD, it made me think of Beneath the Massacre. They sound a lot alike and they both are extrememly heavy. Beneath the Massacre is above the Faceless in terms of complexity and heaviness, but they are pretty well matched. But in terms of melody, if you could call it that, or would even consider calling it that, The Faceless takes the medal. Anyways, you should definitely buy this CD, you will not be dissappointed. 5 stars all the way!
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on February 24, 2014
I first heard this album when my friend gave it to me. At first, it was a little too brutal for my taste, but it soon grew on me. After every listen I loved it more and more. It is incredibly jazzy, fast, and almost chaotic, but it all flows together to a masterpiece in my ears. I just had to buy the cd in order to enjoy the perfection in a flawless format.
To anyone who likes any metal: Get this album and give it a few play it a few times, try to hum along with it. Our minds will compress the chaos of The Faceless into beautiful melodies still unparalleled by anyone (including themselves).
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on May 23, 2009
I was extremely impressed by this awesome deubt album from The Faceless. I got "Akeldama" at FYE just last month after hearing the song "An Autopsy" on YouTube, and it quickly blew me away in an instant. This album just comes right out of nowhere and litteraly rips and smashes everything in it's path just like that. It's just brutal, vicious, hard-edged and in your face yet very technical and melodic in every sense of the way. There's definitely an outstanding mix of technicality and melody as well as savage brutality and aggression throughout this great album. The production on this album is outstanding and the musicianship is straight up tight and downright amazing. I would definitely say The Faceless play pretty much in the same vein as Necrophagist does as far as technicality, progression and melody are concerned. These guys definitely give Necrophagist a good run for their money let me tell you. Derek Rydquist has got an awesome vocal range, switching from monstrous and beastly low death metal growling to ear bleeding, throat piercing screams. They just sound excellent on here. The guitar work courtesy of Michael Keene and Steve Jones is simply jaw-droppingly unbelievable throughout. The riffs are just heavy and insane and very technical, the breakdowns are really sick and crushing, and the solos just rip your bare flesh off, and they're very melodic too. Michael Sherer's keyboards really shine and soar, and they really add to the audio assault of this album. They have such a spacey, sci-fi-like feel which is really cool. Brandon Griffin's bass is great, and he also does an awesome bass solo on the title track, and the drumming is very impressive and fast with lots of wicked blasting fills and wild machine gun-like double bass kicking throughout.

The blistering album opener "An Autopsy" is definitely among one of the album's best songs which is highlighted by insane and merciless double bass drumming, wickedly fast insane riffs, crazy keyboard effects, insane growling/screaming vocals, and there's also a massive, crushing breakdown section around 2:25 which is followed by an awesomely ripping melodic guitar solo at 2:43. When I first heard that solo, I just laughed and grinned with amazement. Track two "Pestilence" is another favorite that boasts another awesome melodic guitar solo as well as more fantastic riffing and pounding blast beats, more monstrous growls and even some clean vocal parts with a wailing female falsetto harmony, and there's also a crushing breakdown near the end with some sweep picks included. The title track "Akeldama" (which features some weird robotic vocal narration in the beginning) is an amazingly mind blowing instrumental that showcases the band's progressive and jazz-fusion influences, and it also features in my opinion, the best solo work on the album including three guitar solos (the first one is really amazing), along with a nice beautifully soaring keyboard solo after the first guitar solo, and there's also a great bass solo from Brandon Griffin around 2:52, as well as an excellent drum solo that is broken up into extended fills. Other highlights on here include "Leica" which is highlighted by more deadly growling vocals, insane technical riffing, ripping double bass kicking and pummeling fills, and a cool, spacey keyboard part at 4:13 which leads to another killer melodic guitar solo at 4:22. I also like "All Dark Graves", "Horizon of Chaos II: Hypocrisy", and "The Ghost of a Stranger" is an excellent album closer as well.

Overall, "Akeldama" is an awesomely ripping, impressively crushing debut album from The Faceless, and it definitely shows that they're really indeed going places in the world of technical death metal, and they also have a new album out called "Planetary Duality" which I heard is awesome too, so I'll be getting that one pretty soon. Anyways, this album is an absolute must have for any fan of death metal, technical death metal, progressive death metal, or just extreme music period. I also recommend this to fans of Necrophagist, Death (late period stuff), Atheist, Cynic, Pestilence, All Shall Perish, and Beneath The Massacre. Enjoy!!
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on August 6, 2007
Let me start by saying that I'm not a heavy listener of the genres related to the faceless. I dislike grindcore, and don't care for death metal. The only music I listen to that is remotely related to The Faceless is Opeth and fusion jazz. That said, this is the most brutal, cathartic, savage album I've ever heard. I'm aware there are other bands out there that are just as heavy and brutal, but honestly, they bore me. The technical sophistication of this album is amazing, the rhythm section are virtuosos, and the sound is extremely clean and tight for a six piece band, making me shocked that the lineup varies between songs. When you can still hear the bass through blast beats, brutal riffs, death growling and soaring keyboards, you know it's good stuff. The most amazing thing technically speaking though is hearing the drummer switch tempos and time signatures perfectly, as well as injecting and switching up blistering blast beats and fills with perfect accuracy (and without triggers to help, I hear). The riffs are savage, the breakdowns are brutal, the melodic solos and keyboard work is amazing, and even the growling and screaming, which I tend to dislike, is really well done. My favorite song is the title track, which is different to the rest of the album. I don't even really know how to describe it, except by noting that it's the only song on the album that's really structured and lacks any breakdowns. It's just an amazing, forward moving instrumental with the best solo work on the album. It showcases the progressive and fusion influences of the band most. The drum solo work is broken up into extended fills, and the bass solo has interesting comping from one of the guitars. The album as a whole switches from brutal deathcore riffs to soaring climactic metal with changeups and breakdowns all over the place. The band even manages to inject interesting vocal work to this genre, switching between death growls and screams, and best - simultaneous layered death growls and screams. The song Pestilence even has singing with a wailing falsetto harmony. I can't understand the lyrics at all, but I hear they're stupid, not that the lyrics in tech deathcore matter. I think the best thing about the Faceless is the way they take the brutal intensity of deathcore and make it climactic and interesting with influences from older metal (I heard some Maiden in there), fusion, oriental and classical metal inspired melodies, and progressive elements. They don't go too prog though, the solos are short and sweet, and the album never gets boring or repetetive. In short, get this album, it is the epitome of musical catharsis.
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on March 7, 2009
This is a very tight recording. It sounds really good. Every member of the band contributes flawlessly to the overall picture. It is very technical and kick-a$$. Some parts are similar to the work of Necrophagist, so if you like them, you'll probably like Akeldama. The only downside to this album is the length of it. I would have been more satisfied with a few more songs in the same vein. But that is a small complaint, and won't be enough to warrant a lower rating. Akeldama is my introduction to The Faceless. I was drawn to it by album samples on another website and the reviews here at Amazon. Overall I am very pleased with it and plan to buy "Planetary Duality" as well. The Faceless is a very talented band!
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