Between dropping off tours and not putting out a new album for years, The Faceless have found themselves at the brunt of many jokes. Getting tossed in with the likes of Tool and Necrophagist, many folks were starting to think that the band would never get around to putting out another record. But here we are, five years later, and the band has officially released their fourth studio album In Becoming A Ghost (Sumerian). When it comes to such highly anticipated releases that have taken years to come out, one fear immediately comes to mind… Will it be any good after all this time?
In Becoming A Ghost is the first record to include the joint powers of Michael Keene (lead guitar, clean vocals, bass, keyboard, among other instruments), Justin McKinney (rhythm guitar), and Ken “Sorceron” Bergeron (lead vocals). It’s in this version of The Faceless where the band have crafted their tightest musicianship within their career. The band includes various levels of technicality throughout the album, presenting a well-balanced composition that is heavy and entertaining. Throughout the album’s 10 tracks comes a spread of sounds and styles that do a superb job of keeping the energy consistently interesting. Both vocalists exude a dark and poetic nature to their voices, Sorceron providing the brutality, and Keene bringing in the emotion.
After a chilling introduction, the album begins with “Digging The Grave”. The track erupts with a flurry of drum beats, the guitar flying away in flourishes of dissonant tones. Towards the end of the song, there comes this segment of blast beats and alien-like vocals that cry with insanity. Altogether, the song makes for a stellar opening, ending things with a playful flute progression that flies alongside blasting drums and rampant guitar work. “Black Star” and “The Spiraling Void” both provide a great energy to the album. Each song displays a range of melodic elements and vocal patterns that add a cosmic atmosphere to their structure. The guitar in “Black Star” rides to a colorful rhythm as the bass pumps away, with the drumming and vocals of “The Spiraling Void” ranging in their technicality. The guitar in “The Spiraling Void” shifts with various inflections, presenting a range of sounds that are radiant and dark.
“Cup of Mephistopheles” begins with a minimal lingering that looms with a somber aura. Keene’s vocals are haunting, as he sings the lines, “Nothing affects me/ No one to rush me/ When I’m laying in my six-foot-hole.” The song bursts into a dark theatric flow, dropping bits of gothic flavoring into the sound. The drumming rips with black metal style, adding a cold emotion to the work. The track rings with sinister appeal, offering strong Abigail Williams vibes thanks to the shredding guitar and Sorceron’s vocals. “Shake The Disease” is actually a Depeche Mode cover, and makes for an entertaining track. The instrumentals shift from creepy tones, to a more upbeat carnival-like brightness. In particular, Keene’s vocals introduce this really stunning effect that is both powerful and elegant. The only weird moment in the record is an interlude that comes towards the end. It’s really short, and doesn’t add anything to the album. That being said, this one moment doesn’t hurt the overall record.
After five long years, and with numerous lineup changes and other speed bumps along their journey, The Faceless is able to come together and craft an excellent work of art. The record offers a range of emotion through its instrumental and vocal technicality. In Becoming A Ghost is a magnificent work of sinister mysteries and pure artistry. With the release of In Becoming A Ghost, The Faceless prove that they haven’t lost anything after all these years, but have only grown, displaying astonishing musicianship.