The inevitable direction all deathcore bands take is trying and failing to become a technical death metal band. After initially building a following with creatively inept songs that are built around breakdown mosh parts, they start to get a big head and think their more competent musicians than they actually are. They take pages from the Necrophagist book of guitar wankery and then fall flat on their face as they lose their fanbase who just wanted breakdowns. Such is the case with the Faceless and their new album, In Becoming a Ghost.
I’ve never really had a problem with this band. They produced solid deathcore that was ambitious with its guitar work. Somewhere along the way, however, bandleader Michael Keene got a big head and wanted to take his band in a more technical route. That wasn’t enough for him, though. He decided to throw singing into the mix of guitar wank and guttural vocals. A totally unique direction that got them some praise for trying something and almost universal disdain for losing track of who their fans thought they were.
Those clean vocals are still on display here, and on nearly every track. I can’t really say they add a whole lot. Their serviceable, the guy can sing well enough, but they just don’t seem to flow well with the actual music. Speaking of which, the music here leaves much to be desired. The musicians here are mind-blowing in their level of talent. They just fall into the same trap as every technical death metal band: they can play real well but they can’t write a competent song to save their life.
These songs just don’t accomplish or convey a whole lot. They’re filled to the brim with crazy guitar and drum work, some really fucking corny interludes that sound like they’re from a horror movie soundtrack, but there isn’t a shred of soul or creativity on display here. It’s the problem I have with all of tech-death. You can play that instrument better than anyone, but if the songs you’re writing don’t have a hint of heart or soul you’ve failed as a musician.
My advice to all tech-death bands: go study Gorguts’ album Obscura to learn how to be technical but still write a song with heart and creativity. Stop riding on Necrophagist’s nutsack because they too have never written a decent song in their career. My advice to any metal fans who were on the fence about giving these guys another shot: don’t. It’s bad. If you only listen to metal for sick guitar, then this is right up your alley. But if that’s the kind of metal fan you are, I can’t recommend a shot of bleach enough. To everyone else, avoid this like the plague and go listen to some old school Gorguts.
In Becoming a Ghost gets a generous 3/5 from me.