Having spent many years away from the UK and having a number of tour cancellations, The Faceless finally return to Manchester in support of their brand new album In Becoming a Ghost.
First on stage North Eastern Deathcore outfit Osiah. While their brand of seemingly simplistic Deathcore works for some, it feels strange that they would open for a band that relies on technical proficiency and complex arrangements. Despite that, they put on a good show and got a frustrated crowd engaged with their liberal use of breakdowns that managed to somehow become heavier with each use. With any luck the band will return to Manchester once their second album is released, whenever that may be.
The Faceless finally appeared on stage opening with the ominous cleans introduction of ‘Sons of Belial’ before leading into an incredibly tight syncopated riff and eventually their trademark assault. Every single member plays with such intensity and dedication to their instrument that it seems almost inhuman that people could play this as perfectly as they can.
The band attempted to play ‘The Spiralling Void’, due to The Faceless having no touring bass player they have to rely on a recording and because of faulty equipment they had to stop playing and start again a few times. While guitarist Michael Keene tried to set up the bass track, the vocalist tried to keep the crowd as engaged as possible, even asking “how many of you didn’t think we’d show up tonight?”, a reference to the tour cancellations over the years which shows that the band have a sense of humour about themselves.
Eventually, they decided to come back to the song later in the set and began playing ‘The Autotheist Movement I: Create’ . This was easily the highlight of the evening, words fail to describe how incredible it was to hear the dark brooding introduction before it lead into the furious tremolo picked introduction of ‘The Autotheist Movement II: Emancipate’. Which also showcases some phenomenal drumming from the most recent addition to their lineup, Bryce Butler, who plays some of the most intense and complex double bass passages in the history of death metal as if he was playing Seven Nation Army.
This monolithic prog epic concludes with ‘The Autotheist Movement III: Deconsecrate’, a strange song that balances bizarre instrumental passages comprised of what I can only describe as “carnival music”. Michael Keene’s clean vocals (which sound eerily similar to Devin Townsend at certain points) lead to one of the rarest instances of technical death metal, lyrics the crowd can sing along to, before leading into a devastating and purposely repetitive riff.
All these elements mixed together make for one of the best death metal songs of the decade. It’s the perfect blend of technical, heavy and progressive and is worth seeing The Faceless just to witness ‘The Autotheist Movement’ in its entirety
Due to whatever restrictions the band faced, the set was incredibly brief and would have ended after the following two songs from ‘Planetary Duality’ which were also the biggest songs in their repertoire, ‘The Ancient Coven’ and ‘Xenochrist’ which are more conventional brands of tech death that rely on pure brutality and strange compositions that feel like that sound incredibly different from the songs from the songs that were played from ‘The Autotheist’ or ‘In Becoming a Ghost’
The band made one final attempt to play ‘The Spiralling Void’ which was successful this time but it’s still disappointing that this was the only song played from the band’s latest album, ‘In Becoming a Ghost’, and while this is disappointing it was probably for the best considering how long it had been since The Faceless had played in Manchester it feels appropriate that the set would be devoted to older material.
Considering how long it had been since The Faceless had played Manchester, there was a lot of pressure on them to deliver a set worth the 7 years wait. While the set was unfortunately short it is still highly recommended.