After numerous cancelled tours amongst other issues, The Faceless finally descend upon the blackened horizons of Nottingham to lay down their brand of punishing technical death metal upon us, bringing Manchester slamming deathcore stalwarts Osiah in on the action.
Opening local act The Five Hundred [4/10] have a tough job ahead of them. Sauntering onstage Seemingly full of confidence, swaggering around to the same backing track you’ve heard every band of this sort stumble on to like the emperor displaying his new robes, before all members take position in the same bow-legged crab stance you thought died out back in 2005.
The opening track kicking off with a lackluster breakdown, coupled with some live sound mix issues subdues what could’ve been a hardhitting opening. Everything is sort of salvaged once the onstage sound is resolved elsewhere and the Five Hundred’s vocalist showcasing some properly decent singing, an aspect a lot of metalcore bands struggle with live.
As for the rest of the material performed tonight, it’s nothing more than cookie cutter metalcore we’ve all heard a million and one times before, albeit with the odd glimmer of something special, particularly one Meshuggah styled neck-snapping breakdown, and what can only be described as a potential black metal-esqe section (blackened deathcore?) which makes you hope they explore more of this on future material, and hopefully break out of the cycle of monotony they’ve dug themselves into.
As Osiah [6/10] walk onstage tonight, they announce that sadly they’re a vocalist down due to recovering from a much needed dental filling. Rather than cancel the show and let everyone down, they’re going to do an instrumental set. A lot of bands would keel and roll over at these sorts of situations so already they get huge respect for stepping up against the odds in a shitty situation.
From the strike of the first chord and cymbal clash, you know what to expect from this set: tuned low, played slow. Each song structured around breakdowns that could level a building. Even despite being a vocalist down, Osiah proceed to kick up a ruckus of the nastiest order. Despite the odd moment of sloppiness which affects the momentum of some songs, they come back with an absolute sledgehammer of a riff to drag you back in.
The songs start to merge into one another due to the nature of the music they play, but it doesn’t faze you in the slightest, because the songs they’re playing are of a high caliber. One of the band’s crew members jump on stage during the last song to make some noise for the band’s ending hurrah, noticeably getting a few crowd members rowdy in the process. Having put on a strong performance, one can only feel that if they were at full strength tonight, they’d have been the best band of the evening.
In all honesty, it was surprising to see The Faceless [7/10] take to the stage tonight, having been witness to the previous tour controversies that plagued them throughout 2017. The Faceless have a lot to make up for in some people’s eyes, and boy, do they deliver.
The Faceless go straight for the kill with ‘Autotheist Movement’ I through III, proving to the crowd that they are not messing about tonight. Michael Keane’s melodic vocals cutting through like a knife in the back, whilst new vocalists Ken Sorceron’s mix of death metal growls and black metal wails strip the paints off the walls.
During the sections when Keane’s fret shredding and the rest of the band takes center stage, Ken frequently disappears offstage; this in all fairness is a sight to behold. Both guitarists and drummer (who genuinely looks like he's having a whale of a time) display arguably some of the most precise technical death metal since Necrophagist dropped Epitaph.
The crowd gets especially riled up during Ken’s war cry of “Do you wanna bring it back to MySpace 2006?” before launching into ‘An Autopsy’, one of their first tracks unleashed upon the public, which sounds as fresh as any of their newer material. The breakdowns hitting Osiah levels of hard, bringing back painful memories of everyone’s shameful deathcore past.
Finishing on the double whammy of ‘Ancient Covenant’ and ‘Xenochrist’, arguably some of the most technical material played this evening, and played flawlessly at that. The Faceless end proceedings on a high note, more than making up for lost time and cancelled dates. The Faceless threw up a surprisingly enjoyable performance, with the added promise of better things to come.