Clades of sympatric splatter across the geologic time afforded by inconsolable volcanic disruption distribute adaptation unheard of across rifts resultant. Separated by the clastic redistribution unto the inevitable cauldron of the core, all kingdom of self-aware creature sees no end to adaptation by way of a despicably plastic cortex. The wailing swipe of deity and daimon cannot account for inexhaustible wings and machines of infinite hunger that develop amongst a pool without rim or border. Adapt to apex, grow fat and weak as a frontispiece for unhindered ignorant mastery of any biome, the collective bodies craft peak above a meek and senseless buoy of thick skin blistering in Helios’ radiation. Melbourne, Australian whirlers of death metal hierophany Faceless Burial are the stench of burning flesh, the manifestation of the debilitating self-imposed scarification of humanity by way of cosmic retribution for their infamy. With each blast of the brutal arts they conjure the peak of the pyramid in increasing view as the temperature of Sol’s furnace blurs stone into fire and hallucinatory waves of classic death metal mutation. ‘Speciation’ is the fifth year of diploid expression, the fourth statement, and second full-length from the inspired trio destined to echo throughout the current era as an exemplar predator at the teetering edge of death metal perfection.

You’re late to this party, and I’ll bet even the most intrepid hipster will be in this case. Maybe you know the band in relation to the drummer’s involvement in Internal Rot or you took the recommendation when Paul from Blood Incantation gave them a nod last year but back in 2017 when ‘Grotesque Miscreation‘ [Review] came out I’d had to shout in folks faces for months to get anyone to wrench their good ears toward that brilliant first LP. Distinct snare thuds and shockingly effective grooves made for tightly wound crossover between classic United States death metal influence and the hybrid breeds distributed across Europe since. The entire package was crystalline, formed in feather-shaking n’ whammy-diving chasm of death metal’s finest traditions and yet the album goes underrated. This deep underground station won’t sustain beyond ‘Speciation’, it is unavoidably strong launch for the band, but it is yet worth some gravely threatening finger wagging: You need that first album, too. The EP that followed (‘Multiversal Abbatoir‘, 2018) [Review] was amplification and divergence for Faceless Burial‘s modus where I’d personally heard twinges of early brutal death metal acts such as Suffocation and Morpheus Descends, aligning with the approachable polyglot death metal of bands like Necrot and Tomb Mold while maintaining their own take on the heavier groove of ’91 death metal with some slightly more technical flair. I believe that EP was recorded live in studio with solos overdubbed, hence the organic and severe beating it serves. In hindsight the leads were the only element somewhat lacking in direction at that point and ‘Speciation’ makes up for this by emphasizing more technically adept integration of leads, writing the album for two guitars and aiming for big boss production values that never lose sight of early 90’s death metal and the third wave of peaking renaissance of that refined ‘new old school’ style today.

Anyone who’d ever meditated upon the ‘perfect’ death metal record understands the risk of pandering unto populism, withdrawing from (or today, overstating) the rushing extremity of death metal for the sake of entertaining the surprisingly cerebral prole in their element. The sweet spot for the masses was hit and decided upon circa 1993, there the fickle masses first decided pure death metal was effectively finished and all goals met beyond oddity and perverse mutations. Today’s death metal fan with any number of years of attunement in mind has a working understanding of classic progressive rock and heavy psych influence upon the sub-genre these last two decades yet many are blind to the groove metal movement of the 90’s and just how severely it’d handicapped the art of death metal beyond that pre-’95 prog death apex. Where is this headed, then? The point here is that if you’re willing to be a death metal classicist the only hope of appealing to the third generation of prole in the third retro-wave beyond the apex condition is to adapt towards a natural allure that will pull in the frighteningly tacky groove-obsessed culture that has formed between brutal death and deathcore. How to subvert the tasteless beige n’ blood red pleather of it all? Well, in the case of Faceless Burial their subconscious holds deep-set codons that bear the latent expression of 90’s groove, once thought a hindrance and now shaped into exciting movement worthy of albums like ‘The Erosion of Sanity’ and ‘Blasphemy Made Flesh’. Brutal and harried yet technical and sophisticated, Faceless Burial bring death metal with a twinge of everything, a masterful grasp of classic death metal fundamentals in their most tastefully elevated station: Cadence, attack, tone, and technique that provides maturing musical statement far above and beyond the usual riff-salad tossing retro-exuberance.

In simpler terms — Many classic death metal attuned acts today have little notion of how powerful the emphasis upon groove can be when pushing beyond the obvious danceable shit. Faceless Burial bring more than groove here, but it has been a signature for the band from the start where the crunch, lunge and squeal of their rhythm guitar work begins to touching upon a ‘Breeding the Spawn’ level of composition (“Limbic Infirmary”) with a healthy dose of brooding thrash-spawned excitation via ‘Dawn of Possession’ (“Speciation”). “Worship” rushes in with toxic guitar burst and intense blasts that give way to grinding semi-technical crawl, the song works its way from salvo to snaking basslines with the bravado of a Florida death crew circa ’92 in a matter of about 90 seconds and even if the song is only a starting point for the album Faceless Burial have communicated the right energy to the listener with low-stakes brutality and a fiery amount of riff variation. The second half of the song is where the meat is at, the part you’re going to remember if those guitar performances are where your head is at when first approaching a death metal album. It all feels very full-ranged for an opener, ‘epic’ as it concludes yet ‘Speciation’ only launches off of this opener not only exploring the language expressed in greater detail but introducing new elements along the way. For a six song ~38 minute record it is remarkably not front-loaded and as a result the first impression that “Worship” provides feels anything but self-conscious as it bleeds directly into standout “Limbic Infirmary”, which I’d imagine is what Resurgency would sound like if they’d a bigger production budget and leaned into the spirit of moshability a bit more.

The flow from song to song is remarkable here relating closer to an album like Monstrosity‘s ‘Imperial Doom’ before moving into some slower pieces that’d lead me to implicate Gorguts‘ ‘The Erosion of Sanity’ prior. Side B is not lighter in energy but the pace does pull back for the sake of hitting some heavier notes and working in their most clever and impressive riffs to date. “Spuming Catarrhal Gruel” is the biggest success here in terms of providing something extremely fresh beyond the action of prior releases and showcasing a push for feats of texture and technicality that truly impresses and excites upon repeat listening. The only song I wasn’t sure about from the very start was closer “Ravished to the Unknown” if only for the sake of it banging out a few ‘Here in After’ wallops to start and feeling like it should have been the kick-off for Side B until the final third of the song began to make perfect sense leading back into “Worship”. The full spin is sweetly realized and cochise as an experience, solid and well-carved without any pretentious or overly worked compositions bunging the fleet work from point A to point B. Slower sections don’t punctuate as much as they serve variety amongst six ~six-minute death metal songs that aim for cohesion and movement rather than standout album-selling singles. Pick any one song and it’ll impress, spin the album front to back and it’ll be just long enough to feel substantial yet brief enough that it won’t wear you out with any one element overused or any one choice found abrasive. You can decide of that will be sufficiently ‘extreme’ enough on your end, it suits my own taste in modern ‘old school’ death metal modus perfectly.

For a band that shot out of the gate professional, polished and born with a full head of glistening hair the bar was set very high for this second full-length from Faceless Burial. ‘Speciation’ iterates in the sense that the trio have crafted every cairn by their own gall stones, a calcified extension of fine taste and a highest point of evolution yet reached by a band intent upon mutating in solidarity with a timeless vision of pure death metal forms. Certain moments are shockingly memorable, all riffs are palpable and effective, though this isn’t an exercise in pop metal songwriting and as such it will appeal most to the ‘new old school’ death metal thinker more than ever… Though it will not meet the ears of the lowest common denominator with any grace. Still pure underground death metal and yet even more on fire than ever Faceless Burial deserve a very high recommendation for this one.

Very high recommendation.

Rating: 9 out of 10.
LABEL(S):Dark Descent Records [CD],
Me Saco Un Ojo [Vinyl]
RELEASE DATE:August 7th, 2020
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp [DDR] / [MSUO]
GENRE(S):Death Metal

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