Friday, August 12, 2011
Face of Oblivion- The Embers of Man
Face of Oblivion is a technical death metal band from Minnesota. The band formed in 2009, that same year they released a three song demo. Two years later (now) they are back to bring their brutality to the masses with their first full-length from Comatose Music. The record clocks in at thirty minutes total and the band shows no sign letting up throughout the entire listening experience. Right from the start it is easy to think that you are about to sit through another average slam record but about a minute in the track takes a turn into chaos and the first impression is set.
Both Hensley and Bohlman hold it down in terms of the fretwork featured here. The playing is water tight throughout and even with the crazy complex playing they know how to craft an actual song. At no point does this come off as an all out wankfest. These guys definitely have chops but they also have the ability to hold back and create something that is actually cohesive. One of the best things about this album is the bass. It is completely audible the entire time and if Cole Gunthers playing doesn't get your full attention, you're dead. The bass being so loud in the mix gives the album a very frantic feeling. This is extremely noticeable during the fast moments on the record. Each hit of bass hits you like an adrenaline rush when these sections show up.
The vocalist sticks to two styles for the most part. He has a very low guttural and some vicious highs. Neither approach is anything groundbreaking but he does his part and delivers the vocals with power. Being familiar with some of his work with other bands in the past though, I got what I expected, a badass, brutal performance. There are also a few awesome "chanty" moments on here, the first track is the most noteworthy. Ogar has a very interesting drumming approach on this album and refrains from the constant blasting you typically hear in the genre. A good portion of his playing is rather slow and then he hits with sudden bursts of speed. It makes the listening experience fresh and he most definitely deserves credit for not going the lazy route.
Many people complain that the technical brutal death style is very dull and boring, and a good portion of the time I would have to agree. On many of these releases the playing is amazing but after awhile it grows old and it seems they are just showing off rather than creating quality tracks. This is NOT the case with The Embers of Man. These tracks have ridiculous replay value, and even getting to the point where I know the album like the back of my hand I still find myself headbanging just as enthusiastically as I was the first time I gave it a listen.
Overall Face of Oblivion is dressed to impress on their debut. It wouldn't be a surprise at all to see these guys get a wide following soon, they have an excellent sound going here and I can't see any reason why fans of technical/brutal death metal wouldn't dig this. Highly recommended for fans of technical death metal and/or brutal death metal.