Aussie maulers Faceless Burial apply beatings on psyches with ‘At the Foothills of Deliration’

I’m good at a handful of things, none of them expert level, certainly zero of them things that other people would envy or be astonished to see in practice. It’s OK. I’ve come to terms. It makes me a little envious sometimes when I do encounter other people with skills that are so compelling, I don’t even know how to approach an inch of their ability. It’s why I write and don’t perform music.

Australian death metal force Faceless Burial not only are a strong unit when it comes to creating their art; they’re also such technically proficient players that it’s kind of intimidating. On their splattering third record “At the Foothills of Deliration,” the band—vocalist/bassist/synth player Alex Macfarlane, guitarist Füj, drummer Max Kohane—create a cacophony of death metal madness that’s incredibly well played and almost scientific in its execution, but it never leaves behind the heart and emotion. Over six tracks and about 40 minutes, the band turns out a blistering performance that’s flexible, creative, and smothering in the best way possible.

“Equipoise Recast” bursts and turns into a rubbery assault, the playing crunching, the melodies twisting your brain into a pretzel. Things spiral and the vocals get more aggressive, and the hostility continues to multiply, later allowing some spacious energy into the room. Things get tricky and then hazy, the growls engorge, and things ripple out of control. “A Mire of Penitence” mauls as the growls boil, and the insanity hits a fever pitch as gears eat into your flesh. Carnage swells as the thick bass flexes, crushing wills as the playing grinds, and the final bursts rob your lungs of breath. “Dehiscent” tears open and hammers with reckless abandon, creating infernal energy that singes the flesh. The energy spikes as the drumming bores into the earth, the guitar work hisses, and then everything is flattened as proggy thunder levels buildings.

“From the Bastion to the Pit” trudges in grime and continues to get filthier by the moment, devastating with a pace that’s impossible to handle. The force switches paths as it stabs and dares, the growls lurch, and the terrain grows more demonic and intimidating. The playing swelters as the bass snakes through mud, the drums turn planets to dust, and the smearing fury leaves ash in your mouth. “Haruspex at the Foothills of Deliration” is a brief, strange instrumental that’s muggy and situates in clean guitars and a bizarre haze that stretches into closer “Redivivus Through Vaticination” that’s utterly menacing. Growls bury your fear in aggression, the guitars spark a strangling tempo, and hellish battery increases and hunts you down. Guitars zap as the band offers up some final muscle-wrecking power, decimating and suddenly getting ripped away by an abrupt ending.

Faceless Burial obviously have a stranglehold on the more technical aspects of playing death metal, but their creations are anything but antiseptic and showy at the expense of the music. “At the Foothills of Deliration” is another masterful execution of the heaviest, gnarliest of metallic forms, done in such a way that it makes you wonder how the fuck they did this and also keeps you fully immersed in the adventure. It’s hard to ask more for from that from a band such as this, and they continually knock this thing out of the park.

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