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Facade - The Eternal Dance Award winner

Facade
The Eternal Dance
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 04 November 2019, 4:02 AM

FACADE is a Death/Doom band from the Netherlands.  “The Eternal Dance,” is their second full length album, in addition to also having an EP and one Split album. Before I loaded up the mp3’s, the album’s gorgeous cover art had me believing this album would be a rich, in depth musical tapestry.  Simply put, the album’s artwork told no lies.  “The Eternal Dance,” certainly has a concept as interesting as the music that is used to tell the story.  In essence, the album is about cycles…specifically the cycle of life and death. As such, the songs on the album musically represent that cycle with the songs starting heavy and energetic and gradually winding down to a more sluggish vibe. The final track uses spoken words from 20th century zen philosopher Alan Watts instead of actual vocals, taken from a lecture about his thoughts on death.

The journey begins with “Unmade,” that immediately makes it apparent that all three guitarists will be used.  I didn’t want to use any names in this review, as I wanted the focus on the music itself rather than individuals, but I must praise Pim.  Bass guitar is arguably the most important instrument in Doom and Pim must know this too as his lines are rich in tone and wonderful in execution.  Even if a person only followed the bass on this album, they would get a worthwhile experience.

Similar praise could be placed on the other members, really.  All six members are powerful individuals that weave their respective parts into a greater tapestry Death Doom.  A lot of bands that play this style are cavernous or caustic in their approach.  However, FACADE’s approach, while obviously heavy, is decidedly more melodic with a lot of different elements to be found including some Prog and psychedelic tendencies.  Enlightened Death Doom? Is this a thing? It should be, if FACADE is any evidence of the fact.

The beginning rumblings of “Unmade,” bring to mind images of life in abundance.  It is created, it grows, and it just thrives and spreads.  The song could be described the same as well.  But all things must come to an end: we all grow slow, old, and tired.  The song doesn’t exactly echo that as it stays incredibly interesting throughout. But it does slow down and get more abrasive as it winds down, the sludge and trudge of approach Death exemplified in sonic excess.

Mask,” opens with a fat riff and melodies that dance upon the edges of it.  The first few minutes of the songs are really something else: stark yet open melodies with Death growls that compliment them despite being of a different nature in sound.  The whole idea of this album works completely, and I found this track to be one of the highlights.  The later part of the song has a quiet, ambient movement that isn’t unlike a funeral.  It ends and gives way to a dense path of destruction that is much darker than the moments before it.

Ego,” is a stampeding herd of mammoths.  The death growls are barked out with a particular venom that wasn’t present in the previous tracks.  This song is a much different approach and it works so well for them.  The middle portion of the song is a large section of cleaner tones turned into very curious drops of melody.   The last few minutes of the song are much bleaker and some of the darkest moments on the album.  As one might get from the track’s name, “Death,” is a somber tone that doesn’t sound too far removed from Funeral or Gothic Doom.  The first six minutes are the most intense of the album and it shows the band can turn things up when needed.  The rest of the song is abrasive sorrow that even incorporates some Black Metal elements into the proceedings.

As previously mentioned, “Moksha,” uses real spoken word passages to get the message across—best I can tell, this song is about trying to not only cope with the reality of death but also to cope with the experience.  It is obviously a difficult subject to speak about, but the band brilliantly approaches it with respect and delicate finesse.  The very ambient tinged music in the background of the spoken word is effective as anything else presented on the album. This is an emotionally harrowing song and I haven’t heard one quite like it since EVERGREY’s “When The Walls Go Down.” I cannot think of a better way to end the album than with the song.

Metal is an intelligent genre, or at least it can be.  But so often it is quickly dismissed as child’s play or worse.  Even further, Doom Metal is looked as nothing more than morose darkness wrapped in macabre situations.  FACADE and their album, “The Eternal Dance,” challenges and defeats all these notions.  An absolutely incredible, beautiful, dark, scary, hopeful, and sad album. It is an album of life.

Songwriting:10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Unmade
2. Mask
3. Ego
4. Death
5. Moksha
Lineup:
Ben de Graaff – Vocals
Pim van Dijk – Bass
Berend Klein Haneveld – Guitar
Conrad Stroebel – Guitar
Chris Harmsen – Guitar
Korijn van Golen – Drums
Record Label: Independent
     


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