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Unlit Face - Everlasting Transformation Award winner

Unlit Face
Everlasting Transformation
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 19 February 2017, 2:04 AM

This is an early contender for one of the best albums of the year.  When a review starts off like that, you know it’s a special album.  UNLIT FACE combine melodic death metal with prog in a way I haven’t heard since PERSEFONE.  Even though they combine the two, they could be classified as either of them completely.  The band has a rare ability to play anything it wants and still manage to encapsulate entire genres to their fullest. All the music on this album is played by three guys, throwing back to the days of another great prog band, RUSH.  Obviously, this is an entirely different beast but the spirit remains the same.

Rafael Basso, who plays all the guitars, synths, and vocals on the album, is a true Renaissance man; everything he does on this record just rips.  His death growls are sinister and brutal; he truly sounds scary.  However, much like DARK TRANQUILLITY or OPETH, they are clear and you can understand him and feel the emotion he puts into his growls and screams.  He also does cleans and they are just as strong; they can be higher in tone, not a falsetto but more along the lines of latter day SEPTICFLESH.  Other times they are more baritone, as they are towards the end of “Voice of Thunder.” The cleans are very actor like and playful but never go out of their way to be there for the sake of saying he can sing.

The guitars alternate between crushing, thrash, groove, and progressive melodic.  The changes in time and style happen so smoothly and seemingly without any effort.  However, it never gets confusing or muddled; the guitars sound more like a well- focused machine than a ship that constantly loses course. “Failed Creation” is a perfect example of the amazing guitar work.  The man riff is a solid wall of headbanging riffage until a quarter of the way thru when it turns into a melodic passage that carries the clean vocals and keyboards way the way back to the riff.  The song has another highlight towards the end with an amazing clean melodic passage.  His synth/keyboard work cannot be missed either.  I would describe it as…alien.  Often, the sounds he creates are so otherworldly that your mind simply drifts off to another time and place.  “Conquering Darkness’” beginning shows this, with the eerie sounds throwing a blanket over the drumming.  Elsewhere, such as on “Conception of Souls”, he sprinkles symphonic elements with melodic clean keys, enhancing and enticing the song just enough without making it lose focus. The way he blends the synths in to the music makes it fit so perfectly yet carries itself to higher highs.

Roberto Sanchez brings a wonderful prog style to the death metal and when he plays in tune with the rest of the song, he forges his own path while still paying homage to the song’s original intentions.  On “Three Worlds”, his drums pound alongside the riffs, while the double bass fires full speed ahead, but he holds back slightly on his attack during the few seconds of melodic pause in the beginning before hammering forth once more.  When the clean vocals come in, bringing a whole new sound to the song, the drums also change things up with crashing symbols, sporadic snare hits, and intense double bass. “Foundation” is another strong track from him featuring super tight drumming, almost military in the short, punctuated attack.  A little over four minutes into the song, his drumming goes into a completely different direction, with short bursts of super-fast double bass behind progressive cymbals and hi hats.

Last, but certainly not least, we have Tomasz and his kick ass bass guitar. He is without a doubt the bands back bone of their sonic structure.  He straight up shreds on some parts “Conquering Darkness,”, sounding just as heavy and dark as the brutal vocals or hammering drumming. On the very same track, he opens it up with a melodic throb.  This guy shows a versatility that isn’t often seen on metal bass.  This is a highly impressive album and will without a doubt make it on my top 10 of the year.  Fans of melodic death and/or prog metal need to drop what they are doing and check this amazing piece of music out right now.

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

5 Star Rating

1. Overcoming the Sky
2. Child of Chaos
3. Failed Creation
4. Three Worlds
5. Foundation
6. Conception of Souls
7. Voice of Thunder
8. Conquering Darkness
9. Everlasting Transformation
Roberto Sanchez - Drums
Tomasz Plinski - Bass
Rafael Basso – Vocals, Guitars, Synth/Keys
Record Label: Sliptrick Records


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Edited 31 January 2023

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