Slice The Cake

The Man With No Face

01. Intro
02. Rational Thinking, Logical Future
03. City of Ghosts
04. Time Unwinding
05. Of Gallows
06. As Written In Pnakotus
07. Promethean
08. Equilibrium
09. The Chasm
10. The Man With No Face

[03/01/12]
[Self-released]

You know, Slice The Cake were doing the whole progressive deathcore thing before it was popular. Their 2010 EP, Cleansed came right before the big boom of the genre. Oh, by the way, did you know that members of STC have never met in person, and they’re an internet band? They were among the first bands to combine the deep, resonating growls with crisp yet smooth guitar production and choppy, technical riffs. Betraying The Martyrs and Substructure expanded upon that sound last year and I was very impressed by them, but STC were always on the back of my mind. Now, on the second anniversary of their EP, they’ve released a full length album titled The Man With No Face, but does it hold up to its peers that came after the big boom of the genre? Let’s see.

What’s immediately obvious is that they’ve gone with a significantly heavier sound for this album. There’s more death metal, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. They still have the clear metalcore influence, but they’re just heavier now. The production is still just as crisp and smooth, and the vocals are still beastly. But they’ve also decided to diversify the vocals, and there’s a lot more high pitched screaming this time around too. There’s even some clean singing at parts, but not in the whiny, autotuned way that is popular these days. That’s all fine and dandy, but how do the actual songs themselves fare?

So, here’s the deal. The EP was only three real songs, and they were very short songs. The songs were frantic and full of riffs, just like Substructure. Now that STC are gunning for a full length, the songs are longer and there are more songs, and as a result, the songs are less dense. If you’re a new listener of the band, that’s fine, but compared to their old material the songs feel like they have a bit more filler. But that’s mostly alleviated by the fact that there’s just more.

Another problem that they seem to have encountered is differentiation between the songs. While each song has one or two unique sections that sets it apart, the overall sound of the band does not make too much room for variance, so the songs end up sounding a bit similar when they’re in full on riffing mode. Thankfully there are a lot if interesting sections, be it slow leads, ambient clean breaks, keyboards, and the like to break the mold. The “regular” riffs do get a bit tiring on some songs due to the album’s length, however. That’s not to say that they’re not awesome; every riff is very heavy and will get you pumped. The drumming is fast and diverse, keeping you on your toes all the time. The vocals are just incredible, and while I just spent half a paragraph criticizing the riffs for being “samey”, at least they’re good riffs. The slower, more ambient sections are very well done, too.

Of course, it’s not possible to mention this album without talking about its epic 20-minute long title track. It contains everything that I’ve already talked about, but presented in a more coherent package. I’m fairly certain that it’s the longest song done by a band of similar caliber, and they definitely have pulled it off. It’s a bold move, and I congratulate STC for that. This track alone makes the album worth listening to. Overall, this is a very solid debut album. It has everything a good album needs. The problem with riffs that I talked about isn’t even that the riffs aren’t memorable. They’re all memorable, but they just aren’t easily distinguishable. Still, as I said, the album rocks hard. STC are clearly very talented, and they just need a little push in the right direction to be an exemplar of their genre. Until then, The Man With No Face is definitely worth listening to, and it’s a great go-to for crushing riffs with quite a bit of thought behind them. And that’s what you mainly want in a progressive deathcore album, right? Enjoy.

Slice the Cake – The Man With No Face gets…

4/5

– NT

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