Melbourne's Faceless Burial have been one of the most exciting death metal acts to grace our ears the past handful of years. The trio seem to be the filter through which all good death metal passes, encompassing the best of the genre with almost frustrating ease. As quickly as they slot into an odious groove, you're lambasted with intricate salvos and hair-raising grind assaults so satisfying it seems implausible. They're never content to sit and stew on a sound, and their discography reflects this predilection for keeping compositions moving to entice and mesmerize the listener.
At times technical and progressive but most always bluntly brutal, Faceless Burial have matured into one of the most complex and respected outfits to debut during the old school death metal revival. We caught up with them ahead of the release of their third album, At The Foothills of Deliration (out this Friday) to discuss the influences that drive their sound.
Alex Macfarlane (Vocals, Bass, Synth):
Stargazer - Psychic Secretions
We are all huge fans of Stargazer and I think their influence is clearest on our new album. I’m not sure if it’s intentional but their complete disregard for the often rigid sub categorising and tired genre tropes within metal is something I really admire. At every turn they’re defying expectations and prerequisites by following what’s best for the song. They’re a group who have turned out such a strong and progressive discography, yet are seemingly overlooked, even locally, and I’ve never quite been able to figure out why. It would be challenging to pick a favourite album of theirs but this one was exceptionally refreshing when it came out last year and it’s stayed in my immediate access record crate since.
King Crimson - Red
It’s tough for me to cite such luminaries as King Crimson as being a direct influence as they are remarkably proficient and measured musicians, but this album was used as a mixing reference and has provided me with much to aspire to for many years! It’s a singular and robust record with equal parts claustrophobic discordant terror and vast expanses of beautiful melody. The effectiveness of the three-piece-plus-overdubs method is executed so powerfully on this album and the rhythmic interplay is second to none. A remarkably heavy and creative album that has been so nourishing to so many.
Gorguts - From Wisdom to Hate
Along with aforementioned Red by King Crimson, From Wisdom to Hate was another large influence especially in terms of the mix/production. We wanted to take the up-front pummeling and savagery but still have the sense of space and layers, and plenty of mid range mixed with the tape warmth. We are far from the technical capabilities of Gorguts but have a strong appreciation of their continued legacy and the impact they have had on today’s death metal offerings. We have never written anything to be intentionally technical but I feel with each release we get more slightly comfortable with our individual playing styles and we try to push ourselves to create something legitimately stressful to perform - it seems to occur naturally during the song structuring process as a group. FWtH is a potent gumbo of aggression and technique without the wankery that is often associated with guitar music that leans to the more technical side and I think that’s a good place to tread looking to the future - also we can’t play our instruments that adeptly if you consider the broader scene of metal music these days so if it sounds hard to play at times then it’s normally because it is for us ;)
*also the solo in the title track is 10/10 A+
Defeated Sanity - Dharmata / Disposal of the Dead
I was definitely late to the game with Defeated Sanity. I first heard this release when travelling from Melbourne to Sydney in a car with Vile Apparition (thanks guys) and it blew my socks off. I think before the covid lockdown fully kicked in I was listening to Dharmata daily on my walks home after work, it both exasperated and relieved the general office fury that one experiences and absorbs during the 9-5 work week and I think this directly contributed to a few of the heavier moments featured on our new record. DS are the pinnacle of “brutal” while somehow maintaining a healthy jazz appreciation in the drumming department and a boundless sensibility to explore and dominate other areas of metal music - as showcased on the second half of the record Disposal of the Dead, where they go turbo-Atheist and beyond. The only band that comes to mind to do a split with themselves traversing one genre spectrum to the other which is as equally awesome is as it is amusing.