Year of Release: 2002
Catalog Number: MOSH901
Total Time: 44:18:00
With so many countries in Europe it is always interesting when a band from a traditionally non-metal home venture into the metal market and make an impact that Without Face have managed. The band, formed in 1997, released their debut, Deep Inside, in June of 2000 (of which I have not heard).
Whilst Astronomicon, the second album from this 6-piece, is relatively short at only 44 minutes, this 6-track disc contains songs between 7 and 10 minutes with only the 3-minute concluding ballad unbalancing the mix. But this is one hell of a mixture with the twin vocals combining gothic, progressive, and black metal which, when united, is a totally absorbing, haunting experience - but not to everybody's taste I would imagine.
Without Face's two vocalists are the semi-operatic style of Julie, and the Peter Steele (Type O Negative) - Fernando Ribeiro (Moonspell)- Pasi Koskinen (Amorphis) combined vocals of Andras - each given enough room individually and enough time together to create a really moving vocal experience, especially with the lingering use of keyboards, which are used lightly but perfectly. The instrument-like harmonising of the vocals adds another dimension to an already memorable album. The progressive breaks of Without Face are terrific but at times they literally rip Dream Theater off, which makes the whole argument of "Without Face are progressive metal band" less pronounced, because on many occasions all they seem to do is to copy what DT have already accomplished. Creative license stretched to the limits I would imagine, although Without Face does manage plenty of time changes throughout with enough complexity, heaviness, and ambience to create a beautiful aural experience.
If there was criticisms to be levelled at Astronomicon it is the layering of the vocals and also the amount of guitars that have gone into the album, which creates a sometimes muddled sound, but the good far outweigh any negatives on an album that is full of highlights. An intriguing, worthwhile purchase that crosses genres like none before them.
[This review originally appeared December 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Weird Places (8:29) / Pit And Pendulum (8:40) / ...In The Garden (7:26) / The Violin Of Erich Zann (7:12) / Talamasaca (9:23) / Daimonion (3:06)
Andr´s - vocals
Juliette - vocals
Péter - drums
Roomy - guitar
Ákos - bass
Deep Inside (2000)
Genre: Various Genres