Sometimes, you just need an album that will kick you in the face. You know those days where you feel like everyone's just out to get you? Those days where you wake up feeling uncertain as it is, only to have it assuredly ruined shortly thereafter? When one of these days occurs, I come home to my iTunes library to scour the nastiest album I can conjure to vent the frustration. It may come in the form of pure chugs and breakdowns, a la Emmure, The Acacia Strain, Chelsea Grin, or Whitechapel. Or, in some cases, when the day is just THAT bad, I want to be taken on a rollercoaster of emotional instrumentation and vocalization. I often times find myself immersed in the technical material of The Contortionist, Born of Osiris, and Veil of Maya, or the melodic hardcore stylings of The Ghost Inside, Heart In Hand, or Stick To Your Guns.
These bands have been my main repertoire for a day gone wrong. But recently, a fairly unknown band, with a not so intimidating name, has fallen onto the doorstep of us at Me Gusta Reviews, as well as into my "angry day collection". Slice The Cake is a name I doubt any would associate with pulse wrecking, technical, progressive deathcore. But lo and behold, we've been proven otherwise. These 3 men (yes, only 3), each come from a different country. Gareth Edwards from England, Jonas Johansson from Sweden, and Jack Richardson from Australia, 3 countries whom many associate with many metal powerhouses, both classic and modern.
This new album, The Man With No Face, is in the most simplest terms, a thrill ride. I find it very difficult to find a stagnant moment in this album. Their songs go from gloomy, to enraged, to passionate, to enraged, to passionate, to gloomy, to enraged, to gloomy, to passionate, and so on and so forth. The instrumentation and sound production are of the finest quality, every detail shining as brightly as the cover art. Not to mention Gareth's vocals are as in your face and raw as you can get. You can almost feel his saliva being flung in your direction from the sheer force he puts behind each note. He mainly sticks to his powerful lows, but his high vocals should also be praised, especially considering how strongly he ushers them out of his system. The clean vocals, although only occasional within this album, should also be praised, since they're surprisingly good as well.
In terms of album length, the album boasts a mighty full hour of play time, but to those who have a likeness to bands like The Contortionist or Between The Buried And Me, you'll find yourself right at home with the insanity. If you're looking for an album brimming with passion, anger, gloom, and beauty, welcome home. Please have a seat, The Man With No Face will be serving you tonight.
While some may instantly be put off by the album's length, I believe that is one of its strongest points. The title track clocks in at just over 21 minutes in length and showcases everything this international deathcore outfit has to offer. It's not one of those odd tracks that has about four minutes of music, a very long pause, and then a disjointed joke song. No, The Man With No Face is 21 minutes of incredible music. It has almost everything that one could want: ambient riffs, crushing growls, occasional clean vocal segments, and so forth.
Slice the Cake and The Man With No Face are simply amazing. I would never have guessed that a band bearing the name Slice the Cake could produce such a masterpiece. While it is one of the most surprising albums of 2012, The Man With No Face is also one of the best. I would highly recommend this album to any metal fan and I really look forward to seeing what Slice the Cake will do in the future.
(Credit also goes to GhostOfAStranger for co-writing this review)