Black Metal, Metal

Faceless Entity – The Great Anguish of Rapture (Review)

Bands: Faceless Entity
Release: The Great Anguish of Rapture
Genre: Black Metal
Country: Netherlands
Release Date:15th of April, 2022
Released viaArgento Records (Vinyl, CD)
The Throat (Tape)
Cover ArtworkAlbert von Schrenck-Notzing

The Dutch Black Metal scene has been thriving for quite some years now, this is no secret at all. Next to the fact of bringing up several younger and immensely convincing Black Metal outfits, the very specific style that can be traced back to the Netherlands finds global resonance. One of the numerous yet particularly relevant outfits can be found in Faceless Entity. After having started off with their first demo in 2014, several demos and a full-length debut (In Via Ad Nusquam) later this (now) trio returns with their latest conjuration The Great Anguish of Rapture, which marks their debut at Argento Records.

Especially when it comes to Black Metal, a factor that influences my picks regarding new bands among the massive supply that is offered often is the artwork. I still remember that, when first having heard of Faceless Entity and their sophomore full-length, it definitely was the cover that struck me. It shows a black and white depiction of a person oozing out what can probably be considered ectoplasm from its mouth. Going by the description alone, there is nothing particularly outstanding about this artwork. However, taking a look at it as a whole it perfectly conveys this early 20th century séance atmosphere, instantly rushing your mind with sonical images.

It only takes a few seconds into the first, album-titled track “The Great Anguish of Rapture” to find out that this is going to be settled within the bleakest, treble-laden and raw Black Metal spheres. The spine-chilling Depressive Suicidal Black Metal tone the listener encounters is drastically characterized by its raw production. It feels as if the sound can be located somewhere in the middle between None and Xasthur while adding a nuance with the rawness of the production when comparing with the two aforementioned outfits. The guitars that open this album immediately convey a feeling that can best be described as enthusiastically depressive. The dragging tone that is transported with the riffing repeatedly shifts between downpressing yet slightly glowing. While the guitars eagerly mesmerize the listener with a slow, freezing, open riffing, the drums remain slower yet still versatile.

Especially on slower Extreme Metal outbreaks, it once more becomes evident how drastically important the production of the snare is, which definitely marks a focal point on the production of this album and can be considered at the exact right spot for this desolate tone. The entire production of the drums hits the spot, though, since this reverb-driven yet very organic sound naturally underlines the staggering atmosphere of the riffing. In combination with the overall production and the slightly repetitive riffs, this constructs a dense, intensely mesmerizing atmosphere especially on the first and last tracks.

While the first track remains at slower and more ostensible DSBM spheres, the following track “Decaying Banners of Existence” introduces the addition of a less slowly mesmerizing and more aggressive tone. Here, you find yourself heaved right into a sound massively reminiscent of early 90s Black Metal, showcasing that the raw atmosphere of this album does not only convinces when playing with DSBM elements, but also works in settings of traditional Black Metal.

Regarding the progression of the album, starting off with “The Great Anguish of Rapture,” then wading towards “Decaying Banners of Existence” and afterwards arriving at “The Enigma of Death” as well as “A Growing Void” it becomes clear that the deeper you get into the album, the closer the listener arrives at the transition from life to death. Recapturing the artwork – showcasing a person oozing ectoplasm – might be an allusion at the fact that this release deals with death most specifically – since those of you who know what ectoplasm is probably also know at what point it is supposed to leave your body. The perspective that is conveyed regarding this subject however finds an interesting twist especially when arriving at “The Enigma of Death,” which does not showcase the most staggering of atmospheres. Rather on the contrary, the sound of the guitars feels unexpectedly positive, which might be understood as an emotional stance within the narrative facing upcoming death. Nonetheless, the riffs on this sound are insanely majestic and this is also why this track seems to stand out the most on the entire album. The mixture of this oppressive production and soundscape together with the tone of the riffing is an absolutely refreshing contrast.

On the fourth track “A Growing Void,” the significant riffing mentioned before then shifts back to the somber style that was present at the beginning. On the tracks before, the vocals all portrayed a heavy influence of early Black Metal as well, yet this changes at the end of the fourth track. On this track, the vocals eventually switch from screams towards some kind of a chant. Unfortunately, the track finishes right at the spot when you’re craving for more. Your wishes are then to be fulfilled on the album finisher, though. On this track, these vocals find way more presence and are massively convincing. It seems as if this chanting resembles the séance of the adressed person after death had taken place. Those vocals are just one more factor depicting the versatility of this release when also taking into consideration the riffing as well as the drums.

Unfortunately, the insanely decent limited smoke pressing that comes with an obi strip is sold-out already. You’re still able to get your hands on the black pressing at Argento Records as well as the tape on The Throat.

Faceless Entity craft something special with their latest release. Once more, this underlines the fact that it is no longer possible to disregard the Dutch Black Metal scene – which in my opinion currently marks the most important country regarding this genre. With their refreshing sound that takes massive inspiration from the originators of the genre yet coins it with a personal tone, Faceless Entity deliver the soundtrack for absolute devastation.

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