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Faces of Bayon
Heart of the Fire
July 2011
Released: 2011, Ragnarok
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team

According to Wikipedia, the Bayon “was the last state temple to be built at Angkor, and the only Angkorian state temple built primarily as a Mahayana Buddhist shrine”. You’ll have to forgive my ancient history: much as I love it, it’s a little hazy from time to time. The pace of Facebook, fraternizing, and fingertip-technology gets in the way of everyone’s deeper levels now and then – no matter how many times you tell yourself you’ll catch the episode of The Culture Show you missed last week on iPlayer.



Listening to something like ‘Heart of the Fire’, then, is a pleasant surprise. Massachusetts’ new maleficent-bringers Faces of Bayon have been shouted all over the shop as a new brand of stoner-sludge-Doom, tinged in Psychedelia. And they deliver exactly that. But I can’t deny: There’s an exoticism, an ethereal and haunting quality to their inaugural audio baby, which evokes regions more gripping and curious than your average Doom recipe.



Now, I’m not suggesting they stray far enough from these ingredients to avoid the stereotype. The clichés of the genre are firmly there; lyrically chronologising the damnation of Lucifer, and with enough pilgrimages over the hills of those minor thirds and sevenths to make Lou Reed look like a chirpy street fundraiser, ‘Heart of the Fire’ is soaked in the sombre vibe firmly enough to cement its Doom-iness fair and square. But the boundless scope of the effects, bluesy interludes, and a lilting repetitiveness paired to a minimalism of musical ground, is enough to lull you into a trance – or at the very least, into imagining yourself walking through the sixth circle of Hell in Dante’s Inferno.

From the rhythmic stomping of “Ethereality”, and the wah-infused pentatonics of “Where the Golden Road Ends”, to the whale-song-eeriness of “Godmaker” and the choral synths of “The Fire Burns At Dawn”, ‘Heart of the Fire’ is more than an orthodox gloom-unit. True, there are less fretboard acrobatics to make your head spin in Doom metal than in high-velocity power-metal or mechanical industrial metal: there’s simply no room for them here, and no necessity, either. Technicality is evident on this disc through stamina, not speed. There’s simplicity of ideas, wrung to their very last drop, yet thematically-segmented songs, to show off this exploitation of content - and that relentless, tribal pounding of late drummer Matt Davis, breaks the continuum of sludge. A hypnotic and majestic listen. By nature, the cut isn’t something you could spin to focus on music alone.



The experience also packs the other factors the album creates: dense atmosphere, and a backdrop of pensive thought and emotion. The musical constancy and lack of distraction take you inside yourself, to roll around introspective caverns you didn’t know you had. ‘Heart of the Fire’ is the perfect soundtrack to the deepest, darkest recesses of mental register: the pendulum between immediate concentration and the subconscious. And it’s this sensitivity not just to audio influences within, but to the effect the whole concept has on the listener, combined with the bite of self-assurance of its stand-alone strength as a record, which makes Faces of Bayon’s sonic Malleus Maleficarum an original, unusual, and successful result – and a very worthy commemoration of their notably talented Mr. Davis.



Review by Rhiannon Maiden
Track Listing

1.Brimstoned
2.Ethereality
3.Godmaker
4.Where the Golden Road Ends
5.The Original Sin
6.The Fire Burns At Dawn

Lineup

Matt Davis — Drums (R.I.P. 1973-2011)
Ron Miles — Bass
Matt Smith — Guitar, vocals
Mike Brown — Drums

Other reviews

» Heart of the Fire
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team

» Heart of the Fire
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team


Next review: » Faces of Bayon - Heart of the Fire
Previous review: » Facedowninshit - NPON - Nothing Positive, Only Negative

Faces of Bayon
Heart of the Fire
February 2012
Released: 2011, Ragnarok Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team

This Stoner Doom Metal band comes from Fitchburg, MA and this album is dedicated to their drummer Matt Davis who died only last year. Mike Brown is now playing drums for the band live and on all their future recordings.



The band includes members Matt Smith on Vocals and Guitar (ex Warhorse, Engorged), Ron Miles on Bass (ex Scattered Remnants, Twelfth of Never), and Matt Davis (ex Twelfth of Never, Labyrintheory) and newest member Mike Brown. This is the bands first album, focusing loosely on the concept of Lucifer's damnation.



The production of this album isn’t great due to it being recorded live in the "Cave of Bayon" but sounds amazing considering it is live and is mixed by the band themselves, with the mastering done by Roger Lavallee, giving the album a very raw feel which is great for this genre. I personally loved all the tracks on this album, with all the songs flowing perfectly into each other with the slow but heaviness that is stoner, doom metal which is in fact one on my favourite metal genres. Matt has great vocal versatility in these tracks with his clean vocals being quite hypnotising, before bringing the deep soul-crushing growls which I adored, with the other members bringing incredible riffs, esp in the 13 minute track ‘The Original Sin’, they seem to go on forever…which was not a bad thing!



Faces of Bayon are a real stoner/doom metal band bringing out the gloom yet beautiful sounds in their music, and this is one album that needs to be added metallers collection.



Review by Jo Blackened
Track Listing

01. Brimstoned
02. Ethereality
03. Godmaker
04. The Original Sin
05. Where The Golden Road Ends
06. The Fire Burns At Dawn

Lineup

Matt Davis — Drums (R.I.P. 1973-2011)
Ron Miles — Bass
Matt Smith — Guitar, vocals
Mike Brown — Drums

Other reviews

» Heart of the Fire
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team

» Heart of the Fire
by Metal-Rules.com UK Team


Next review: » Facinora - Born In Fear
Previous review: » Facedowninshit - NPON - Nothing Positive, Only Negative





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