Faceless Entity – The Great Anguish of Rapture

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Reviewed: April 2022
Released: 2022, Argento Records
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Dessi Petrova

In The Great Anguish of Rapture, Netherlands’s mysterious trio of emptiness continues the artistic direction it undertook with its first full-length, the 2017 In Via Ad Nusquam, despite the near five-year gap between the two releases. Faceless Entity first established themselves with a string of four demos, all released in 2014 and 2015. This is also when they first appeared on my radar, and admittedly, their sound has changed a fair bit since. Matured, one could say. While their early material was of a noisier, and even sludgier persuasion, In Via Ad Nusquam took a smoother, tighter approach, more reminiscent of rawer expressions of atmospheric black metal. This approach has now been further fleshed out in The Great Anguish of Rapture. But make no mistake. This is not Evilfeast or Paysage d’Hiver. For one, there are no keyboards. Nor are there ambient passages. Instead, this is a very relentless approach to atmospheric black metal, still maintaining the blackened sludge tang of the demos, but with a much clearer idea of a cohesive whole. Which might be a little ironic to say about an outfit so associated with the Void, yet it rings rather accurate. The Great Anguish of Rapture simply feels like a well-oiled machine whose main task is to squeeze cold slabs of concrete until all is left but dust. Fanciful description, but it might also be my own predilection for atmospheric black metal which is intentionally underproduced in a very specific way.

Tracklist-wise, there is a total of five pieces, of an average length of 7-8 minutes, bringing the overall to just over 41 minutes. This is a great length for material of this kind, and the album generally does not feel either too long or too short. There is little variation between the tempos of the tracks, with the bifurcating The Enigma of Death seemingly the fastest of all five – the pinnacle of agony, if you will. The following, A Growing Void, seems to be my personal favourite – a depressive emptiness following the slew of emotion of the previous track. Props need to be specially issued to the vocals, which, as already established in previous releases, are of the lower-pitched howls variety, and match so perfectly the instrumental cacophony.

While there is little experimentation in terms of riffage and drumming, it is clear from the first seconds of The Great Anguish of Rapture to the last throes of the final piece Death, a Rot Beneath the Mask of Existence, that this release is not concerned with musical experimentation, and nor does it aim to wow us with something heretofore unheard, like an obelisk of brilliance metamorphosing the listener’s entire musical persuasion. Yet, it is so well-made that it definitely scratches the itch for those who already have a taste for this kind of raw atmospheric sound, and it may even be transformative to others who delve into atmospheric, depressive, and raw black metal, but do not necessarily seek a concoction of the three.

I admit, I had fun listening to Faceless Entity’s second opus. Or, as much fun as tortured howls and dissonant guitars can elicit. But, I digress, this is not depressive black metal, after all. I did have a moment within the first couple of minutes of the title track where I thought: “Yeah, nice, this sounds like my kind of thing”. And, even though I enjoyed this release relentlessly (alliteration intended), I think it is lacking a certain conspicuousness, a veritable “oh, damn!” times three. Though, this is quite possibly intentional. The Void is not supposed to stand out but sneak on us unsuspecting folk. And, this Void is one from which I will keep on dipping in and out for a good while.


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Tracklisting:

1. The Great Anguish of Rapture (9:57)
2. Decaying Banners of Existence (8:23)
3. The Enigma of Death (6:57)
4. A Growing Void (6:52)
5. Death, a Rot Beneath the Mask of Existence (8:31)

Band Line-up:

R.v.R. – Guitar, vocals
K.v.H. – Bass, vocals
B.D. – Drums

Band websites:

Bandcamp
Spotify
Pre-order