In the current year of 2020, the lines have never been more blurred when it comes to defining “modern” death metal. As I am sure not all of you are interested in a drawn out, highbrowed analysis of the topic, let’s just consider a simple spectrum that ranges from old-school and utterly filthy to polished and technically precise, as a point of reference for today’s review.

Masterfully operating somewhere between the two ends of the spectrum, comes Australia’s Faceless Burial with their latest Me Saco Un Ojo/Dark Descent Records release Speciation.

Little may be known about the Melbourne power-trio that has existed for only five years or so, but it has been made crystal clear that these guys have dedicated themselves to their craft of writing thoughtfully barbarous compositions.

Speciation is an expansive death metal record, carefully arranged and ruled by an overactive imagination, yet keeps two feet firmly planted in a stench-ridden grave. The band revives many ghosts of death metal’s past, honoring the gritty and haunting aesthetic components that made branches like Finnish and American death metal so beloved during the ’90s.

However, hefty doses of cleverly calculated riffing and intricately designed drum fills introduce intriguing and dexterous dynamics to the bands sound. Imagine mid-era Death, meets Immolation, meets Convulse, and you’ve set the framework for Speciation

Throughout the new album, there is a tug of war that persists over the course of the six-track entirety. Foul and horrendous habits give way to astral nuances and technical tendencies. The menacing introduction of “Worship” boasts burly blasting and cavernous howls that immediately merge with Schuldiner-esque string work.

“Limbic Infirmary” and “Spuming Catarrhal Gruel” muster up moments of remarkable guitar shred, with the former hammering out some bell-riding grooves and the latter ringing out with constant blast beats. 

There is a level of technical proficiency heard on this record between the trio that goes beyond admirable and “Irreparably Corpsed” is a stunning show of the shining and melodic riffage that these guys are able to conjure up. In contrast, the murky and brooding slow pace of self-titled track “Speciation” drags you closer to a world below. Faceless Burial saves the best for last, concluding the last two minutes of “Ravished to the Unknown” with one of my favorite musical sections of the year, period. 

According to biological definition, Speciation refers to the formation of new and distinct species in the course of evolution, and that is exactly what Faceless Burial has achieved with their latest, aptly titled full-length. They’ve combined their instrumental skills and songwriting capabilities to create a gruesomely rooted, yet exploratory piece that advances the genre of death metal further into evolution.

Purchase Speciation here.

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