REVIEW: Face Your Maker – Ego Death [2016]


Artist: Face Your Maker 

Album: Ego Death


If you’re reading this, you’re probably at least a somewhat developed and integrated member of society. You can think and function independently (or mostly independently) of others. You know the difference between right and wrong, even if you don’t choose to act on them—and you’re someone’s best friend, brother, sister, son or daughter.

But one day, things begin to change. You no longer “filter” any of your superfluous wants or needs. You act on your most base and brutish impulses, ignoring anything even slightly more sophisticated or mature. Society becomes a playground, and you thrive on being its biggest bully. You have undergone Ego Death, inflicted at the hands of Californian crushers Face Your Maker. Bursting out of the intense heat and relentless sunshine of the west coast, Face Your Maker began heavy and have only gotten heavier with age and experience—and their debut full length release Ego Death is absolutely no exception. Swapping out their penchant for punishing downtempo with a style of energetic and eviscerating Deathcore that can only truly be described as pissed, Face Your Maker have grown from a band that thrived on violence to a band that creates it—as their latest record and Siege Records debut is an absolute procreator of pain and anguish.

Fans of heavy music should, by now, be familiar with Face Your Maker—after all, their debut EP and follow up effort practically defined heaviness within their respective eras—and Ego Death continues the trend, albeit in a somewhat different fashion. Placing a lesser emphasis on low, slow and lurid breakdown-driven heaviness, Face Your Maker have evolved, including a hefty dose of fast, pissed, late-2000’s deathcore (akin to As Blood Runs Black’s Allegiance and I Declare War’s Malevolence) influence that gives every track a sharp, slicing edge to accompany the band’s love of all things brute force. At the heart of the quartet is percussionist Dom Melendez. Melendez is magnificently fast and technical while still retaining a touch of murky, murderous and sludgy brutality. While the lead single “Sou//ess” (Soulless) kicks things off with Melendez’s punishing and pissed blast beats, songs like the gargantuan “Kings Amongst Thieves” or “Trauma” (the latter featuring some of the bounciest and simply coolest drumming the genre has seen in some time) show off his true talent. On “Trauma” especially, Melendez establishes a conversational dynamic with bassist Mikey Breitenstein and guitarist Joseph Madrid. Together, these two architects of awe-inspiring heaviness create groove-tinted, grisly riffs that fuse deathcore, hardcore and a little bit of something sleek, sinister and intangible to drown the listener in pure dissonant aggression. Even on the short-but-sweet introduction, “Rubicon,” the duo are devastating—and things only get more intense on “Haunting,” “Fate” and “Sou//ess” where they get even more adventurous and ambitious with their layered, carefully orchestrated-yet-carelessly chaotic approach to raw, ravenous anger. Where the group still drop into what feels like single-digit BPM for the climactic breakdowns in “Kings Amongst Thieves” or the epic “Ego Death,” the group spend a majority of the time infusing a multitude of different styles of heavy music to create a strain of deathcore whose viciousness is unparalleled.

With instrumental intensity by the kiloton, the only thing that could detract from Face Yor Maker’s furious full-length album would be a half-hearted vocal approach. Fortunately, frontman Daniel Lopez—just as he did on Blood Tides—simply dominates. If ever there was a voice fit to front a band named Face Your Maker, Lopez is it; his low, gritty growls and piercing shrieks fit (and indeed amplify) every ounce of musical heaviness abundant on Ego Death. Favoring gritty, earthy growls similar to those of Satan himself on “Haunting,” Lopez works excellently with Drowning’s Bryan Anthony on “Fate” to deliver a catchy and beatdown-tinted conclusion that will, without a doubt,  stay stuck in the listener’s head for weeks to come. Where Lopez and Anthony are a bizarre match made In heaven, Lopez is just as punchy and powerful on his own–as tracks like “Trauma” and “Dark Daze” are nothing short of grisly, gut wrenching perfection—instrumentally and vocally.

If you’ve been one of those clueless kids claiming “deathcore is dead” on the internet for the last six months, prepare to be proven wrong. Ego Death is a lively and energetic display of deathcore perfection—enough so to waste no time in sucking the spirit straight out of the listener through their ears. Even the mesmerizing and beautiful interlude, “Reflection” packs a little bit of a punch (lest the listener let their guard down), making Ego Death a lethal display of lurid, lacerating hatred that has few rivals and even fewer limits—sacrificing everything ethereal to be the pinnacle of pure, powerful heaviness.



For Fans Of: Oceano, As Blood Runs Black, Seditionist, Genocide District, We Are the End

By: Connor Welsh