Saturday, 5 June 2010

Faust - From Glory to Infinity

Paragon Records - 2009

Okay, so the reason I got this can be summed up by two words: The first of these is 'nun' . . . the second, rather unsurprisingly, is 'tits'. What can I say? The malformed adolescent in me (snigger) loves stuff that's blatantly supposed to be inflammatory. . . and tits.

Only after I got my hands on this release did I realise that we've got (yet another) super-group of sorts. Sporting Steve Digiorgio – a bassist needing no introduction – Daray Bzozowski of Vader and Aleister – touring guitarist with Ancient – collaborating to produce an acceptable piece of somewhat progressive melodic death metal.

The musicianship is more than solid. The lead guitar work in particular, with its sweeping arpeggios, fast runs and sometimes surprising progressions are key to what this release is all about. The vocals on the other hand, are passable at best and, at times, just infuriating, making the instrumental sections a blessing. Neither the lyrics nor the song titles help matters much, unless these guys are actually trying to sound like angry adolescents. Thankfully, with the vocals being as they are, you're unlikely to be paying enough attention to decipher them.

The production could have benefited from a beefier low end and although the lightweight sound of the drums actually suits the quieter sections quite nicely, it would be nice to hear more of the bass now and then. The exception to this being Sentimental Worship which has a very nice bass-driven acoustic section.

The substandard vocals aren't really aided by being so high in the mix, either. It just serves to demonstrate quite how bad they are and after a few runs through the album just serve to detract from some very nice guitar work.

I can't help but feel there's a degree of identity crises with this band. Unsure whether to launch a balls-out, vehement diatribe against religion or craft a mature, progressive album concentrating on musicianship, Faust attempt to do both and the result is that it doesn't quite work. A lyrical approach that would be far more suited to a grind release, together with the the puerile artwork detract from the grown-up and well-rounded feel that the music itself seems to be trying to convey.

In some ways the album also feels unfinished which is a tad laughable seeing as the band was founded in 1992 and this is their first full-length. The outro, for example, is quite a nice, mellow acoustic piece with a dominant melody laid down on electric which, despite the vague niggling at the back of my mind that it should have featured in an 80's movie, I quite enjoyed. The problem is that it could've been so much more; it's crying out for some of the sweeping leads that were showcased earlier on the disc but fail to materialise. Which is actually a good analogy for the rest of the album: It teases you with the possibility that it could have been something amazing while only attaining the mediocre.

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