As if Progressive Metal met Ambient and Djent for lunch and the three later casually partook in rough coitus, Barcelona-based Face The Maybe make some heavy, heavy music. Call it progressive ambient metal or even an incredibly atmospheric derivative of it, the band’s second full-length record after the 2011’s debut album "Insight," "The Wanderer" is an oppressive sea of fury, and it resonates with me in a way few bands of its style manage to do. The songwriting may be solid and the production some of the best I’ve heard in metal, but it’s the ubiquitous atmosphere that has this album screaming ‘masterpiece’.
Too many bands in metal ultimately sound indistinguishable from one another, and it is a bleak statement. True enough, Face The Maybe’s resistance from this heavy metal clone complex pays off. Although their dark brand of post-metal can still find itself associated with a number of prescribed genres, “The Wanderer” feels like a natural collision of influences from across the spectrum, from classic metal to modern and extreme variant of prog.
As a whole “The Wanderer” relies on a sickening atmosphere of rage and fear. Although Face The Maybe sticks exclusively to their guitars, drums, and vocals, the music sounds vast. “0.086” introduces the sinister mood that pervades the majority of the album. By the epic cornerstone “Sunstrings”, Face The Maybe have developed their riff energy into a dense fury complete with burstfire picking. All the while, Face The Maybe layer their music with atonal atmospheric guitars. The band’s style will certainly draw a number of comparisons with other bands, but Face The Maybe combine the elements and make the sound truly their own.
Although it’s not the biggest reason why “The Wanderer” has stood out to me so much, it’s worth mentioning that Face The Maybe enjoy some of the richest, most organic production I have heard on a metal record for quite some time. Perhaps it’s the heavy presence of the bass guitar, but Face The Maybe find an incredible balance between a live ‘raw’ energy, and a clear mix between instruments. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Eyesolate channel their atmosphere-laden heaviness through such an organic studio execution. Those willing to set the time aside to fairly digest the atmosphere will find an incredible world to explore with “The Wanderer”, one governed by anger and harmony in the same time. I give my highest recommendation.