FAITHXTRACTOR
"The Great Shadow Infiltrator"

(Deathgasm)

01. The Beast Holographic
02. The Six Knives of Redshield
03. Earth to Anvil
04. In All Forms Reptilian
05. Third and Final
06. The Great Shadow Infiltrator
07. The Eye at the Divide
08. Freedom Conditional
09. With Cold Calculation
10. Coffle
11. Shackling the Long Usurped

RATING: 7/10

Ash and Marquis Thomas comprise the Cincinnati death metal duo FAITHXTRACTOR. While the moist sci-splat artwork for their second album "The Great Shadow Infiltrator" would lead one to believe a tech-heavy conceptual album awaits their listeners, that notion is a misnomer. Instead, the Thomas brothers open their gory portal to a low-tuned slime pit filled with slippery tempo variations. "The Great Shadow Infiltrator" is butt ugly, sometimes overanxious and always noisome, but not without its merits.

Ash Thomas helms the majority of FAITHXTRACTOR's instrumentation and upfront vocals, while Marquis rounds things up with secondary guitars and backing vocals. Ash's lead pukes are as nasty as bile conjured by an unholy binge of J├Ągermeister, Doritos and black forest pie, but on the flipside, his guitar solos are colossal. Ash rips his scales to pieces on "In All Forms Reptilian", "Freedom Conditional", "With Cold Calculation" and "Shackling the Long Usurped". His melodic sweeps overtop the opening bars of the shred-happy "The Eye at the Divide" is nifty stuff and that song's solo hardly slouches as well.

"The Great Shadow Infiltrator" flies most of the time, lurks in spots and for only a two-man operation, there's enough professionalism to override the album's occasional messiness. Even with detectable shanks on the drum parts now and then, a couple of misses on the signature changes and the nuisance of Ash's suffocating gorges, FAITHXTRACTOR can dazzle.

The faster moments of the album strike viciously on "The Beast Holographic", "The Six Knives of Redshield", "The Eye at the Divide", "Third and Final", and parts of "Earth to Anvil". The mid-tempo chug of "Freedom Conditional" presents one of the most cohesive and surefooted moments on the album, even as the song has a tendency to blast away. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the title track is painfully sluggish for most of the ride. To augment the torture effect, the listener is smothered by Ash's mucky hurls for most of the song with traces of the slow-divvied riffs and lumbering drum patterns hovering instead of driving in tandem. Its saving grace comes from a mournful guitar solo that sets up a slight increase in rhythm, allowing for more of the instrumentation to push forth.

"With Cold Calculation" minces its tempos and keeps its riffing strong before Ash Thomas' molten solo steals the show. The clattery "Coffle" likewise plays with different beat structures ranging from death grind to thrash to power metal, while the closing track "Shackling the Long Usurped" does its damnedest to smack the listener silly with some of the album's fiercest drumming.

All that's required of FAITHXTRACTOR at this point is some tightening up. Perhaps that entails adding an extra member to further thicken their dense projection. Ash Thomas proves himself to be a versatile musician and Marquis fills the guitar gaps just fine. However, Ash's fret talents should be pushed further and his saturating barfs need to be nudged down in the mix. Death metal motifs being what they are, the growling is acceptable, but only when serving the songs instead of blighting them.

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends). To report any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, please send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details.