|Artwork painted by Hillarie Jason|
Faces of Bayon plays the kind of doom that is all about the atmosphere, not about being the most fuzzed out, or the most crushing. The evil buzz of the bass, the hypnotic tribal drumming, the tension-filled cymbal work, noise, and the discrete but effective synths; they all work together at creating and accentuating a very haunting, somber, even wondrous atmosphere. Fitting for an album that chronicles the damnation of Lucifer and his fall from Heaven.
Sure some songs on Heart of the Fire go back to Black Sabbath for a few of their riffs, but what Faces of Bayon really shares with the masters is the ability to create genuine tension - check out eerie "In my time before Hell" passage at 05:00 in "Brimstoned" for an example. They also know when to lean back and let the album breathe a little, with songs like the ambient, almost psychedelic "Godmaker", and the simple and beautiful instrumental album closer "A Fire Burns at Dawn".
"Where the Golden Road Ends" is the most traditional stoner metal sounding song, and while not bad, it feels a little long in the tooth on Heart of the Fire. But in general Faces of Bayon's songwriting is dynamic, adding tempo shifts and interesting chord progressions to the doom palette. Mention must also be made of Matt Smith's raw vocal performance; he makes parts like the "Cry me a river" beginning of "Ethereality" sound decidedly ominous. Heart of the Fire got a few great reviews when it was released in 2011, check out Doommantia's and a typically thorough one from The Obelisk. And check out the music of course.
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