Review: Totengeflüster – The Faceless Divine

Twelve years ago the German band Totengeflüster was formed by guitarist Totleben and vocalist Narbengrund Nihilis, after which drummer Frostbitten was soon added to the lineup. Currently Totengeflüster consists, besides them, of guitarist Egregor and bass player Teufeskald. In 2013, six years after their formation, Totengeflüster released their debut album Vom Seelensterben, which was followed by Im Nebel der Vergänglichkeit four years later. Today, Totengeflüster released a successor to Im Nebel der Vergänglichkeit. This third album is titled The Faceless Divine and is released via Black Lion Records.

The Faceless Divine begins with an intro titled The Arrival of the Withered. This intro is calm, but builds up in terms of darkness and epicness until Totengeflüster completely bursts out at the start of the immediately-following On Carrion Wings. The Arrival of the Withered and the calm, epic instrumental interlude with an important role for the piano, Requiem, are the only real points of rest on The Faceless Divine. The rest of this album contains very dark vocals, something I get back to later on in this review, heavy guitars and pounding drums. However, this doesn’t mean that The Faceless Divine, with exception of this two points of rest, only consists of heavy pounding music. That’s because Totengeflüster is also taking the symphonic aspect of their symphonic black metal very seriously and because of that there is also a lot of symphonic stuff to be heard. Due to that the parts in which this symphonic aspect is clearly to be heard are sounding quite melodic, even while they are instrumentally still quite heavy. However, that it’s instrumentally quite heavy usually only truly sounds that way when the symphonic aspect is less present. An exception to this is the main part of the at a given moment very epic track Extinct Paradise, my personal favorite of this album, in which this seems to be the exact opposite. In case you only want melody or you only want heavy pounding stuff, The Faceless Divine probably isn’t for you. Do you want a nice, a bit more towards melody leaning, combination of those two aspects? Then Totengeflüster surely can give this to you with The Faceless Divine.

That symphonic aspect is one of the most important and strongest things of The Faceless Divine. However, the strongest thing on this album are Narbengrund Nihilis’ vocals. He mainly spits out filthy screams that are sounding very intense and ominous, such as in Affliction. Those filthy screams regularly sound a bit messy, which probably is a deliberate choice and only amplifies these vocals’ filthiness. He also shows that he’s able to do more with his voice as can be heard in On Carrion Wings, Aflliction, Grant us thy Blessing and the German-sung bonustrack Entflamme mich! in which he delivers something that really can be described as totengeflüster (whispers of the dead). Especially on Entflamme mich! these sound very maniacal and creepy, extra strengthened by the raw effect of the German language. On Affliction he also shows a bit of a very brutal and deep grunt, while he shows some more clean vocals on The Hunt, Extinct Paradise and Entflamme mich!, with those clean vocals in The Hunt and Extinct Paradise almost be like spoken word.

Do you like listening to symphonic black metal? Then be sure to not miss The Faceless Divine by the German metallers of Totengeflüster! A recommendation to everyone who likes symphonic black metal for sure.

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