Face Down

The Twisted Rule the Wicked

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The Twisted Rule the Wicked was Face Down's second album and, considering how deeply it drinks from other bands' fountains, it's no wonder the Swedish heavy metal ensemble never managed to carve much of an identity for itself. Let's see, were to begin.... With their violently viscous rhythmic attack and squealing harmonics, tracks such as "Dead Breed," "Life Relentless," and "For Your Misery" recall both Machine Head and Pantera, while others like "Self Appointed God" and "Slender Messiah" sound more like Fear Factory, due to Joacim Carlsson's nickel-plated riffs, Marco Aro's machine-like vocals, and frequent use of snipped samples. "Waste" and the quasi-industrial "Top of the World" are simply rather dull in their atonal morass, but the inspiration for "Bed of Roaches" (which contains unusually generous contrasts of textural light and shade) and "With Unseeing Eyes" (matching ethereal female voices to both sparse and industrial backdrops) is a little harder to pin down, and that invariably means they qualify as Face Down standouts. Alas, those are far too few and far between, these standouts to carry the entire album on their backs, but since lack of originality, not lack of ability, is this album's downfall, it could have been a lot worse.

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