FACESHIFT, Chokehold (2007, Black Lodge)
Classy cover. Logo and artwork bordered in rectangle and square, it’s all about an
orderly aesthetic. The skull hangs in a mist of various shades of gray, wearing an afro of dead trees. Sorta like a Chia Pet skull for the goth metal set. It’s an interesting and somewhat creative piece of art. A different sort of image from the norm we usually see ’round these parts.
From looking at the artwork, the band name, the label and the members’ origins, I assumed this would be melodic death metal. And it sorta is, just minus the death. Faceshift plays melodic metal that sounds like a mixture of latter-day Sentenced and newer Nocturnal Rites, only not as good, and with a vocalist that has absolutely no edge whatsoever. This is a single, so the only song it offers is “Chokehold.” It’s a polite stab at accessible, infectious melodic metal, but far too nice and harmless, lacking any kind of depth. Very “assembly line” in its approach and dull mid-paced momentum. This song is, in fact, so incredibly squeaky clean it’s barely metal. The dudes come from a heavier and longer-running band called Eternal Oath, so we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them into the hallowed halls of Big Dumb Skulls. The ultimate verdict: cool artwork for a pretty weak song. Incidentally, this song also appears on their Reconcile album, which features two skulls joined by the same sort of dead trees seen on the cover of this single. Continuity, man, continuity.
— Friar Wagner