Fallujah
The Flesh Prevails

Fallujah is a little bit the victim of the deathcore backlash as well as saturation of techy modern ‘death metal’ bands like The Faceless, Within the Ruins, River of Nihil, Kamikabe Born of Osiris, The Contortionist and such. Their debut, The Harvest Wombs was a solid effort I enjoyed, despite the samey, sweep, solo blast,’ look what good guitarists we are’ display of mechanical, soulless modern death metal.

But on the band’s rather hyped sophomore effort the band has developed leaps and bounds. Though still in the same ball park as the aforementioned bands, there has been a development and maturity in the band’s shredding complexity, a level of restraint and soul that many of their peers are missing and elevates the band them to the top of the genre. One simply need to look at the gorgeous artwork by Tomasz Alen Kopera to get a glimpse of some of the wondrous music that Fallujah has delivered on The Flesh Prevails.

Now don’t get me wrong, haters of this  style of clinical modern metal (though the production is far bigger and lusher than the relatively dry predecessor)  and the bands mentioned above won’t be swayed by the band’s more progressive, diverse and experimental hues, but those willing to expand their horizons will find one of the more gifted but more importantly, improved young bands  to come up in quite some time.

Fret not, there are still some mechanical blasts and solos (including one on “Sapphire’ from Necrophagist/Obscura guitarist Christian Muenzner who taught some guitar classes to Fallujah lead guitarist  Scott Carstairs), but for the most part, the noodling has been heavily reigned in and controlled with more precise an measured riffs and far less self indulgent soloing. Look to the title track and “The Flame Surreal” from The Harvest Wombs for more of a pointer. There is also an added synth presence which adds a level of ethereal elegance to the mix, but is never too overbearing or overused. Also on the positive side, unlike ‘The Faceless, there are no whiny clean vocals, except for a very short robotic whisper in “Carved from Stone” and “Sapphire’ and a few sparse angelic female bits ) to ruin the death metal side of things or be overly proggy.

Opener “Starlit Path” is a perfect introduction to the band’s newly found maturity with a patient build towards tech death metal played with crystalline precision and elegance.  “Craved from Stone” lets fans know the band can still blast and bluster with the best of them, but glimmers with an almost black metal, celestial aura of grace. But my early favorite on the album is third track, “The Night Reveals” a busy but beautiful number with a wonderful whalesong hued layered blast. Unfortunately, the title track is a willowy female vocal laden instrumental interlude, (thought is does a nice reprisal from “The Night Prevails” to work as a bit of a two piece track) it’s nice but I want a little more from my title track, call me old school I guess.

“Levitation” brings some heft to the proceedings with a some more djenty, complex blasts and shattering glass riffage and has a nice chunky but celestial, spacey fade out. “Alone With You” is a pretty but throwaway interlude better suited for an Enigma album, but it fits with the overall motif and development of the band but then the magnificent “Allure” sways into view with a gorgeous mid paced, elegant rumble and shows how an instrumental can be done right (I’m not an instrumental metal fan).

The album’s last two tracks “Sapphire” and and the album’s most commercial virtually insturmental cut, “Chemical Cave” show just how much the band has matured and improved since The Harvest Wombs and seems to be the beacon for a new era of young band’s ready to take music into the next decade, but still have enough teeth be considered death metal, unlike say the more djent based The Contortionist, (who I also enjoy).

Unique Leader has dominated brutal death metal in 2014 with Soreption , Inanimate Existence and Ohmnihility all likely to make my year end list, but  Fallujah’s The Flesh Prevails is a release that matches the hype and further elevate Unique Leader past numbing brutality and sees Fallujah surpass The Faceless as the darling of the genre.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
July 21st, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: F.RINI

    sick album and band. great review


  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    this has been on repeat all day, just soaking it in. still learning the songs but so far really digging the balance of atmosphere and tech-death. getting a strong Cynic vibe from this (Focus, not the new stuff). and some of the melody lines remind me of recent Ihsahn, in particular “Carved in Stone.”


  3. Commented by: Juan Manuel Pinto

    About the title track… how can it be a “vocal laden” instrumental? Please fix this contradiction.


  4. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Juan- there are female vocals in the title track but they are oooohhs and ahhhhhhh not actual singing make sense?


  5. Commented by: Frank Rini

    I still cannot believe how loud the mastering is on this sucker, though!! JFC, there are some clipping problems due to the high velocity mastering, however an outstanding album that is just as good, if not better than their amazing debut. Erik-great in that you talk about the correlation of a band expanding its sound to push forward new ideas in metal, something that is sorely lacking in extreme metal. Fallujah more than brings it on this album!!


  6. Commented by: Juan Manuel Pinto

    That´s what I thought… wordless, not voiceles. I would say instrumental means “no voice” but I get your point Erik.


  7. Commented by: RT

    This is awesome. Reminds me a lot of Mithras with a lot of the floating celestial sounding riffs.


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