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Fallujah - Dreamless

by Andrew Sifari at 27 August 2016, 3:42 PM

If you’re not already familiar with them, Progressive / Technical Death Metal band FALLUJAH has been delivering intricate, emotionally gripping music since their formation in 2007, building a name for themselves in the Extreme Metal community alongside heavy-hitters such as BEYOND CREATION and RIVERS OF NIHIL. Guitarists Alex Hofmann and Scott Carstairs weave swirling melodies throughout the unforgiving landscapes crafted by their extremely technical and brutal riffing, while drummer Robert Morey sets the air alight with his explosive kicks and fills. The musicians’ interplay is nothing short of breathtaking, as busy compositions like “Adrenaline,” “Amber Gaze,” and “The Void Alone” seesaws between moments of tranquil ecstasy and pulse-racing intensity, melding elements of Progressive Metal with the speed and desperate intensity of Death Metal. In this way, their sound can be described as both beautiful and terrible at the same time.

The effect of these abrupt mood shifts can be arresting, and helps make the album feel less predictable. The melodies on some of the songs on the album’s first half blend together a little bit, especially with repeat listens, but there’s so much going on in terms of riffs and rhythms that they feel like different pieces of the same puzzle. “Adrenaline” eases up on the gas long enough to transport the listener to a kind of ethereal paradise, albeit one with lots of double kick drums and tremolo picking. Title track “Dreamless” doubles down on this approach, with heavy use of clean guitars and atmospheric effects to complement their leads.

One thing “Dreamless” is not is a quantum leap past 2014’s “The Flesh Prevails,” an album every bit as melodic, brutal, and eccentric as its predecessor. Instead, FALLUJAH double down on the things that made “The Flesh Prevails” such a great album, while furthering their emphasis on melody and exotic textures, especially with their signature, STEVE VAI-esque melodic flourishes. There are a couple of interlude pieces such as “Les Silences” that don’t really feel necessary, but otherwise, “Dreamless” is relatively free of poorly used space. Whether you’re a longtime fan or just someone looking for exciting, forward-thinking Extreme Metal, FALLUJAH’s newest release is a scintillating portrait of majesty and brutality that should not go unnoticed.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Face Of Death
2. Adrenaline
3. The Void Alone
4. Abandon
5. Scar Queen
6. Dreamless
7. The Prodigal Son
8. Amber Gaze
9. Fidelio
10. Wind For Wings
11. Les Silences
12. Lacuna
Alex Hofmann - Vocals
Scott Carstairs - Guitars
Brian James - Guitars
Robert Morey - Bass
Andrew Baird – Drums
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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Edited 02 December 2020

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