Release Date: April 29th, 2016
Label: Nuclear Blast
You may have noticed that I have mentioned a kind of genre chaos in various previous reviews. I know that labeling things “progressive” is a trend of 2010s and there is a genre madness going around with all kinds of subgenres flooding the scene. From Dumbledore metal to Electric Impact Wrench metal, we have it all. So, this first paragraph is intended for the label PR team; please, progressive metal is not enough to “describe” Fallujah. Yes, But we digress… on to Dreamless…
Fallujah is not a newcomer and they are certainly a treat for the ears of technical death metal lovers. Blasting drums (too much blasting to the level of mechanical editing at times), ear grinding guitar riffs and interesting, gloomy electronic parts are the paving stones of this epic. Now, electronic is a word that may irritate some people. I get it. Today’s electronic scene is filled with all kinds of questionable music and that casts a rather dark shadow over the word. That electronic sense in the case of Fallujah is not of that kind, you can relax. If you like bands like, say, Air, Daft Punk, Massive Attack or Chemical Brothers; or you like names like Jarre, Vangelis, McCann then you will probably fall in love with those parts. To be truthful, those “different” partitions merged with the beautiful guitar melodies are the top points of Dreamless. Occasional female chants add another level of flavor to this beautiful metal layer cake. The sound quality is also better than the previous endeavours.
Now, there are certain pitfalls awaiting almost every tech-death band and Fallujah suffers from those as well but they are minimal. Constant brutal, guttural vocals are always a touchy subject. I know it is in the center of death metal but Fallujah’s music can handle much more variety in that department as well and I would have liked to see more variety. The second one is this over edited, inhuman kick partitions in drums. Editing is the devil as much as it is a friend and sometimes it can become a bit tiresome. It was the same issue with Leprous’ latest release so I am guessing this is the new trend. Also, if you are not new to Fallujah’s music and The Flesh Prevails was one of your favorites, Dreamless is a bit different and it may cause some concern for your expectations. There are certain “filler” tracks here and there (Amber Gaze is one such track for me) and the ambient parts may sometimes steer the album from its focal point a bit too much.
The obvious tracks to dig are: The Void Alone as it showcases everything Fallujah with excellence (and the guest appearance of Tori Letzler) and Les Silences for it shows how “non-metal” Fallujah can be (and how much it may alter an album’s perspective). The other guests of the album include Mike Semesky, Katie Thompson and Tymon Kruidenier.
Oh, and what a beautiful artwork by Peter Mohrbacher. I love almost all his works anyway.
PS: *sighs* Again, bands, please have a website.
PSS: Oh, about that genre confusion: The band has different descriptions on their Facebook and Bandcamp pages. Go figure.
Alex Hofmann – Vocals
Scott Carstairs – Guitars
Brian James– Guitars
Robert Morey – Bass
Andrew Baird – Drums