Album Review: FALLUJAH The Flesh Prevails
The fairly young San Francisco band has been on the edge of breaking for the past several years and their sophomore effort may finally bathe them in the praise they deserve.
Last year Fallujah dropped the -Nomadic- EP which was a flawless piece of progressive death metal unlike anything I've ever heard, and left me craving more. The band has taken what they did on this EP and expanded it in every way. The songs are more memorable, more melodic, more atmospheric, heavier, and even more straight-up beautiful. The band's sound has always been a difficult to pinpoint and it is much more so this round. This album has the atmospheric and beauty of Ne Obliviscaris and the technical shape-shifting tendencies of Last Chance to Reason. Having said that, Fallujah sounds like Fallujah and not much else does.
"Starlit Path" is the perfect introduction to the album as it acts an an unofficial overture for the journey ahead of us. The misleading gentle intro brings you in and makes you feel safe as the song begins to allude to oncoming chaos, once the song explodes it does so with more brutality and grace and is just as welcoming as the gentle side of the band. Everything that follows is unbelievable.
I can see how this band will probably be compared to Deafheaven. They're also a Bay Area band with a love for juxtaposing atmosphere and niche metal. Also, Fallujah will likely the next IT band (and deserves to be) much like their Sunbather brothers were last year. However, I would sooner draw the comparison to the aforementioned Aussies Ne Obliviscaris. Deafheaven have the epicness yes, but Ne Obliviscaris and Fallujah share technical finesse with breakneck twists and turns between melody and heaviness. The one-two punch of "The Night Reveals" and the title-track of this album provide the best example of this. The former is chaos and brutality, while the latter is a calmer song based loosely on the vocal melody of the guest siren Roniit. There is a through-line of soaring guitar shredding between the two songs that bridge them, but other than they they couldn't be more different.
The highlight of Roniit's guest work on this album would obviously be her staring role in "Alone With You." This track acts as a palate cleanser for the album providing a break from having the shit kicked out of you. This song is a soaring piece of electronic beauty that exemplifies what Roniit's own music is (self-described "dark electro pop") and made me curious about her material. If your music is on shuffle this song is a pretty stand alone track, but it is essential in the context of the album as a solid piece of music. It leads seamlessly back into the meat of the album with a personal favorite, "Allure," which is more welcomed beautiful musical abuse.
From a purely production standpoint, I cant get over how this record sounds. whether it be the overall mix between the interweaving ambiance and metal, or something as general as the ping pong guitar panning in "Levitation," this record sound really inspire those looking for how an album should sound. I'm rarely taken aback but how an album sounds, but everything in this sounds so good.
David Lee Rothmund beat me to the punch saying "So The Flesh Prevails is not just a new album, it’s a new way of doing metal." It's no hyperbole, this album is flawless and is an absolute game-changer. It's gorgeous and it seems like it shouldn't be. Death metal is ugly and gross, but not these guys.
If Fallujah doesn't come out of the touring cycle for this record the biggest band in their genre, there is something seriously wrong with the world. Well, there is, but there is even more so.
Be prepared to grow sick of rightfully hearing how great this band is.
The Flesh Prevails is out July 22 via Unique Leader.