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Album Review: Fallujah - Dreamless


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The upcoming third album by Californian death metallers Fallujah will be one that has a great deal to live up to.

The band’s debut – 2011’s The Harvest Wombs – established the five-piece as the next big thing in San Francisco’s metal scene, before 2014’s The Flesh Prevails broke the walls down, receiving acclaim from press and fans alike.

And now, come April 29th, Dreamless will be given the arduous task of continuing a career that has been on a perpetual rise for five years.

Luckily for Fallujah – and their intense cult following that has only grown in both size and passion since The Flesh Prevails – it is a record set to succeed.

Album opener ‘Face of Death’ serves as the perfect microcosm for the experience that is set to follow: despite it being one of the shorter tracks on Dreamless, it certainly contains the elements that will return throughout the record. The track opens with a minute of musical ambience, using calming but haunting clean guitars to quietly build the listener’s anticipation.

It is then that the strongest aspects of Dreamless kick in: the technical, intricate and brutal riffs of Brian James and Scott Carstairs, the unconventional time signatures of bassist Rob Morey and drummer Andrew Baird, all alongside the growls of frontman Alex Hofman.

All of Fallujah’s individual elements work in perfect tandem throughout the entire album, as the band once again have crafted a record mixed so perfectly that the harsh vocals actually serve to compliment the instrumentations. For a death metal band to craft a sound where the vocals remain unobtrusive to the music behind them showcases a perfect musical tandem between all of Fallujah.

‘Face of Death’ soon leads into ‘Adrenaline’, which wastes no time in delivering the most staggering riff of this guitar-fuelled album. The track’s end once again signals an ambient instrumental passage, segueing into single ‘The Void Alone’.

This heavy–ambient–heavy–ambient progression flows throughout the entirety of Dreamless, with the record’s cleaner moments often finding themselves bookending the vast majority of the tracks. The only notable exceptions to this format come in the album’s title track and ‘Les Silences’, both of which rely much further on the clean and dream-like musicianship throughout the majority of their running time.

While Dreamless may not showcase Fallujah at their most genre-bending and rule-breaking, it is still a stunning experience, especially as it marvels in its technical proficiency during the record’s most pounding passages. The intensely technical guitar riffs that can be found on Dreamless are themselves worth the price of admission, while the album’s intricate time signatures still possess the ability to satiate fans of the experimental.

Add to this competent, aggressive and nonintrusive vocalisations, and Dreamless becomes a worthy entry into the already beloved Fallujah canon.

Dreamless will be available physically and digitally via Nuclear Blast Records on 29th April.

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