Fallujah
The Flesh Prevails


4.5
superb

Review

by Brett Tharp CONTRIBUTOR (69 Reviews)
July 22nd, 2014 | 35 replies


Release Date: 07/22/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ethereal.

Fallujah is a five piece that burst into the spotlight with their first full length record The Harvest Womb, then remarkably followed it up with an even more critically acclaimed EP, Nomadic. Both releases had what Fallujah was all about, fierce technical death metal combined with extensive atmosphere and progressive flourishes. The Flesh Prevails, however, takes all these elements to the max to forge one of the most unique releases technical death metal has seen in recent years. It’s a harrowing task just trying to find artists to compare Fallujah to, an achievement in itself. The Flesh Prevails had been hyped to an unbelievable extent leading up to its release date and even ardent fans had to have questioned whether the buildup could possibly pay off. All it takes is one cursory listen to reveal that it well and truly has.

All the way from track one, “Starlit Path”, to the last moment of the exceptional closer, “Chemical Cave”, this album takes you on a ride. Rare is the album that doesn’t feature a wasted moment, rarer still in the fairly stagnant tech death pool, but Fallujah has done it. Every track is memorable and entertaining on their own, yet the album flows magnificently as a whole as well, making it all the better for having multiple ways to listen.

Instrumentally, Fallujah is firing on every single possible cylinder and then some. The riffs are absolutely razor sharp in their execution. The guitar work is equally melodic and heavy, and ultimately beautifully crushing. Special commendation most definitely needs to go to lead guitarist Scott Carstairs for not only holding writing credits for every song, and even some by him solely, but for his amazing lead work. Every note is perfectly chosen and beautifully rendered. Naysayers of technical death metal, the sort that complains excessively of “unorganized wank and mindless shredding”, will find little of that here. His playing is fluid, tasteful, and lean, but nothing ever seems left out. The bass playing is happily audible, if a bit faint in the mix. This could be attributed to the smooth jazz tone perhaps. Bass licks pop in at numerous occasion regardless, with a particular highlight deep within the bowels of “Chemical Cave”. The drum work is absolutely astounding. Andrew Baird blasts and batters his way through this album as tastefully as death metal drumming gets. There’s a lovely balance of ferocious blasting, accenting fills, and restrained beats. Vocalist Alex Hoffman rounds out the outfit with a visceral vocal performance, his bearlike roar echoing hauntingly throughout. Equally commendable is his programming, as the swirling atmospherics are wondrous additions to the sound.

The place that many have faulted Fallujah for, and should, is the production. The Flesh Prevails is big compositionally and sonically. The overwhelmingly loud mix is a shame, but it doesn’t really take that much enjoyment out of the record. Fittingly, being a tech death record, the instruments are surgically recorded and clean to the nth degree. Many an album has had all emotion sapped because of this, but it’s remarkable to see it have little to no effect on Fallujah’s sound. As far as this overwhelmingly prevalent production style goes, Fallujah is the rare example that makes it work for their sound rather than being hindered by it.

Fallujah is a band whose album art genuinely speaks for the album it represents. Many of their peers would simply opt for something eye catching that doesn’t truly represent what their product is going for. Fallujah does just the opposite. The art above depicts two figures, one bright with light, and the other shrouded in darker hues. I can’t help but feel that this perfectly sums up The Flesh Prevails. This album is the perfect amalgamation of light and dark, brutality and melody. The vast majority of the compositions on this album are played at blinding speeds, but whether it be the choice of notes or the atmospheric effects weaving tales untold above the soundscape, there is a near constant beauty to it. It’s certainly not an awkward juxtaposition of aggression and melody, but a union of the two. Every moment sounds perfectly built and crafted to meld these two feelings together. The result is near seamless. This is why I use the word ethereal. The Flesh Prevails feels fresh. It’s otherworldly, yet in many ways feels utterly natural. And by god it sticks with you long after it’s done.



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user ratings (752)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Gameofmetal
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2014


9208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

In summary: It's aight.

Jade
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2014


10660 Comments


Agreed hard

Gameofmetal
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2014


9208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Lol I stole that comment summary from this guy on steam. He had over 4000 hours for mount and blade and posted a review of it with the sole statement of "It's aight". Made me lost my shit instantly.

Jade
Staff Reviewer
July 22nd 2014


10660 Comments


Steam has some hilarious review comments for sure. One of my favorite gaming podcasts has a segment dedicated to them specifically

Betray
July 22nd 2014


6757 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"This album is the perfect amalgamation of light and dark, brutality and melody."



pos'd

Digging: Nails - You Will Never Be One of Us

Gameofmetal
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2014


9208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks betray. I was very proud of that sentence.

XfingTheSullen
July 22nd 2014


3560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice impressions! Have a pos.

Gameofmetal
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2014


9208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks man

Calc
July 22nd 2014


14816 Comments


"The only word I could come up with to describe this album is ethereal."


and yet six paragraphs of words lie in wait.

Digging: Towkio - Community Service 2

Gameofmetal
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2014


9208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Haha for the summary the best word is ethereal @calc

wacknizzle
July 22nd 2014


14382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review dude, album is pretty tight

Gameofmetal
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2014


9208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks wack

XfingTheSullen
July 22nd 2014


3560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If you want some concrete feedback, though: the review feels a bit too emotional and too little intellectual. The vivid language you've used only serves to inform the reader of how much you liked this album and how much you can't hide it rather than give them actual details. Also, I'm not sure if comparisons with metalcore are in order here, no matter how positive they get to be, it'd be good if you listened to more bands to get more reference points, and if you don't have those, don't try to put in inadequate ones. I've noticed that staff and contributors usually keep an emotionless tone to their reviews, unless it serves to enhance the form or the concept of the review (joke, purposeful indignation) etc.

Gameofmetal
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2014


9208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Ah that makes sense. I used the metalcore comparison because that was the first thing I thought of when I considered a combination of softness and heaviness. Also did you say you think I should listen to MORE bands? What makes you think I don't listen to a lot of bands?

0GuyMan0
July 22nd 2014


168 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice review. I have very high hopes for this album, the snippets I've heard seen pretty great though.

icatchthirtythree
July 22nd 2014


678 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah this rocks

XfingTheSullen
July 22nd 2014


3560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well uh, more bands of that specific genre probably?

Gameofmetal
Contributing Reviewer
July 22nd 2014


9208 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

As in tech death? I listen to metric ton of bands across genres but I don't know of really anyone thats all that close to what Fallujah does. Besides Aegaeon but like I said in the review that have a few differences.

XfingTheSullen
July 22nd 2014


3560 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I might check them out, then. Apparently Sputnik isn't too enthusiastic about those guys, tho. Might wanna check out Mechina, not really similar but the moods are comparable

Betray
July 22nd 2014


6757 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"tech death"



"aegaeon"



dude what



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