Review Summary: A promising stepping stone.
One thing that progressive death metal band Fallujah has going for them is consistency. I can both stand by my relative apathy regarding 2013’s Nomadic
, and still argue it was a harbinger of things to come: the EP, stone-fisted in delivery, served as a collection of gargantuan riffs accentuated by appropriately responsive production. When Fallujah went heavy, they didn’t let you miss it- and by the time you were pining for something a bit different, they dropped respite in the form of “Silent”. Dynamics can’t quite make up for music that fails to resonate with the listener, though, which was my main qualm with the record. It sounded significant while passing by, but left little recollection of its existence in this listener’s mind. But Nomadic
, nonetheless, felt like the first edition of a truly epic saga- it put the gears into motion for Fallujah, and exposed thousands of listeners to a group whose next release, to put it bluntly, would shred.
A mere 17 months hot off the heels of its predecessor, The Flesh Prevails
is a decidedly ruthless affair. It only takes a glimpse at the album’s singles to prove this, whether the unshakable melodies of “Sapphire” or the seismic, rhythmic artistry of “Carved From Stone”. These songs, while working incredibly well on their own merits, also hold valuable places in the album’s general framework- they double as centerpieces to counter the rest of The Flesh Prevails
’ odds and ends. And speaking of which, there are quite a few- this record experiments in sound quite a bit more than Nomadic
did. “The Night Reveals” and the title track each claim the same chorus within, but do wholly different things with it: the former retains the heavy punch of the album’s beginning, while the latter branches out into more spacious instrumental territory. There’s enough room for the guitarist to have a solo in “The Flesh Prevails”, so why not include one?
Maybe Spinal Tap would be proud of how most of this album is turned up to 11, but it doesn’t quite sit well with me. The Flesh Prevails
feels as if it were written in its entirety months ago, only to have multiple, equally extraneous additions edited in afterwards- and the result is several cases of sensory overload. Now, many a metal fan will claim there’s nothing wrong with sensory overload- and that very well may be what some seek in the genre- but such a characteristic leaves a sour taste in my mouth after having listened to this album a fair bit. In Fallujah’s defense, I’m not convinced the production on this album, brick-walled to eternity, would be able to pull off anything other than the loudest
music- that drumkit, in particular, sounds synthetically crafted in order to be as noisy as possible- but I can’t help but hold out hope on more organic music from the group in the future. That’s because I do enjoy the sound Fallujah’s found for themselves in the progressive death metal realm these days- but I sincerely hope The Flesh Prevails
is a stepping stone, not an all-out endpoint.