Fallujah
Dreamless


4.0
excellent

Review

by dvd0bvb USER (11 Reviews)
April 29th, 2016 | 68 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It's good, just not as good as they promised me

Not even two years since The Flesh Prevails was released and already Fallujah is pushing on to the next. A year and a half might be a sign of rushing new material just for the sake of it, though this doesn't quite fit Fallujah’s attitude toward previous releases. While Dreamless has its faults, I don’t believe that was the intention here. The album is thoughtful and introspective, realizing all the facets of the band we've seen over their past three releases; the depth of Nomadic, the heaviness of The Harvest Wombs and the progressive tendencies of The Flesh Prevails.

Dreamless picks up from the potential Fallujah’s previous effort had, though they achieve much more memorable and meaningful music than before. The single “The Void Alone,” for example, is catchy and appears to have more personal weight on the lyrics. The instruments around them, too, emulate this with emotional leads over rhythm guitars and bass which expand expressive chord voicings with drums that add slightly more than just a driving, 220 bpm pulse. The album also features the exemplary songwriting seen on The Flesh Prevails along with an increased role for female lead singing. Songs such as “Abandon” and “Lacuna” prove that Fallujah still have it in them to write heavy and progressive music, something that’s been sorely missed since The Harvest Wombs.

Fallujah take the ambient portion of their sound and expand on it here. There are two of the twelve tracks that are basically trance-y filler that essentially serve to release tension and that wouldn’t be a bad thing if “Les Silences” didn’t overstay its welcome by five minutes. Other songs like “The Void Alone” and the title track include minutes of atmospheric clean guitars beneath layers of synth which are integral pieces of the songs. That approach works well and if Fallujah had incorporated all the spacey atmosphere in this way, rather than long filler songs, nothing would have felt missing.

While the band has been working on their progressive and ambient aspects, they have only marginally addressed the poignant production problems that appeared on the first two releases. Additionally, Fallujah seems to be suffering from Decrepit Birth syndrome; where, with every new release, the vocals get buried further into the background. While we could forgive the vocalist and blame the mixer for this, it’s no one’s fault but his own that he continues to lack range in his screams. The singles gave us hope that he listened to the criticisms of The Flesh Prevails but the rest of the album proves he has no interest in adding highs to his repertoire. The clean singing on “Wind for Wings” is crudely executed but does provide relief from Hofmann’s monotone lows.

Overall, Dreamless isn’t a bad followup to The Flesh Prevails at all. I think it’s my own hopes for the band and for this album that really hold it back so maybe there’s a little bit of that disappointment reflected in the score. Dreamless is good, just not as good as I’d hoped.



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user ratings (432)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Gameofmetal STAFF (4.5)
Maybe, in a dream......

Jacquibim STAFF (2.8)
Fallujah miss an open goal....

cmaitland421 (4.5)
Fallujah follows up their breakout album "The Flesh Prevails" with an even more ambitious and satisf...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nomos
April 28th 2016


1737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. Sums up my thoughts exactly.

Maybe though, in "I think it’s my own hopes for the band and for this album that really hold it back so maybe there’s a little bit of that disappointment reflected in the score.", put a comma after "back"?

Gnome7
April 29th 2016


252 Comments


Going to pick this up right now and give it a listen. But really good review!

brainmelter
April 29th 2016


6303 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

is the production not so shitty this time though?

Digging: Oksennus - Valkoinen jttilinen

defilator
April 29th 2016


4 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I agree with your review. It is certainly an enjoyable record, but it seems like there isn't the level of focus and balance between structure and "jam-iness" that TFP and Nomadic had, aside from a couple tracks. And for me, that is what made Fallujah really stand as out as a personal favorite.

tempest--
April 29th 2016


20632 Comments


im sorry but that opening paragraph is really dumb. the rest of the review is probably fine but i stopped reading after the first couple sentences.

Insurrection
April 29th 2016


24729 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

this sounds much less inspired than the flesh prevails and nomadic. might lower this actually, really disappointed

good review though. the last two sentences sum up my feelings

Digging: Dark Tranquillity - The Mind's I

climactic
April 29th 2016


22392 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

fallujah, the savior of death metal deadlines

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2016


3240 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Agreed with Lloyd that the premise of the opening paragraph seems a little... I dunno, pointless? It isn't tied into the rest of the review, either.

For any other act a year and a half might be a sign of rushing new material for monetary gain, though this doesn't quite fit Fallujah


But it's arguable that this is the case given the nosedive in song-writing quality here, which you admit to later on by labeling certain tracks as "trance-y filler".

The album also features the exemplary songwriting seen on The Flesh Prevails along with an increased role for clean singing by Tori Letzler


The way this is worded implies Tori contributed vocals to TFP

Other songs like “The Void Alone” and the title track include minutes of atmospheric clean guitars beneath layers of synth, which works well in that context but if that had been how all the spacey atmosphere had been employed nothing would have felt missing
.

This is a run-on sentence for one, but I'm not also sure what you even mean by the section I've bolded. Would the atmosphere still be there if the synths were removed? Do they contribute some atmosphere but not all of it? Rewording and clarification would go a long way.

they have only marginally addressed the poignant production problems that appeared on the first two releases


Is "poignant" the word you're really looking for? "Regrettable" seems a lot more appropriate.

Fallujah seems to be suffering from Decrepit Birth syndrome (another band who takes their sweet time writing new material)


Bolded section is not relevant to the point you're making.

I think it’s my own hopes for the band and for this album that really hold it back so maybe there’s a little bit of that disappointment reflected in the score


I'd say your score is pretty inflated considering how critical you were in those last couple paragraphs.


iloveyouall
April 29th 2016


6319 Comments


poignant production decisions lmao

BandNewbac
April 29th 2016


2445 Comments


im sorry but that opening paragraph is really dumb. the rest of the review is probably fine but i stopped reading after the first couple sentences. [2]

Beardog
April 29th 2016


2751 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm so happy the production is a lot better

dvd0bvb
April 29th 2016


66 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the feedback, guys. I think I need more critical proof readers.

ramon.
Contributing Reviewer
April 29th 2016


2976 Comments


Insurrection, lower it. You know you want to

ExhaleTheLight
April 29th 2016


968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Hoffman doesn't lay down clean vocals on Wind for Wings. It's a guest spot by Mike Semesky.

Durrzo
April 29th 2016


1712 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

These guys are really the only band that deliver this exact sound that I really enjoy, so I'm all over this right now, but I agree that overall it isn't as good as it could be, it doesn't feel as inspired as I would like. There is filler, for sure.



The vocalist kinda pissed me off. Those highs on The Void Alone had me so pumped for the potential expanded range on this album and then he didn't use them AT ALL for the entire rest of the album. I really feel like that track is their high point, the vocals were super on point, it went really hard but then it had that beautiful calm section after the guest vocals before going out with that epic ending. I wanted more tracks that had that huge impact and I don't think any others delivered on that level.



Still a hugely enjoyable album but hopefully they'll take their time for the next one and put out an album full of songs of that quality.

Nomos
April 29th 2016


1737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really trying to not let any lingering hype lower my opinions of the album. I feel like they're one album away from a masterpiece. This album just needed a little more focus, inspiration, and melody in a few tracks. Some of it really runs together.



I've been saying that for a few days, but something began to click yesterday. It's really quite a grower. When I listen on my good headphones, in the right mood, with the digital booklet in front of me, I got a lot more out of just listening to it on my commute with shit car speakers. Starting to be able to differentiate songs and appreciate moments that previously got lost in all the noise and monotony.



I slapped a 4 on it and expected to then lower it over time, but I'm pretty confident leaving it there now.



Off-topic side note: I've been trying to get my brother to appreciate metal for years and years now. Everyone's free to like the music they do, but I feel a ton of people (and I'm sure you can sympathize) are missing out on some truly beautiful experiences because of knee-jerk impressions and a dislike of harsh vocals. It being not immediately-palatable in all. I get that, and it turned me off metal for years.

Well, after getting him hooked on Uneven Structure back in 2011, I showed him TesseracT's Polaris and The Contortionist's Language, and he loved those and even came to a concert featuring the latter two. This is on another level though. The loudness and aggression is a lot more immediate. I crossed my fingers and recommended it. A day later I creep his Last.fm page and there sat 3 full playthroughs in a row of Dreamless. Kinda proud.

dvd0bvb
April 29th 2016


66 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm actually relieved Hoffman didn't do the cleans. I feared they might reappear in higher frequency.

VanFullOfSpooks
April 29th 2016


24 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This shit is amazing how can some of you be disappointed? Production is SO much better and the amount of progressive songs are a joy. They did not revamp their format, merely made some tweaks. This is not a perfect album but it is up there with "The Flesh Prevails" for me.



I am keeping my score at 4.5 maybe will drop to 4.0 since there is a couple songs that has a feel of "Atmosphere" that can sometimes feel tedious but this album is FANTASTIC!



What is everyone's favorite song? Having a hard time picking, so far Amber Gaze seems to really stick out to me.

Digging: Periphery - Periphery IV: Hail Stan

ExhaleTheLight
April 29th 2016


968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Wind for Wings and The Void Alone take the cake. I honestly would've preferred Hoffman to use the few cleans he used in The Flesh Prevails on the whispered sections in this album.

Beardog
April 29th 2016


2751 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really like Amber Gaze and The Void Alone



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