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
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.
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.