Fallujah
Dreamless


2.8
good

Review

by Jacquibim STAFF
May 2nd, 2016 | 369 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fallujah miss an open goal.

At this stage, The Flesh Prevails is more important as a lesson from history than it is as the album on which Fallujah solidified their craft. It represented the point where modern production clichés in extreme metal had reached a ceiling, as fans and critics alike responded with mutual frustration. “That’s enough”, they said of otherwise fine material ruined by the louder-is-better mindset, and the conversation appeared to have resonated with those responsible. Producer Zack Ohren – a man who by rights was simply doing what was asked of him – copped most of the flak, but responded with intelligence and composure, accepting the input with good graces despite a rather one-sided grilling. Two years later, this couldn’t be reflected more vividly on Fallujah’s latest opus, Dreamless, with the sound itself trouncing that of its predecessor.

Zack didn’t do it alone, though. The modern but palatable aesthetics of Dreamless are a result of him being in cohort with fellow producer Mark Lewis. The constant sibilance that made the guitars such a chore to listen to on The Flesh Prevails is now a distant memory. The snare also has a tangible “snap” to it, while bass drums deliver the kind of thud we should expect of a death metal setting. The platform is thus laid out for Fallujah to create what The Flesh Prevails should have been, and the early signs are indeed promising. “The Void Alone” is up there with “Sapphire” and “The Dead Sea” as one of the best song’s they’ve ever written. The dual guitar licks that open it make for a bona fide ear worm, before giving way to spiralling tech-riffage that likewise has no business being as infectious as it is. Believe it or not, Tori Letzler’s angelic singing doesn’t clash with the tech-death soundscape as one might assume, due to Fallujah’s penchant for balancing delicacy and brutality, light and dark, hope and despair, etc.

The title-track illustrates this better than any other, and is arguably Fallujah’s most successful foray into the tech-death/ambient hybrid realm that they seem to have unofficially patented. It’s a gorgeous embrace between the synthetic and the physical, with every element present to compliment another, not one nuance is overpowered. It almost feels wrong to simply dub it as a “breather” for the ears or a “transition” bridging each half of the album, but it ultimately operates as both. Sadly, it’s after the halfway point when Dreamless begins to stagnate, and the momentum built up in the first half slowly but surely ebbs away with each passing cut. Oh sure, the first half isn’t without its flaws; “Abandon” and “Scar Queen” blatantly recycle each other’s ideas, but at least there are thematic parallels among them to try and justify this. On the other hand, “The Prodigal Son” and “Amber Gaze” are lacking in not only ideas but also execution, falling back on mundane, seventh-string chuggery to extend their spells.

Even these creatively void numbers appear to drain the inspiration pool of what little is left, and things only get shakier from here on in. “Fidelio” and “Les Silences” masquerade as companion pieces for each other, and some might even draw associations between them and the title-track, but only on the most superficial of levels. “Les Silences” is particularly egregious – an assortment of tepid synth pads, stuttering midi-drums and all manner of sickly-sweet ear candy that fails to justify its existence, let alone its inclusion here. Mercifully, Dreamless’ fall from grace is cushioned by its closer, “Lacuna”. The breezy clean vocals make a return – this time courtesy Katie Thompson – and the guitarists' fret boards get a sorely missed work out. Katie’s interjection also helps pave for the way for a climactic final minute, as soaring leads and blast beats burst forth and catch the listener unaware. However, as exhilarating as the track is, it’s a case of too-little-too-late.

Dreamless may be leaps and bounds ahead of The Flesh Prevails in terms of listenability, but it lags behind in almost every other respect. Upon lifting up your headphones to the sensation of your head decompressing, Fallujah’s latest album elicits no more than an extended “humph”. It isn’t the revelation we were hoping for then, it’s simply another example of what could’ve been.




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user ratings (410)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Gameofmetal STAFF (4.5)
Maybe, in a dream......

dvd0bvb (4)
It's good, just not as good as they promised me...

mindleviticus (2.5)
Although they still have their sound, they don't go very far with it....

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



Comments:Add a Comment 
Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2016


3028 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Album is disappointing.

inb4 Betray complains about me talking about production.

I love you Game, btw.



Couldn't seen to find a full stream but check out the best song in the Soundcloud link

Digging: Obliteration - Cenotaph Obscure

ZippaThaRippa
May 1st 2016


10459 Comments


You're a hoe

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2016


3028 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Kiss my hairless white ass

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2016


10407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

im so sick of that same old love.......

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2016


3028 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

How can I remedy your broken heart, Game :'(

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2016


10407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

there's no healing it now. my despair is all encompassing

Ebola
May 1st 2016


3348 Comments


Great review as always, but I'm really enjoying this so far. It has more character than The Flesh Prevails imo, and the production is obviously miles better.

emester
May 1st 2016


8249 Comments


What is wrong with this picture?
When you finally see it, you will shit brickwalls

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2016


3028 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

: |

: )

:D


Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2016


10407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

*screams internally*

JakeStallion
May 1st 2016


480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Very good review, even if I disagree with your opinion. This is written so well you even had me second guessing myself. After giving it another listen though, I still think its an incredible album. This band gets better with each release and this is no exception.

Nomos
May 1st 2016


1737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

To each their own. There are songwriting elements that I prefer on The Flesh Prevails, but the atmosphere and production makes this the superior record for me, even if only slightly. You're not wrong in your points though. My collective subjective opinion just totals a higher numerical score. It could have been a lot better than it is, but with what we got, I'm happy.

iloveyouall
May 1st 2016


6319 Comments


fallujah used brick break

it's not very effective

emester
May 2nd 2016


8249 Comments


lol


brainmelter
May 2nd 2016


6010 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yep,

Digging: Hissing - Permanent Destitution

dvd0bvb
May 2nd 2016


65 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hurts right in the feelings.

Mythodea
May 2nd 2016


4262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

halfway through and I'm loving it. T/t is superb.

Digging: Rachael Sage - Myopia

Metalstyles
Emeritus
May 2nd 2016


8573 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stellar review. Luckily I find this to be quite mesmerizing, sounds like a winner.

Tunaboy45
May 2nd 2016


16586 Comments


Maybe it'll be like Ghost where their second big album is a letdown and then their third is their best so far. Who knows, this is by no means a bad album but it could have been so much more.

Tunaboy45
May 2nd 2016


16586 Comments


At least this didn't give me a brain hemorrhage production-wise. TFP desperately needs a new mix.



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