Fallujah Album Review – ‘Dreamless’

Most bands that combine various different (sub)-genres tend to attract the description ‘progressive’ for a lack of a better word. Fallujah is one of these bands that gave critics a hard time to categorize them so – naturally – they attracted the label progressive technical death metal or various alterations of that. The band themselves don’t see their music as death metal so maybe let’s go with that and focus on the music.

‘Dreamless’ is Fallujah’s third album and – as another cliché goes – should be an important one as it is supposed to pave the way to glory or a life in the shadows of the music underground. If you are familiar with the band’s previous releases ‘The Harvest Wombs’ and ‘The Flesh Prevails’, ‘Dreamless’ will not come as a surprise to you. The new album is rather an evolution than a revolution. The five San Franciscans rely on tried and tested elements of their music. However, they take their songwriting to the next level with even more details, twists and turns.

The constant change between aggressive – and dare I say – death metal parts with harsh vocals and blast beats alternates with ambient passages and jazz-rock influenced interludes. Groovy parts flow seamlessly into death metal riffing. The overarching melodic sound of the guitar is the kit that binds all that together. The strongest parts of ‘Dreamless’ are when Fallujah are at lightning speed and aggressive like in the aptly named ‘Adrenaline’ combining this brutal sound with melodic guitar licks and breaking into a more jazz-rock influenced second part. In these moments Fallujah combines the best of both worlds.

Unfortunately, the constant change of pace and the breaks in combination with the fact that some of the songs flow into the next make it a bit hard to recognize particular songs even after you listened to them for the tenth time. This doesn’t necessarily have to be negative. However, it makes Fallujah’s music a bit harder to approach. And then there are the two electronic songs ‘Fidelio’ and ‘Les Silences’. Both tracks are just that: electronic songs with a trance atmosphere and the odd house influence that you would expect more on a Sven Vath album of the mid-90s. The tracks are almost three and six minutes long respectively. So they don’t qualify as an interlude or intro but are stand-alone tracks. These songs lower the impact of ‘Dreamless’ and are misplaced on a metal album. Nevertheless, ‘Dreamless’ is a good album. As always with bands that combine so many influences on one album, there will be controversial discussions…

8 of 10