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Fallujah - Dreamless CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.59 | 19 ratings

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4 stars "Dreamless" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US, California based death metal act Fallujah. The album was released through Nuclear Blast America in April 2016. Itīs the successor to "The Flesh Prevails" from 2014 and "Dreamless" features the exact same lineup, who recorded the predecessor. Fallujah was formed in 2005 and have received quite a bit of positive press through the years. They started out as a deathcore act, but have over the years shifted more towards a technical/progressive death metal style.

That trend continues on "Dreamless", which features a core sound that is best described as technical/progressive death metal with great focus on atmosphere. The deathcore influences are not completely forgotten either, and this is contemporary technical/progressive death metal rather than the 90s version of the style. The music on the album alternates between technical death metal parts and atmospheric progressive metal parts. The music is dense and layered and there is no rest throughout the 12 track, 56:14 minutes long album. Even the more mellow atmospheric sections feature many layers of instruments and vocals. When that is said, the music is still very dynamic and the contrast between heavy loud sections and the more low volume atmospheric sections works well. The vocals are predominantly unintelligible growling although there are some tracks which feature female choirs and one track which features male clean vocals. The growling vocals are of the type which get the job done, but not much more. They are to my ears emotionless and one-dimensional and they donīt bring anything extra to the music. They are just there.

The instrumental part of the music is technically well played, and especially drummer Andrew Baird deserves a mention for his adventurous and powerful playing style, but the many well played guitar solos and epic atmospheres that the band build, are also worth mentioning among the albumīs assets. The compositions are well written too, but "Dreamless" is not an album where individual tracks stand out (except for a few ambient styled tracks), and after listening to the album, itīs not many tracks that Iīm able to remember. More spins of course do the trick (at least to a degree), but the tracks are generally not memorable enough and donīt feature enough hooks. The material could have prospered from a bit room to breathe and slightly more variation between tracks, and the multilayered sound production also feels a bit overwhelming at times.

So upon conclusion "Dreamless" is to my ears a bit of a mixed bag (just as the case has been with itīs predecessors). The sound production is powerful, clear, and detailed. Obviously created by professionals (Zach Ohren, Mark Lewis, and Fallujah), and although I think the material lacks hooks, itīs objectively seen/heard also very well composed, and add to that high level musicianship, and you have what I would normally label a high quality release. Personally Iīm just missing a bit of soul/bite. Itīs all so slick, progressive, and polished, that you almost forget that this is actually extreme metal in some form. I miss rawness and aggression. When that is said a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is still deserved.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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