Fallujah Dreamless CoverLet’s get this out of the way; Fallujah and Angry Metal Guy have a complicated relationship1. AMG‘s reaction to The Harvest Wombs signaled the beginning of a beautiful friendship; a friendship which, upon the release of The Flesh Prevails in 2014, some asshat proceeded to destroy. While there were nuances to his argument, the primary complaints were that the promotional copy of the album clipped like an overzealous grounds crew, and that the album was at times, if you really paid attention, just a tiny bit really fucking loud.

I am that asshat, and I regret nothing. In fact I’d do it again, because thanks to my vindictive caterwauling, producer Zack Ohren2 (OmnihilityImmolation, Brain DrillArkaik… basically every band signed to Unique Leader) stopped by for an excellent discussion about his approach to the album’s loudness and kindly provided the AMG staff with a less-compressed version of The Flesh Prevails, which we proceeded to re-review, and which ended up on my top ten list.

But it’s with open arms and unmuffled ears that I welcome Dreamless. It doesn’t matter whether it’s because of label change, artistic direction, or your nagging3Dreamless is dialed back to the industry standard DR 64, and sounds like it, too – and that’s the last I’ll say about it. This album is a far cry from The Flesh Prevails, though the band’s trajectory isn’t surprising; the trance influence that The Harvest Wombs suggested and The Flesh Prevails actualized has become more prevalent, and Fallujah‘s newest songs are shorter, airier, and brighter along with it. But it’s the balance of brutality and beauty struck by the band that makes their sound so interesting – and the fear is that the scales are tipping.

“Face of Death” and “Adrenaline” pulse with energy and establish the album’s progressive aspirations while retaining death metal intent, but it’s not until “The Void Alone” that Dreamless becomes truly exciting. Wafting in on a typically airy intro, the song moves from cradling to crushing with stunning speed, featuring some of the album’s most memorable leads, along with saturnine guest vocals from Tori Letzler. Further excellence comes in the form of “Scar Queen,” which might be the album’s most well-balanced offering for fans of the group’s previous work. It’s relatively short and to the point, and for reasons I can’t quite put my finger on reminds me of 2000s prog-melodeath. But after “Scar Queen,” the title track takes a turn towards trance, and it’s a decision that the band seems to struggle with for the rest of the album.

While Fallujah‘s frequent forays into pure ambiance might scratch the progressive itch for many fans, I’m left finding “Dreamless” and the overt trance acts of “Fidelio” and “Les Silences” somewhat bloated and tedious. Though filled with these undoubtedly emotional compositions, the b-side of Dreamless is almost more interlude than action, and it makes for a less than compelling listening experience. Fallujah handle transitions between these tracks and their neighboring metal compositions extremely well, but this can sometimes work against them, as it’s unclear why some songs show off both sides of the band and other songs that bleed into each other do just one thing at a time. The Flesh Prevails balanced the band’s duality in its guitar-driven approach to atmosphere, and the album flowed very well not just between tracks but from beginning to end. Dreamless at times feels unfocused and under pressure to include as much material as possible.

Fallujah Band 2016

While you’re not going to hear any Christian Muenzner solos on Dreamless, guitarists Scott Carstairs and Brian James put out impressive but not necessarily pyrotechnic performances. This album isn’t quite as technical an outing as The Flesh Prevails, and though there’s material for guitar nerds to sink their teeth into, like the Psycroptic-length opening phrases of “The Prodigal Son,” it’s more restrained on all accounts. Alex Hoffman (I assume) even belts out some gruff clean vocals on “Wind For Wings,” and though he sounds a bit strained, I’m sure on Fallujah‘s fourth album these will be much more common and comfortable. I can’t say I’m a big fan of Tori Letzler’s vocal contribution to Dreamless either; whether it’s her voice alone or the production, the result is too airy and fragile, especially when Hoffman’s growls are as potent as ever.

It would be foolish to ask a band as unabashedly progressive as Fallujah to stand still and just repeat The Flesh Prevails at a lower volume, but nonetheless, Dreamless can’t quite compare to its predecessor. Its songs  simply aren’t as strong, and the band’s writing seems to have delaminated; atmospheric songs have peeled away from the band’s death metal roots and serve only to take up space. Much like how Fleshgod Apocalypse actually became less interesting after integrating orchestral instruments into their sound, Fallujah‘s increased use of electronics rather than guitars to create atmosphere feels gimmicky at times – a step back from the cohesion and wonder that The Flesh Prevails offered. While the band obviously intend to slip the surly bonds of death metal, in doing so they’re inevitably going to slip the even surlier bonds of death metal fans.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 |Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear Blast [EU][NA]
Websites: facebook.com/fallujah
Releases Worldwide: April 29th, 2016

Show 4 footnotes

  1. Regular readers may want to scroll through the exposition in the following two paragraphs.
  2. Due to the decree of AMG hereby referred to as Zack “friend of the blog” Ohren
  3. I’ve heard from at least one commenter that talked to the band in person about the loudness of The Flesh Prevails, and dozens who voiced their disapproval here, on the Metal-Fi forums, and at various and sundry unaffiliated websites and comment fields.
  4. Boooooooo! The industry makes records unnecessarily loud etc.
  • Fazy

    If any of you folks also like the cover art, that’s Peter Mohrbacher’s work. I recommend checking his http://www.angelarium.net.

    Guy definitely makes some very metal art and I am really glad to see more of it on covers of prominent albums.

    • Wow, some stunning pieces there. He should be providing renderings for gaming too!

      • Madam, please check out the Italian artist behind the Howls of Ebb release (AOTY contender too). Sorry, I forgot his name.

        • El_Cuervo

          Is it Paolo Girardi? He gets plenty of recognition round these parts.

          • Agostino Arrivabene

          • Wow, some stunning pieces. Thanks for the heads up :)

          • AlphaBetaFoxface

            Cursus Impasse is the best death metal album art I have seen in at least 3 years.

        • Martin Knap

          This guy is a real artist in my book, not just a illustrator/graphic designer.

      • Fazy

        All I know is that he used to work for Wizards of the Coast. One can only hope!

        • Philip Pledger

          Wait, THAT Peter Mohrbacher? No wonder I liked the album cover. It’s a pity that they underpayed him ’till he stopped working with WotC. His art for Mogis, God of Slaughter was about as metal as it gets.

  • AndySynn

    Funny, I am in the midst of putting my own review together, and have had quite an opposite reaction (in some respects anyway), in the sense that I think the actual SONGS stand out much stronger this time around than they did on “The Flesh Prevails” (which I still loved, by and by… it just had a tendency to occasionally blend together).

    “Dreamless” is still a little too long (the back end DOES blend together a bit still, and cutting a song or so would have fixed that) but I get a stronger sense of identity this time around.

    • You’re becoming a problem and will have to be dealt with.

      • AndySynn

        Better men than you have tried… and now their widows weep for what they have lost.

      • Doesn’t this all come down to a box of ciggies?

        • AndySynn

          Camels!!! WHERE ARE MY CAMELS???

    • Meat Tornado

      Andy Synn should review on this site, to lend a little bit of fair judgement in a place sometimes devoid of.

      • AndySynn

        Personally I think they’re always fair and honest in their judgements on this site. You don’t have to always agree with them – I certainly don’t – but I’d appreciate it if you didn’t impugn their integrity like that.

        • Meat Tornado

          Well it’s not necessarily a bad thing if you think about it. But I do think there is a level to which judgment is impaired by reviewers on this site, or anywhere, in this case loving past material too much to where it appears to be affecting rationality when approaching the new material. Yes bands old work should be remembered, but sometimes I think reviewers use it too much as the scale which new material is measured against, when I thint its more important to mea sure an album by its own merit and then compare it to its peers. And that is why I think sometimes judgment in the reviewing world is poor. Not a generalization though; as a disclaimer.

          • AndySynn

            Don’t you see that you ARE still generalising though, even with that “disclaimer”?

            You’re actively stating that, to some level, the reviewers here are automatically biased towards a band’s old material, something which I’ve seen no evidence of myself.

            I mean, in all honest “King” hasn’t really clicked with me either. “Agony” remains my favourite FA album, and though I like “Labyrinth” (and will, inevitably, grow to like “King” more), I can understand the view that “Oracles” is potentially their most complete/focussed album, as it doesn’t have all the flashy, crowd-pleasing symphonic stuff to fall back on.

            Similarly I honestly think that Septic Flesh peaked with “Communion”. It has the strongest songs and the best overall mix of Death Metal and orchestration. The albums since have gotten less and less interesting as they have gone on. Does that make me “biased towards their old material”?

            You seem to take it very personally that this site also takes into account a band’s previous works when considering their new album as well, which I find an absolutely baffling approach, and I doubt you’d have raised that point if this review had said “Dreamless is their best album yet”.

            Not every new album is going to be a band’s best. There’s no guarantee every band is going to keep making better and better albums as they go on. Sometimes they slip up. Personally I think that “Dreamless” IS Fallujah’s best album yet, but I can understand AMG’s reasoning and perspective, even if I don’t agree with it myself, and don’t feel the need to tell them they’re shit/biased reviewers just because we disagree.

          • Brother Ben

            A reviewer’s job is two-fold: one must give a potential listener context for what they might eventually be listening to (via comparison to past material, other groups, and genres), as well as convey how much enjoyment they got from a record. One could argue then that it is impossible to review a record “on its own merits” without some sort of comparison; to do so would be to cheat the reader of context. Without the context, one could see the whole discography of Primal Fear as equal to, or just as influential, as Painkiller, a sentiment that I believe few metalheads would agree with. The retrospective, combined with the reviewer’s opinion of the album (which may or may not be influenced by previous work) work together to give a reader a more comprehensive idea of whether or not he/she wants to listen to the whole album. This also makes it important to know your reviewer

      • Translate: The reviewers don’t always agree with me so therefore they lack integrity.

        Makes sense.

        • Meat Tornado

          You’re right! That’s exactly what I should have said, why didn’t I just say that instead??

          Or maybe that wasn’t my point?

          • You wrote: “…to lend a little bit of fair judgement in a place sometimes devoid of.”

            Define “fair” in that sentence? Kronos doesn’t agree with you, so does that mean this site is unilaterally unfair in its reviews? That’s what you seemed to imply, and even Andy “Where’s My Camels?” Synn called you out on that fact.

    • Anarchist

      I think I definitely have to agree with you. My first playthrough of Dreamless was actually kind of disappointing, but I’ve been looping it over and over again and it’s quickly becoming one of my favourite albums this year. Songs like the Void Alone, Adrenaline, Scar Queen, and Dreamless just stand out as very memorable in a manner that tracks from Flesh Prevails just didn’t.

      I think that Les Silences and Fidelio were a bit much, especially given how close together they were and that they made the ending feel kinda weak, which is probably what generated the negative first impression for me the first time around. I still don’t especially like them though they’ve grown on me a bit, and I feel the album would be better without them, but oh well. More of a 4 – 4.5 album for me, but I’m in love with their sound so that might just be me.

  • El_Cuervo

    I don’t always agree with you Kronos, but when we do it’s about Fallujah. I would have made the same points and I think a 3 is right.

    The Flesh Prevails took me a while (and obtaining the DR10 version) but I now think it’s an amazing album. Prob be on a revised top 10 for 2014. But Dreamless just isn’t as good.

    • Sebastian Saier

      Is there any way to get the DR10 Version of TFP? I would spend a small fortune for that

      • Kronos

        The vinyl is around DR10, though it’s a different mix/master from what I have. Given that Zach cranked out my version pretty quickly for comparison (and I’m sure he’ll correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe he didn’t handle the final vinyl master, that was done by an engineer who specializes in vinyl), it will probably sound different.

        • Incorrect. I did do the vinyl master in fact. But like you said yours was slightly different from vinyl as while they’re both around DR10ish yours doesn’t have any of the silly things I do to make sure stuff translates well to vinyl. You are correct I cranked yours out in a few minutes by simply lowering the final loudness/limiting process until it was more or less non-existent. The common ear though probably couldn’t tell the difference between yours and the vinyl. Also honestly, I wish I could re-release that album but that’s not how it works.

          • Sebastian Saier

            Thanks for the honest and interesting replies. It would be great if there was a way to get the DR10 version..even when the differences arent that big. Every step that would make the album more enjoyable is worth it.

          • Kronos

            Wait for nuclear blast to buy the rights and reissue it in ten years.

      • It’s not what you think.

        • Sebastian Saier

          Do you mean that the two versions don’t sound too different from each other?

      • Let me see if the band is okay with other people having it now. It has been years since it’s release….so maybe Erik(Unique Leader Records) and the guys won’t mind me handing it out anymore. It’s barely different from the final CD so the only real issue I can imagine is just making sure you actually can show proof that you purchased the real album digitally/physically/whatever so that I’m not just pirating it to you. Or ya know…you could just paypal me that small fortune you mention haha

  • There’s something about this that reminds me of music for sega games, that really high pitched guitar(?) is just like, yeah sonic, you collect those rings.

  • Thatguy

    Interesting and fair-minded review, Kronos. I think I am going to like this more than you though.

  • Sebastian Saier

    What version is the DR6 that you reviewed? The one on the dr database says DR5 even with a DR4 song…maybe the leak is more compressed?
    Also I ordered the vinyl. Does anybody know if this has a dedicated master?

    • Kronos

      That’s the promo we got. However, I’ve seen comments that different versions of the DR meter get slightly different readings, and so if somebody is using the outdated Foobar plugin, they might be getting a score that’s 1 off from what the latest version reads. I use the Linux command line tool for all of my DR readings, for what it’s worth.

    • I have the album and can say for sure it’s DR6, at least according to the plugin in foobar. That database has inaccuracies all over it as well. It once listed a record I did as DR0 somehow, which is most certainly wasn’t.

    • The official promo I received is definitely DR5 with some dipping down to DR4. Both confirmed with the official offline TT Meter and CLI.

      I’m not sure why Kronos and Zach are seeing DR6 though? What’s funny is MP3 compression tends to increase the score by one because of digital overs (and this puppy hits 0dbFS across the board).

      This is still a very compressed record. Perhaps slightly less than the last one, but not by that much. I have no idea why bands like Fallujah don’t opt for a more dynamic mix/master since the music clearly warrants it – especially given the diverse nature of this release.

      Obviously, this is only one man’s opinion and Zach and Co. clearly feel differently which is fine and I respect that.

      • Sebastian Saier

        Hmm, that sounds weird. I have a small hope that the actual CD will be DR6. Or at least the vinyl will sound less compressed.
        Sometimes I wish every album could sound as good as Anareta or The Direction of Last Things :D

      • Well I don’t “feel” different. When I measure it with the DR meter in foobar I get a firm DR6. Makes me wonder what on earth is going on here. I also agree, Mark definitely still cranked this out fairly loud. Certainly not as loud as the last couple I did the master on but DR6 is still by no means quiet. You’ll be happy to know I just did the new Inanimate Existence record at a DR7-8 because I really felt that was the highest I could push it without hurting anything since it’s so damn dynamic. I Absolutely think Mark nailed this though in regards to the loudness, it’s absolutely fine at DR6, and if you got some copy that’s DR4-5 then something must be a little weird because I just double checked this. Feel free to send me a track from the version you have([email protected]) as I’m curious if something “went wrong” in manufacturing as I have the original master .wav files to compare with.

        • And keep in mind too that the mp3 conversation tends to push the numbers a little higher despite not really doing anything to dynamics. DR4 is awfully loud anyway you look at it.

          Zach, I will send you a track directly when I get a chance later today so you can take a look. Thanks for that.

          Btw, another pet peeve I have is the fact when engineers don’t leave enough headroom FOR MP3 compression. Hitting full scale like this is poor form IMO (even if it doesn’t result in true audible distortion).

        • Kronos

          I didn’t know IE had a new record coming out. I’ll probably be on that then.

      • Okay looking further into this a moment ago, while it’s true the album as a whole is a DR6, I’m thinking the issue here is that generally speaking the loud/fast/heavy songs as opposed to all the lighter jazzy/trance stuff is on average around DR5 in fact. Obviously when I say the record is DR6 I’m referring to a scan of the whole album, but it’s true that on average the more heavy stuff here is closer to DR5 dipping into DR4 like Alex says. So I think this is just a argument of a technicality and another reason why DR readings are pretty close to useless still IMO when it comes to comparing if something is over-compressed or not. I still maintain that Mark did not “over” compress this really one bit as you’ll hear zero clipping and great punch in everything.

        • Sebastian Saier

          I would agree that Dreamless sounds better than TFP in most places. The mix in general feels more balanced. Still there is much potential lost, especially in the heavier parts it becomes overbearing. Maybe Mark pushed it a little too far.
          Inanimate existence sounds nice. Cant wait to give it a listen!

  • SegaGenitals

    You lost me at trance/electronica

  • Meat Tornado

    I always read the last paragraph first. I read “Much like how Fleshgod Apocalypse actually became less interesting after integrating orchestral instruments into their sound…”, and stopped reading.

    No need to read anymore, this review is invalid.

    • Name’s Dalton

      Odd. I nodded in agreement. Nothing sits right with me with Fleshgod Apocalypse. Just an overproduced compressed morass.

    • Kronos

      Oracles > anything else from them.

      • Meat Tornado

        I disagree 100%. I also disagree with the line of thought that “band’s old stuff is always better than new stuff/progression is bad” which seems to plague most fans/reviewers. I guess too bad for you?

        • Kronos

          I guess.

        • SegaGenitals

          New Coke. Crystal Pepsi. Terminator 3. Progression not always good.

          • Iain Gleasure

            Where does Dio fit i n do you imagine or the Scorpions? Last in Line was Dio’s 6th album after Elf, he was hardly a new guy on the block. And love at first sting is a great scorpions album but it’s their ninth album. Progression is not always bad.

          • SegaGenitals

            Agree. The artistic work has to be judged for its own merit and as a part of the artist’s oeuvre. The point was an artist doesnt have to “progress” necessarily to make good art, and experimentation does not always pay off. Good progression… final album of Death, Super Mario Bros. 3, iPhone…

        • Where did anyone say that a band’s old stuff is always better than their new stuff, or that progression is bad? Sometimes bands hit their stride early (Entombed, but I do love Wolverine Blues and Morningstar so :P), or they progress beyond the thing that made them most distinctive and lose fans (Opeth, because I just cannot get into Harvest. Actually I thought Watershed was mostly rubbish), and sometimes they more or less maintain an excellent standard throughout (Paradise Lost imo, with the possible exception of Host)

      • I must admit: their most recent record is quite good. But yeah, Oracles FTW!

        • Monsterth Goatom

          I know Oracles gets lots of love here (Kronos’ Yer Metal Is (Five Years) Olde! post, plus top of the heap in AMG’s five-year anniversary post), but it just doesn’t click for me.

          Like Andy, Agony is my favourite FA release. To me it’s the perfect meshing of symphonic and metal. And I love the insane drumming. King is great, too, but I could do without the spoken word stuff and Bordacchini’s Lied-like track.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Why would you always read the last paragraph first ?!?
      I do agree with you that fans who can’t move on from a bands early work (Carcass fans can be the worst) are irritating.
      That said I agree with Kronos in so much as Oracles is easily their best and that Agony and Labyrinth are less interesting than Oracles… buuuut he goes too far .. they’re still interesting albums. Labyrinth should have been excellent but had (IMO) shitty production that kinda spoiled it .. At some point i’ll get around to King hopefully it proves Kronos wrong…

  • Aaron

    Flesh Prevails is one of my favorite albums from the last couple of years. I’ll definitely be picking this up. Also looking forward to seeing them here in Portland in a couple of weeks.

  • great review!
    p.s. LOL (RFI)

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      I don’t get it…

      • De2013

        My guess is March rotm’s cover resembles Fallujaha’s?

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          Oh right yes it does!
          I miss Abbath

      • that’s okay… the reviewer was just talking about how DISinteresting Fleshgod has become, lo and behold their album was the site’s favorite of February ’16

        • De2013

          Aaah! Right, I got it.

          Nice catch :-)

          • i hope i didn’t come off as a dick… i understand that one reviewer is going to treat something differently than another review, but still

  • De2013

    So excited to see this record out already! Didn’t expect it though, rather soon after TFP. Will check it out. Don’t know about you all, but isn’t 2016 an excellent metal year? Amon Amarth, Hyperion, Megadeth, Conduit, Abbath, Predatoria (yes I know)

    Great review, it’s always a pleasure to notice how fair and balanced they are written.

    btw any one noticed the Vinterblot record?

  • Felchmeister666

    Thank god you moved passed the production stuff quickly. I still find that element to be utterly baffling. It’s ridiculous putting that much emphasis into those elements, especially when it completely overshadows the quality of the actual music..

    Think it’s a ‘post-2000’s’ thing. I can’t imagine any journalist/readership prior focussing on such things to that extent..

    • Kronos

      Now that recording technology has become good enough to capture performances almost flawlessly, it matters a lot to many of our readers when that technology is, in our view misused to the point of severely impacting or experience of the music. I actually did not ever want to listen to my promo copy of the flesh prevails because the constant clipping was so obvious and intrusive. Imagine if you saw a movie in a theater with tons of visual artifacts – pixelation, image tearing, etc. Wouldn’t that bug you?

      • Felchmeister666

        But it’s a very different aesthetic. Of course it’d bug me seeing glitches on a screen, but this ‘perfection’ you allude to in production..I don’t know, I just don’t recall ever having been THAT bothered by a bad production. There are a few blatant exceptions of course, but to scrutinise it to THIS degree…it baffles me.

        I think it’s an interesting parallel to how all this constant technology we’re surrounded by has taken away so much romanticism. Sure, you may be hearing a ‘flawlessly captured performance’, but at what cost? Most of these ultra ‘clean’ production jobs sound sterile and lifeless.

        Maybe it’s the ‘imperfections’ that gives the music character.

        I don’t really see the link with ‘capturing performances’ anyway. It’s not like early Morbid Angel records, as one of countless examples, sounded hindered by technological limitations..(!?)

        Christ, the generic prog rock drum sound in the 70’s sounded absolutely beautiful for the most part. Was it ‘perfect’? Undoubtedly not..

        I just think it’s overly anal to be honest. There’s a very fine line. If getting a ‘flawless’ production means every band sounds increasingly similar and lacking in ‘feel’ then I’ll take crappy old recording tech any day..

        • Kronos

          Let me clarify; it’s not that the technology is finally here, it’s that it’s finally cheap enough to be widespread, so the bar is set for bands to have good production. But when bands/producers wreck music by putting so much compression on it, all of that ability to capture the sound is rendered pointless. That album took a lot of time and skill to write and produce, and a couple of technical choices really killed it for me.
          I’m certainly not a fan of super-clean production either; again, if we have the means to capture the sound of the instruments so well, it seems strange to me that some bands would make production choices that make their performances sound less lively – which is often the case with heavy dynamic range compression. If you go through my reviews of tech-death, you’ll find that the production jobs I tend to like are somewhat lassiez-faire; Pyrrhon, Origin, and Ad Nauseam are all very ‘natural’ sounding bands, in part because of their production choices, but also to a large degree because of their more dynamic masters.
          In the end, it does all come down to your preferences. I disagree that the film comparison is inaccurate; I can see where you’re coming from, but it’s simply a different representation of what compression can do to media.

          • Felchmeister666

            Hey, can’t argue with that. I’m not an audiophile in any way, so appreciate that I’m perhaps intruding on a topic that’s ‘not for me’.

            Regarding the film comparison: I didn’t see the parallel quite so much because a glitch on the screen obscures your vision obviously. Now, I appreciate where you’re coming from – in that audio glitches have the same effect – I just genuinely dont recall any albums that have been tarnished by blatant fuck ups, or, from a sonic equivalent of ‘dust on the screen’. So that’s where I lost you..

            Cheers for the back n’ forths regardless…

          • I get these arguments, I really do. But for some of us, bad production can ruin a record or minimally, make its staying power A LOT LESS.

            Albums squashed into oblivion generally sound awful on my setups. C’est la vie.

          • Tom Hardy

            With that note, how much can one rely on a review when the promo received is of a lesser standard because as you confirm, for some reviewers, bad production can ruin a record or at least diminish its staying power?

            If it affects some reviewers opinions that much, so why not just go buy the album like the rest of us, listen to it and then review it?

          • My understanding is that the promo we receive is supposed to be the standard that will be sold, so we’re reviewing what the public will ultimately have access to.

            In some rare instances we receive the vinyl mix and in these cases the reviewer is careful to bring this to the readers attention within the review.

          • Shhhh….between us girls Tom, that is exactly what Dave and I do a lot of times if we feel the promo is of such horrible quality.

          • Tom Hardy

            Dang, gotcha mate. I’ll make sure my buddy HAL keeps away from Dave, for you never know what it’d do if it ever found out …

          • You have no idea how many times I have locked the bay doors on Dave. No idea.

          • Tom Hardy

            Outside of the many films I adore from an actor’s perspective, Kubrick’s films are something I hold extremely dear.

          • I can relate. This can make or break an album for me. If an albums physically uncomfortable to listen to and actually gets to the point where it’s causing me listening fatigue or ear pain after only 4 or 5 listens I can’t give it a glowing review in terms of production. I like my music brutal but that’s not the way to achieve it IMO.

    • El_Cuervo

      “it’s a ‘post-2000’s’ thing”.

      I absolutely agree with you. That’s because the loudness war is a post-2000s thing. Say what you will about the recording of Norwegian BM or old-school DM – at least they’re dynamic. While recording techniques are far superior now, the loudness war has led to the degradation of production in this regard.

      • Can I get an amen?

        • El_Cuervo


  • Felchmeister666

    Weird. Whenever these guys are utilising that spacious ‘choral lead’ thing they’re moderately interesting. But their standard ‘technical death metal’ style is extremely fucking boring to me..

  • Hammersmith

    Kind of surprised by the score, but having only heard The Void Alone and Scar Queen (and really liking those tracks) I am still optimistic. I wonder if some of the “trance” is like the middle track off the Nomadic EP.

    • so where do you stand on the trance tracks? whether it’s from the Nomadic EP or the Flesh Prevails song “Alone With You”?
      i think they pull them off with aplomb.

      • Hammersmith

        The song from Nomadic I find meanders a bit for my liking, but I don’t skip over Alone with You, except when I’m in the gym.

        In general I find they seem to make the heavier parts more impactful and the band as a whole more interesting. Although I do agree it works better when its incorporated into songs.

        • yeah, i’d MUCH rather hear some Fallujah trance buried within Fallujah songs, than a whole album of [insert band here] trance. let me rephrase that, i don’t listen to trance; but i love me some Fallujah.
          having said that, their instrumental “Allure” is the best thing i’ve heard them do!

          • Hammersmith

            Allure is good times, I also love Chemical Caves.

          • damn Hammersmith, you got me again. that is also an excellent song. apparently Fallujah is great at writing instrumentals!

  • Dillon Robinson

    Very cool to read this review all these years later and see the same folks having a very similar mixing/mastering discussions as those of TFP. I can’t even pretend to be an audiophile, and honestly don’t understand much of the lingo I’m seeing here, but the production here is so much more crisp. The individual elements stand out so much better than on the last go-around. There are still lingering moments where I think, “TOO LOUD!”, but not nearly as often.

  • Tom Hardy

    I missed the discussion when TFP came out but I’ve gone through the revised review and AMG’s comment on it now. Pretty interesting. So the version that made your top 10 Kronos was a version none of public had purchased on CD … what’s the point? It’s relative really … hey if they tweaked the production, it’d made my top 10, hey if they wrote songs a little better or there weren’t any clean vocals, it’d make my top 10. I mean those list of examples could just go on and on. What eventually matters my friend is what the band wants and how they want to share their vision. Was it the band who signed off on the final mix? It’s an honest question because I don’t know. If they did, then that’s how they wanted to present their album to the public. End of discussion. Whether you want it a specific way or not, shouldn’t matter right? No?

    Do you get promos of sub par quality versus what it sounds on the physical format? I ask in comparison to physical formats because I purchase physical copies and don’t care for digital tracks. Do sub par quality promos affect your opinion of the album? If they do, why not just buy the physical copy like the rest of us and then review it?

    • El_Cuervo

      In answer to your second paragraph, I don’t think there’s much difference often. But in the case that there is, it’s not the reviewers’ prerogative to buy the album just to hear if it sounds better. It’s in the interests of the band to have their material exposed so they should provide the best possible quality version.

      • Tom Hardy

        If it doesn’t make much of a difference, no issues. I was under the impression it could possibly affect the reviewers view of the album in the comments below. Props to you for hitting Reply mate!

  • Norokomoto

    I couldn’t agree more with this review.
    “The Void Alone” remains the most memorable and best track, also from a songwriting perspective. These electronic songs just feel like fillers. i think what’s missing in general is good RIFFS which could build a foundation for a memorable song. Especially on The Harvest Wombs, they had a lot of fresh riffs which combined extremely well with Alex’s rough Vocals, and were a perfect contrast to the proggy solos.
    In this release, except for the titletrack, each song feels like a mashup of 1-2 somewhat pentatonic licks that follow no memorable structures…
    I was really into this band when in their earlier stages (especially the EP)…. this album is fairly disappointing though.

  • Dirty G

    What am I missing with this group? Everyone loves them. Just another melodic death metal band to me.

    • Alex Benedict

      the harvest wombs?

  • Ahmad Syarif Hidayat

    Should 5 (10) not 3 (6).

  • Sebastian Saier

    Does anybody know what DR the vinyl version is? I have the vinyl version and it sounds pretty good to me. Just curious if it actually is more dynamic or if my ears confuse me^^