Fallujah - The Harvest WombsMan, this has been a long time comin’. In November of 2011 Unique Leader Records sent me a copy of the new (and debut) Fallujah record and I’ve been meaning to get to it ever since. But since we have a busy release schedule and I’ve been busy as hell I just hadn’t really gotten the time to write about it. So I figured the best way to handle this was to blurb it, because it needed to be written for those who haven’t had the luck of running into talk of it elsewhere. Though, if you’re a tech death listener, you probably already have stumbled across it elsewhere. If you haven’t, what the hell are you waiting for? This unique and enticing technical death metal listening experience awaits you.

I was taken aback by the sound of this album at first. The production is actually, unfortunately, the first thing that stood out to me. The drums sound very replaced and the guitar tone isn’t really my thing, it’s crunchy as hell, sure, but in combination with the drum tone it ends up sounding really artificial, which is a shame. What isn’t artificial, however, is the quality of riffs these dudes are knocking out. While not quite on the level of a Spawn of Possession riff-a-second kind of brutality, these guys have meandered well down that path. Sinister grooves offset by reverby almost-clean tones on the jazz influenced solos (that are really reminiscent of Exivious) and at times they have almost a melodic black metal tendency that sounds like they’re using an eBow to do their trem-picking. It makes for some of the most unique technical death metal melodic sections I’ve ever heard.

And while these guys are also technical and they kick out riff after riff of high quality technical death metal, it’s not just that which pulls me in. Instead, the song writing isn’t just a bunch of linked riffs, but it’s embedded in song structures which show off the talent inherent in the band. All of this, of course, is overlaid by monstrous death metal growls that offset whatever sweet melodies or beautiful artistry might be contained with pure, raw brutality. While some bands set up the “beauty and the beast” dynamic with vocals, Fallujah does it with the lead guitar and death metal vocals, making it stand out instantly for what it is.

So while this may not beat Beyond Creation for the best death metal record of 2011, I’d say it belongs in the Top 5 for the genre. This is a tremendously brutal and seriously smart addition to the genre and I’m looking forward to hearing more from these guys (even if they are all a bunch of shorthairs).

Highlights: “Become One,” “Prison of the Mind,” “The Harvest Wombs”