Fallujah

The Flesh Prevails

Written by: EL on 31/12/2014 14:47:06

Following their impressive debut EP, “The Harvest Wombs” and a shift in sound with the introduction of trance and atmospheric elements in their next EP, “Nomadic”, Fallujah have come back once again with their second studio album, “The Flesh Prevails”. Not one to jump on the hype bandwagon my expectations of their new album weren’t set too high because I have always, in the past at least, felt somewhat disappointed and empty after hearing one of their new releases.

Opening up the album is the slow and mysterious intro of “Starlit Path” which fuses a synthlike atmosphere with a growing sound of a crackling, twanging guitar and blast beats. Not even halfway through this song and I am suddenly hideously aware of how badly this track has been mixed. What was supposed to be a soothing and appealing intro has turned into an assault on my ears and I am already inclined to change the song. Of course it’s been known that Fallujah really like to play around with their saturation levels but this is just the complete and utter destruction of what had potential to be a good song. It completely detracts from their music and makes it sound like something a bunch of teenagers had recorded in their basement on a Wednesday afternoon.

Following with “Carved From Stone” again it sounds like all the different layers are being pushed into a teeny tiny box and are grating together unpleasantly. Take away the appalling mastering job though and you will indeed find a well-focused soundscape with huge potential. With the soaring highs of the guitar and Alex Hoffmann’s deafening vocals it’s a hardship to dislike this, but the sound is just so, so badly mixed I need to push through it involuntarily.

“The Night Reveals” comes next and it actually sounds like someone might be soundchecking in a dingy back bar in the middle of nowhere. The drums have no solid grounding and the guitars fly about the place like an unhinged baby on crack. Why is this so bad?!

The title track “The Flesh Prevails” comes on and I’m really hoping that they can salvage themselves if not even a tiny bit at this point.

The beginning sounds like an overture during a live performance. You know when the roadies are running around like mad trying to set up the next band's kit while this is the music they might play in between. I have no idea where this song is going. It has no direction, no structure and certainly no immediate effect on my imagination. It’s just a long, painful warbling of boring rhythms and uncreative stimulus. The lack of harsh vocals almost makes me sad, and I wish they’d be there just so I didn’t have to hear the rest of the song.

Coming into the second half of the album and the pace has changed. I suddenly notice a more intricate layering and structure. The drumming has more solid purpose and the bass has definitely become more prominent and complex especially in “Levitation”. There is an out of time, airy solo section that has to be the most memorable part of this album. Why the rest of the songs couldn’t have been this good I cannot for the life of me understand. After the airy and effervescent tones of “Levitation” more trance is infused into the mould and in “Alone With You” the stunning guest vocals of Roniit Alkayam are presented to us, which blend so perfectly into the song.

“Sapphire” and “Chemical Cave” close the album off with gumption and merit. It baffles me that the better half of the album should have to be victim to such poor beginning. If it wasn’t my obligation to listen to the whole album a few times I am certain that I wouldn’t have lasted the full 42 minutes given that my first impressions were that of horror and questionable deafness. The last two songs of the album have layers of simpler and more appreciative riffing as well as a bit of punk influenced drumming.

I think it’s safe to say that my expectations were met. I was massively underwhelmed and am incredibly surprised by their mastering choices. Hopefully they can come back from this and produce something that doesn’t make me want to rip my ear drums out.

4

Download: Levitation, Sapphire
For The Fans Of: Son Of Aurelius, Beneath the Massacre
Listen: facebook.com/fallujahofficial

Release date 22.07.2014
Unique Leader

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