There’s an old saying that we’ve likely all heard at some point in our lives, where someone has stated that perfection can’t be rushed. Well, next time someone tags you with this adage, you have my full permission to swiftly kick them in the family jewels, because they’re dead wrong. And they’re likely narcissistic, but that’s another area of discussion. I bring this up because April 29 marks the release of new disc Dreamless from FALLUJAH. It’s been less than two years since their last release, making things seem a bit rushed when you consider that for most groups, the album cycle usually puts new albums around two and a half to three years apart.
Since 2014, the Bay area quintet signed with Nuclear Blast Records; so it seems the guys were excited to get new material out through the new label. Similar actions were seen in 2011 when BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME signed with Metal Blade Records and released the The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues. The difference here is that BTBAM release was a three-song EP and FALLUJAH are putting forth a full LP; a daunting task for most musicians, usually ending in the output of a failure known as “biting off more than can be chewed”. But fear not, because Dreamless is everything a death metal album should be, offering relentlessly pummeling drums, guitars that battle between soaring leads and thrashing riffs, guttural death growls, ethereal atmospheric soundscapes and gorgeous clean vocals.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Wait a second there, Mr. Cheesedick. Clean vocals and atmosphere as requisites for Death Metal? Surely you jest, right?” No. Allow me to explain; the clean vocals here are not in the same vein as one may find on a metalcore album. The group sought the help of additional voices in Tori Metzler, Katie Thompson and Mike Semesky (RAUNCHY, REST AMONG RUINS, ORDINANCE). The feminine vocals are widespread throughout, adding another dimension to the songs whether in the front of the mix or used as melodic ambiance. This builds off the areas of clean melodic vocal that sat so subtly on The Flesh Prevails.
As one may have noticed, I have yet to name off any tracks from the record. I decided not to break things down entirely here because Dreamless is so phenomenally excellent that you won’t want to split it into separate tracks. It’s more than just heavy, more than just technical, this is the culmination of a group finding a way to display the expansive breadth of sonic range within, showing their complete artistic dexterity. In other words, FALLUJAH should put a disclaimer on the package for the disc that simply says, “Hope you didn’t make any fucking plans” because you won’t be able to put this one down.
P.S. It’s merely the end of April, and I am calling it now that this will undoubtedly be my vote for the best record of the year.
STANDOUT TRACKS: EVERY SECOND OF THIS RECORD