Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails
Unique Leader Records
Technical Death Metal
9 songs (41:31)
Release year: 2014
Unique Leader Records
Reviewed by Neill

Fallujah is a tech death band based out of California. The band has released on full length and two EP's prior to this release. I enjoyed the last album from this band, and I was certainly excited to hear the new material. Before the albums release, two songs were made available to stream. Admittedly, they did nothing for me, and I wasn't sure if I would be interested in hearing any more. However, the album has been getting rave reviews from all over so I gave it a shot.

I guess I get to be the bad guy here. As stated, the album has been getting great reviews, including some "album of the year" and "Game changer" tags. However, I do not feel those tags are justified. The album is decent enough, but there are a lot of issues on this that keep it from being any thing more than "ok". To start, the biggest issue to me is the production and mixing. Everything sounds congested, and metal album or not, things are too damn loud. The guitars and synth blend into one another fairly often, and at times fight for your attention. The vocals are monotone and completely bland. The drums are actually very nice, and incredibly impressive in their technicality, but are buried under the guitar and synth. Listening to this album from a pretty decent system, I get no punch or thump from the bass. It makes me wonder if bass was even used on the album. At times, the vocals sound as if they are fighting to be heard over the music, which in turn fights to be heard over the vocals. Again, thugs are too loud, and it comes out sounding like a mishmash of noise.

Another issue for me is the song writing. Much like the instruments fighting with one another, the songs do as well at times, making it seem poorly thought out. There are vocals over leads, leads over leads, and as a listener it makes me feel divided. What am I supposed to be paying attention to? With tech death in general, this seems to be an issue I hear fairly often, and it's a very big issue in the genre. Nothing gets a chance to really breath or shine here, as everything is constantly going full speed. That is another issue. There are some slower moments on the record (The intro to Starlit Path as well as Alone with You and Chemical Cave) but the majority of the record is in your face with no ups or down and no drama. It's hard to be reeled in to an album that has nothing to grab on to. There is no feeling on the album, and going back to the production, everything is so over done that it sounds mechanical, and I forget I'm listening to something human being made in a studio. I much prefer a more organic sound, with song writing that has some emotion to it, and some up's and downs to allow the listener to feel something.

Now, the album is really not all bad. While the album has some major flaws, there are some really good moments here. The aforementioned tracks, Alone With You and Chemical Cave are really enjoyable. The female vocals in Alone are very well done, and the music behind the vocals is ambient, and not a shred fest. It is quite enjoyable, and the female vocals are a very nice touch. Chemical cave ends the album and is an instrumental. Again, it is a bit slower, and it does feature some great lead work. It is probably my favorite track on the record. The slower section in the title track has a nice lead and is a decent break from the break neck speed of the album up to that point. Don't get me wrong though, the faster songs do have some good moments as well. Levitation I found myself enjoying and the other instrumental Allure is a bit faster than the final track, and does actually have some build and does draw me in and make me want more.

This album has come with some incredible praise. From "Album of the Year" to "changing how we look at metal" it seemed nearly impossible for the record, or any record, to live up to that hype. This album certainly does not live up to that, and comes off very disappointing. The band is very talented, and they have some great technical skill, but there is a lot of work needed in the song writing and product stand point. As it is, the album has some really great moments, and the score I have given it reflects the potential the band has, and the fact that there are a lot of people out there that would most likely love this record, and see past the flaws it clearly has. If you're a tech death fan, by all means listen to this album. If you're someone who wants more than just a shred fest and cacophonous production, you may want to check out a few tracks, and leave the rest behind.

Killing Songs :
The Flesh Prevails, Alone With You, Allure, Chemical Cave
Neill quoted 70 / 100
Andy quoted 89 / 100
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