Fallujah – The Flesh Prevails – 9.35/10
-For a lot of people, this album was their number 1 album of the year, and that’s with good reason. It has been so much fan watching this band grow and progress. From the straight up death metal of their demo and EP to their first album where they added sections of atmosphere (post rock style guitar playing to create a clash of what sounds like black metal on a death metal album) and jazzy style guitar licks. Then came their Nomadic EP which saw the amount of that ambience increase. Now this album. Can technical death metal get any more ambient than this? In terms of listenability, this album just flies by. From brutal passages to beautiful instrumental passages. Constant guitar and keyboard-like sounds behind a massive wall of sound that is the drumming on this album. The drum work and vocal work is incredible and the first two tracks do a great job of introducing what you are already used to from Fallujah. “Starlit Path” and “Carved From Stone” sound like they could have fit perfectly on their Nomadic EP. The album gets a little more interesting with the next two tracks. The way that “The Night Reveals” effortlessly leads into “The Flesh Prevails ” creates a journey like feel through the music and almost makes you forget that there is a singer while you are amazed by their musicianship. And then his return into the mix just leaves shivers down your spine. The vocals fit perfectly in the mix and the guitar tones are incredible. “Levitation” returns to the heaviness of the first two tracks after the experimentation of the previous two tracks. But the most amazing part of the album is the song “Alone With You”, which feels so different from this album, and from the genre of music altogether. It sounds like an electronic dance song with ambient female vocals repeating a phrase over and over, and makes you forget that you are listening to Fallujah. That is until it goes straight into “Allure” and brings back the technicality and musicianship. “Sapphire” gets you back into the feeling that the first two songs of the album gave, getting you back into the swing of things. And then finally then end the album with an instrumental track called “Chemical Cave”, which is an excellent instrumental closer to the album because it leaves you with some beautiful and technical guitar solos. In total, the album has 2 fully instrumental tracks and 1 mostly instrumental tracks. It has 1 ambient track with female vocals, and it has 5 mostly vocal (straight-forward technical death metal) tracks that you expect from this band. The album is full of diversity giving enough of what the fans wanted to hear and enough moments of the band pushing themselves and trying something new. That balance is a hard craft to perfect, especially in challenging genres like this. But Fallajuh have found a way to make that so and release one of the best albums of 2014.