The Pitch: Progressive death metal band Fallujah deliver their 4th album, the first to feature new vocalist Anthony Palermo, via Nuclear Blast Records. FFO: Be'lakor, Beyond Creation, Entheos. PODCAST
What I Like: The question on every longtime Fallujah's fans' lips right now is "how does Anthony stack up to Alex." In short, the answer is simply "different." Counter to Alex's trademark low, echoing death growl, Anthony has more of a high-pitched shriek. I'd honestly compare it more to a metalcore delivery than a death metal one, which I know may irk some listeners out there. If you ask me, it works just fine. Honestly, I never came to Fallujah for the vocals anyways; for me it's always been about riffs and atmosphere. On this front, there's still plenty to take in. Layers of reverb-soaked backing guitars, highly melodic solos and otherwise technical riffs echo into an infinite expanse and allow the listener to drift into a strangely meditative maelstrom. When the band gets it right, they really nail it. Tracks like "Eyes Like The Sun" are prime examples with some really solid, dynamic structuring that allows the explosive moments to really pop.
Critiques: I have heard some people saying that Anthony is their main problem with this new album, but really most of my issues have to do with the returning members. The instrumentation and songwriting has taken a marked step back from Dreamless. Riffs feel less engaging and more streamlined, an issue further marred by comparatively flat production. Where are all of the dynamic, effects-laden passages and proggy shredders as previously featured on the likes of “Adrenaline?” Gun to my head, I couldn't hum you a single hook. I also found myself deeply missing the soothing backup vocals of Tori Letzler to offset the harsh ones. Her voice was another instrumental element in truly selling Fallujah's dreamlike atmosphere despite the intense instrumentation.
The Verdict: All things considered, Undying Light (somewhat ironically) can't hold a candle up to Dreamless or The Flesh Prevails. While it's still a pretty firm B- in providing above average musicianship and an overall enjoyable experience, that honestly makes it an all the more frustating hit to their previous 4.0 GPA. And once more, it's not at all Anthony's fault. Much like Gojira, a shift seems to have happened in the overall songwriting process, and the results just aren't as memorable or as interesting to me.
Flight's Fav's: Eyes Like The Sun, Departure, Last Light
- Review by FlightOfIcarus
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