Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails [2014]

It's a shame that absurd math-metal and deathcore hyper-guitar playing ceased to be the prerogative of a chosen few and has now turned into this overripe leitmotif that everyone seems to carelessly abuse. Translation: the technical death metal universe, like all the other sub-genres, is threatened by a lack of originality and excessive boorishness. It's become so hard to find a band with genuine, enduring appeal that one's hopes can disintegrate withing mere hours of internet and archive browsing. The statement can be true within various degrees in accordance to your personal level of pessimism, but that seems to be the big story in today's metal market nonetheless. We are fortunate enough to bands like Fallujah whose intrusion with ''The Flesh Prevails'' was more than just delightful, but simultaneously upraising to the genre at large. ''The Flesh Prevails'' is my first experience with the Californians, and while it has garnered a surprising amount of attention by topping its apparently less impressive predecessor ''The Harvest Wombs'', for me the record has proven to be an un-fucking-believable celebration of how much good music can fill our wazoos with streaming pleasure.

There is no pretension. Fallujah may have the undivided attentions of Cynic, Necrophagist, Decapitated and the like, but in essence it is certainly much more than the sum of its parts. While Fallujah takes obvious joy is dishing out some more simplistic, clinical chug-fests, the overriding motif certainly seems to be the jazzy melodiousness guitars that sparkle and swerve to and fro across every corner of the record with stupendous, opiate ease. Fallujah is ''technical'' enough to compete any of the fierce contenders in the field, namely Decrepit Birth, Spawn of Possession or even Cynic who takes the jazz-fusion element and molds it with the metal components to form something slightly more than a simple accompaniment, but the way the technicality is served is beautiful, even delectable. This translates into plenty of whizzing and zipping guitar notes bouncing along airily, but what serves only as a meager way to decorate bulkier riffing works as the main drive on this record. The guitars almost never feel left out at some point in the record like a bagatelle, like the way they're usually treated.

The superb sophistication of the guitars and their melodic superiority can perhaps only be matched by the timeless feat of the percussion department, with the drums beating and pummeling fresh, invigorating rhythms in a manner that balances the use of double-bass drums and more dexterous fills. But while that complement falls short of serving the drums real justice, what hits me over and over again with this record is how damnably progressive it's nature is. It would perhaps have fared better with the general build of the record if certain atmospheric chord breaks could be excluded, and the rhythm section does in general support a heavy, bludgeoning bevy of riffs that could really fit Suffocation or Cryptopsy just as well, and the guttural vocals (also excellent) are no-brainers, but fuck, there is unquestionably a good deal of progressive aspects to be found on this album. Hell, even some of the atmospheric break-downs (I do hate to call them that) or chorus sequences reek of progressive metal, infused with indescribably beautiful, though perhaps a tad zippy, hyper-math-metal sections which sound like trippy 8-bit mixes. Sure even with the inscrutable care by which the technicality is exerted, the riffs may rarely sound somewhat dull, but in exchange from being robbed senseless of your wits by a hallucinatory jazz/metal congregate that hardly seems to be a con.

The creative expanse of ''The Flesh Prevails'', and moreover, that of Fallujah, is so huge and copiously stocked with hidden booty that it feels like nearly anything could fit the album in general. It's one of those records which omits most creative deterrents and leaves itself to fall freely into the promised land. Think organs, keyboards, synthesizers or even minor orchestras moving through the currents. Yet, what makes this album even more daunting for the dismal purist is the clean voxes of both female and male vocalists that exude their influence during the aural moments where the band decides to take a concise break; elegant and beautiful, I found them to be oddly fitting to the album. And what one song would I use to define the album? ''Chemical Cave'', the one single track which conjures a myriad of images that could just be the birth place of the record had it been given to us humans by some strange alien race, in addition to being my favorite tune in the whole album. That said, ''Levitation'' and ''Sapphire'' are both stunners, crystal coves of ass-kicking, jazzy hashish, and even the experimental instrumental ''Alone With You'', a track that would arouse even the most open-minded metal aficionado, was a spectral triumph as far as I'm concerned. So with as much of the record as I could amass into one humble review, there's no reason for me to reevaluate my verdict. Folks, buy this record, and listen to it till your ears start spurting fucking rainbows.

Chemical Cave
Starlit Path

Rating: 92%

No comments:

Post a Comment