Fallujah has come a long way.
Formed in 2007 in the United States, the band went from raw Deathcore to Technical/Progressive Death Metal. In 2022, founding members Scott Carstairs (guitar) and Andrew Baird (drums, Muldrotha) recruited Evan Brewer (bass, ex-The Faceless) and Kyle Schaefer (vocals, Archaeologist) to release Empyrean, their fifth album.
The band is helped by Tori Letzler and Katie Thompson (Chiasma) for female backing vocals.
The album starts with The Bitter Taste Of Clarity, a composition which lets a soft introduction set us ready for the storm to come. We discover the new singer’s massive voice, but he is also able to offer visceral screams on this jerky rhythmic which lets haunting leads soothe the rage before Radiant Ascension comes to feed it again. Clean vocals appear, as do the heady Prog roots which allow the atmosphere to vary, then Embrace Oblivion will remind us of the combo’s groovy Deathcore foundations while offering bewitching female backing vocals. The contrast with the aggressive riffs is striking, letting crazy harmonics link them together before Into The Eventide comes to offer us melodious and haunting waves. Screams answer the softer choirs while letting the instrumental reveal a heavy intensity as well as more technical parts before the heavy Eden’s Lament comes to crush us with massive riffs. Softer breaks are also expected, while Soulbreaker will propose mysterious, disturbing and unexpected elements to feed its dissonant groove. Heaviness will also be part of the crushing moshparts before calming down to let the violence come back on Duality Of Intent. We find this dissonant and progressive touch, but also hints of technicality with Jazz influences before reactivating waves of saturation again. The band will welcome Chaney Crabb (Entheos) for a vocal reinforcement on Mindless Omnipotent Master, one of the most aggressive tracks of the album which will easily make crowds move, then Celestial Resonance unveils us more haunting sound centered on the complex Prog influences. We notice the absence of vocals, which allows musicians to develop their respective parts to the extreme, before Artifacts calls the vocalist back to add this energetic touch. We will once again find this interesting contrast between rage and quietness, giving relief to the track which lets softness close the album.
Those who knew Fallujah for ten years will not recognize the band. But their evolution is good, and it allows musicians to fully express themselves without locking themselves in a genre, making Empyrean a diversified and intense album.