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I love death metal and hardcore, but I'm more or less a deathcore hater. Some deathcore bands are just gussied-up emo kids churning out "extreme music" with little idea of what it means for something to be truly extreme, or what it means for something to be music (hint: the two are related). Some deathcore bands are just wannabe technical death metal bands who've decided to throw in some of the usual wanky, triggered bullshit between generic breakdowns. And last, but least shitty, some deathcore bands are basically just doing a poppy version of beatdown hardcore. I actually dig some of this stuff a lot (Emmure's "Solar Flare Homicide" is a fucking jam!), I just don't see why it needs its own subgenre.
Fallujah, however, are none of the above. I randomly came across someone referring to them as a fusion of deathcore and black metal, and between that and the ominous Iraqi name, I was intrigued enough to check out their Leper Colony EP. A fusion of this kind could really really suck (think Dimmu Borgir with slams, which I'm sure someone has done already!), but Fallujah make it sound natural. It helps that they're not trying to bring in pure second wave black metal, since that sort of thing would never fit with deathcore's hypermodern vibe. Rather, their black metal-influenced harmonics and melodies have a bleak, industrial quality that blends perfectly with the chug riffing. There's something French in this aesthetic--I'm reminded of Arkhon Infaustus and Blut Aus Nord, though more in terms of the mood than the specifics of the sound.
If you break the album down riff by riff you'll also hear some melodic/technical death metal riffing along with the black metal and the really brutal slams, but the mix isn't schizoid at all. The music's stylistic variety makes sense because it's all at the service of Fallujah's punishing futurist vision. If I were that robotic spider-tank thing from the end of Ghost In The Shell, this is what I'd play on my iPod all day as I stomped around blowing shit away with my chainguns.
I also took a look at the lyrics, and they show a real attempt to craft a world--a collapsing modern world haunted by ancient conspiracies and the shadow of Satan. These guys are hardly literary geniuses (indeed, some of the passages are more or less gibberish), but they have vision. Few deathcore bands will ever make anything resembling art, but I'm pretty sure Fallujah make the cut.
(Adapted from a band feature written for Trial By Ordeal, www.trialbyordeal666.blogspot.com)