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Febrallujuus? - 68%

MutantClannfear, May 12th, 2013

It really kills me to say this, but as much as I hate Fallujah for their boring first album and for being the embodiment of the general sort of shitty prog-nerdiness that's being introduced to the death metal and deathcore scenes, I reluctantly admit that this new EP of theirs is not only better than their previous endeavor, but surprisingly decent. This is really the last thing I would have ever expected to enjoy, aside from maybe "Born of Osiris cover the sound of your loved ones being murdered", and I totally came into -Nomadic- expecting the same sort of bullshit I got out of The Harvest Wombs. The band have polished their sound quite a bit and the resulting product is actually pretty interesting to listen to.

Okay, the first thing you need to know about this release is that it's pretty much equal parts djent and tech-death. In the time since The Harvest Wombs, Fallujah seem to have concluded - accurately, in my opinion - that the best way to achieve the atmosphere they've been seeking all this time is to cut out the sheer banality of undiluted noodlefuckage and replace it with jerky, chunky djenty chugs. I'm not too familiar with many names in the djent scene, but I think it'd be fair to say that a lot of these new influences have been ripped from the French band Uneven Structure - while they still lack the clean singing that that band utilizes, they've introduced the djenting of that band, and a lot more groovy clean sections, where the guitars will diddle away on simple yet layered waves of riffs while warm ambient sounds hum in the background. In addition to that, the general feel is the same between -Nomadic- and Februus; in both albums, melodies work in a clear sonic space while the "firmament" of the mix, so to speak, is doused in reverb-laden, high-pitched melodies which proceed to act as a blanket for the rest of the music. Fallujah even seemingly borrowed from Uneven Structure's propensity towards outright ambient, with the second song "Silent" sounding quite a bit like the second disc of Februus, which is exclusively ambient.

The songs have quite a bit of flow to them, and manage to not sound too disjointed like a lot of tech-death tends to. Deathcore breakdowns are totally out of the equation here, having been excised from the music entirely. But groove is still present within the music in the form of Fallujah's breed of djent, which sounds like a more organic take on the riffs from Chaosphere (think of chuggy sections which aren't exactly complex in terms of time signatures, but cave in on themselves in a flurry of chugs and skip for a moment before collapsing into another groovy set of rhythms). The technical death metal riffs are still here, but the banal type of super-generic techy riffing has been toned down to some extent, what remains has been noticeably improved, and there are even a few instances of the type of tech-death riffs which would be right at home in a Gorguts or Ulcerate song.

The thing about the tech-death riffs here is, Fallujah are not the type of band who are attempting to conjure the vastness or atmosphere of space with their music. It's just stereotypical "cosmic" or "universal" atmosphere, like the kind of vibes you'd get from a New Age composition... the feeling of being in touch with everything in existence. While I can sort of get behind the idea of technicality within a "spacey" atmosphere like Rings of Saturn's, Fallujah's music stands best as just a static monument which radiates a bunch of glowiness and light. I'd be totally fine with just hearing walls of pretty sound cascading down from the band's music, but when the band fire up the death metal riffs and blast beats it kind of takes me out of the moment. Fallujah's vocals (primarily a rougher, more individualized version of the mid-pitched growls on The Harvest Wombs mixed with the occasional weak, dry deathcore rasp) fit fine into the djentier parts, so it's not like they need to be removed, just the ostentatious tech-death. This music begs for complexity in the form of layers, not fucktons of notes, and Fallujah still don't appear to have fully realized that.

The cosmic sort of atmosphere is well-done for what it is, but it still feels a bit too stereotypical to be what I'd call "beautiful" (though to be fair, I'd say the exact same thing about Uneven Structure); and while you'd think an ambient track focused around this type of material would be stellar, Fallujah's take on it is too sonically static in that it's pretty flat in terms of layers and neither builds nor subtracts anything during its running time. It also feels a bit awkwardly placed - Uneven Structure use their ambient songs on Februus as a sort of epilogue to the main album, but here, as a five-minute piece, it feels like too long of an interlude and sort of breaks the momentum between the two main songs here. But the core material is still surprisingly good, and while I wish that at this point Fallujah would just drop the death metal influences entirely and become an Uneven Structure clone, this is a passable release - not to mention absolutely stellar in terms of modern technical death metal, but that's a story for another day.

Fallujah - Nomadic - 85%

Vishaalmetal666, May 2nd, 2013

Experimentation is the brahmastra (Brahma Weapon) of metal. While it can either do wonders, it can also cause devastation, just like experimenting with your root style of music. Either way, it will cause havoc. I can see a storm coming. A storm that will blast your way through to the epitome of experimentation done right. Fallujah is a multi-genred extreme metal band from San Francisco, U.S.A that has changed its course from deathcore to atmospheric/technical death metal, whilst of course branching out within these courses too. They are well known for their ability to blend polarized styles of metal into one, and most important of all, making it successful. Their latest EP, Nomadic, is yet another remarkable display of atmospheric progressive/technical death metal. And mind you, this, is just a calm before the storm.

The Fallujah fans, as I would assume, are open minded when it comes to their music tastes, considering that the band never ceases to come out with something, well, different. And they continue to do so, by cumulatively challenging the fans as to how much they can take. This bizarre, yet amazingly impressive extended play begins with the track, "The Dead Sea". This song starts off with the signature Fallujah atmospheric sound, just before the death metal kicks in. The riffs chug along for a few seconds, but then switch to some air guitar-worthy technicality displayed by Scott Carstairs. The beastly vocals by Alex Hofmann, gatling gun-like drumming by Andrew Baird, and the hypnotizing technicality in the riffage complements each other perfectly. These hypnotic riffs were proven to make a significant impact with The Harvest Wombs, their previous record, which pretty much shot them to the standard technical death metal fame. The song descends into an atmospheric binge, with spacey synths with the trippy drum patterns, making it a perfect extreme metal acid trip. It proceeds to go lighter into a post rock/metal trance, to sooth you down and prepare yourself to get jolted back to the commendable assault of death metal, thereby ending the song on a high note with the miscibility of melodic and technical riffs.

The second song, "Silent", is a brilliant Ambient track that will remind you of Sigur Ros or Hammock if you are an ambient/post-rock follower. This track pretty much does what every other song of this style does; lulls you into another dimension of serenity and tranquility. Although I believe that this 'break' from their sound could be better utilized if it was excluded from the EP and rather played its genuine role in the full-length, moreover maintaining that level of suspense and surprise element for the fans. The last song of this triadic musical piece is "Venom Upon The Blade". This song begins with a math/death metal intro and strides forward to impress you with some noodled-up technical guitaring. The drums and guitar seem to be dueling as to which instruments sounds heavier and better. Exactly what a technical death metal song needs. Much props to the drumming, but the guitar wins with Scott shredding along to glory. The penultimate track transcends into an atmospheric fill, with a fine clean guitar solo accompanied by an eerie singing voice, matching their lyrical theme of darkness quite brilliantly.

Six years into the scene, and they have shown immense potential to engrave themselves into the metal scene as something different. Although, I hope the full-length does it for them. While an EP always feels too short and incomplete for good music like this, I couldn't help but notice the obvious negligence of including Rob Morey, the bassist in the music. The bass sure is adding to the heaviness of the music, but that doesn't suffice to the root style they hold on to: technical death metal. This style is known to have a spaghetti of bass bridges and tasty bass solos, but I was left disappointed in this one tiny but evident black spot, also considering their consistent urge to try out something different. This I feel, could make their music even more enjoyable, also doing justice to the bassist's presence.

All in all, this EP is a magnificent shot at making the fans more eager to hear the full-length. Hell, so am I. I'm also happy to see that Fallujah continues to be one of the bands that carries the torch of diversity, variety and uniqueness in the vast world of metal.

Originally written for:

The exact opposite of what they should be doing - 10%

DomDomMCMG, April 15th, 2013

Fallujah is one of the biggest rising names in modern technical death metal, with the very well received EP "Leper Colony" and debut album "The Harvest Wombs" already in their catalogue. However, I find myself often wondering why this band are so critically successful because their output is essentially a mix of bland technical mush on the debut and non-stop breakdowns with an occasional black metal riff on the EP.

So here is Fallujah with their second EP "Nomadic". I figured i'd listen to it because on "The Harvest Wombs" they exhibited quite a lot of potential on one song, "Cerebral Hybridization" to be exact. Finding this song tolerable and actually enjoyable in comparison to the rest of the album that just blurs together leaving no impression on the listener, I had hoped the band would capitalise on this potential and start writing more songs like that one. However, my hopes have not become reality.

Of course, it is not my place to dictate how a band writes their music, but I feel that Fallujah would become a band worth celebrating if they would just start to write more songs like "Cerebral Hybridization", as opposed to six minute songs that only have mere seconds of brilliance interspersed throughout.

The album begins with a slow, quiet ambient buildup that launches straight into a very chuggy and suspiciously djent-styled riff, which goes on for a while before going into some random noodling that seems only to serve as evidence that the band can play fast technical music, even if it doesn't sound very good. Sure enough the band find themselves going right back to randomly placing atmospheric parts into their songs where they do not fit with no build-up at all, easily my biggest problem with the debut full-length.

My other major issue with the full-length was the drummer, playing inhumanly fast blast beats at almost every point in the album, even at points where it is absolutely not necessary or recommended, usually during the quiet ambient sections. While here he manages to refrain from needlessly thundering on his kit at every opportunity, providing some admittedly impressive fills a couple of times, he soon goes right back to the "blast beats work with everything" formula, most notably in the last minute of "Venom Upon the Blade".

The vocal work is very much the same as before, a very hoarse and forced sounding growl that borders on a hardcore shout at times in "Venom Upon the Blade", which also features a completely unnecessary breakdown from a band who are trying to move away from deathcore. The basswork mostly follows the guitars, while still being somehow audible, which is admittedly an impressive feat.

Track 2 of the EP gets its own paragraph. While for the first 2 minutes you'd be forgiven for just thinking this is an extended quiet intro to another song, it's not. It's exactly 5 minutes of nothing. Just quiet. But hey it is called "Silent" so I guess you could say it's exactly what it says on the tin (or CD case if this wasn't a digital release). Having 5 minutes of silence where they could've had another song seems like a waste and a bit of a "FUCK YOU!" to the fans for actually having to pay for this track, although if the rest of the EP is anything to go by maybe it's a little merciful that they didn't put another song here.

Of course, no technical death metal band would be complete without solos! Even Defeated Sanity find a way to fit a couple into their tech/slam formula. The first solo, on the track Dead Sea, sounds completely uninspired and quite lazy. However, Venom Upon the Blade's solo is far more impressive, even if it isn't immediately memorable.

Basically, Fallujah have again focused too much on being too technical and putting in WAY too many atmospheric sections and it just comes off sounding uninspired and bland. There is still a fair bit of potential that needs to be properly explored, but they couldn't even manage to nail a whole song of excellence this time around. One solo and a couple decent drum fills isn't really enough to be considered "groundbreaking" or "fresh" in my opinion. If you're in the market for quality modern technical death metal you should go about picking up "Radiophobia" by Cytotoxin or "Passages Into Deformity" by Defeated Sanity instead.

Superb - 95%

IndividualThought, April 5th, 2013

Well, it's here, the EP we've all been waiting for from everyone's favorite atmospheric/technical death metal quintet (on this EP, Rob Maramonte left shortly after), Fallujah. At 18 minutes, this EP may leave something to be desired, but I feel the length is not an hindrance, this EP offers everything I was looking for, and it offers great insight to their next album; which I can speculate will be very professional indeed. The interesting thing about this EP is that it's an even more experimental continuation of the their last album, The Harvest Wounds.

Beginning with The Dead Sea was a great move on Fallujah's part, it sets the groundwork for the rest of the EP, and hopefully future releases to come; it's atmospheric, technical, ambient, and almost has a post-rock feel to it, but it doesn't lose it's death metal mentality, the same can be said for Venom Upon the Blade. What I like about the metal tracks most, actually, may be the vocals, they are viciously good, very dissonant and enigmatic in nature, varying from growling to screaming. It would have been awesome if they incorporated some clean singing also (I didn't detract for this). Other than that, the guitars are superb ranging from every style of playing; tremolo, technical riffing, post-rock-ish riffs, "speaking" and it's all just very fitting. The drumming is fantastic also, easily some of the best drumming I've heard in a while; very accurate, bombastic, energetic. The bass is actually audible (at times) which is another interesting aspect of the album.

Now, the outlier on the album, Silence. First of all, this came out of nowhere, but I guess it was expected; they are trying to experiment, and doing a darn good job of it. It's an ambient track, but it's pretty good. It fits in well, with Fallujah's atmospheric side. I detracted 5 points from the rating, because, frankly, I expected more metal.

Now, if this EP is any foreshadowing to their future album (which, from what I've heard, is in the the works, scheduled for a late 2013/early 2014 release), the album will be as interesting as it will be fantastic. I'm definitely keeping my eye out for it. Getting back on track, you'd be doing yourself a great disservice if you ignore this EP, buy it immediately!