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There is too much wasted potential here - 20%

DomDomMCMG, November 29th, 2012

Yet another victim of the hype machine that surrounds too many mediocre bands these days is Fallujah, an "atmospheric technical death metal" band from California. The band seemed to attract quite a lot of attention with their debut EP "Leper Colony" but that was just black metal riffs and repetitive breakdowns. Fast forward 2 years and they've released this new debut album "The Harvest Wombs". A different sound was promised and was certainly delivered but there is still something missing from this.

The band seems to be more focused on being as ridiculously fast and technical as possible with dissonant sweeping patterns and thundering triggered blast beats mixed with ambient sections that don't really do much. They completely fail in their attempts to set any atmosphere, seem forced and unnecessary, come out of nowhere with no build-up and it just seems like an unstructured mess. The few times in the album where the band do seem to be doing something interesting they just throw it all away and go back to the same "LET'S SHOW HOW TECHNICAL WE CAN BE!" formula. Special mention to the 7 minute instrumental title track that feels like a lot longer than 7 minutes.

It certainly doesn't help that the drummer never slows the fuck down, constantly blasting away on his awful clicky drumkit. He blasts during the ambience, he blasts during the slower riffs and grooves, he just blast beats the fuck out of everything and it becomes very tiresome.

The vocalist also provides a very mediocre performance. His growls are hoarse, boring and robotic and his lesser used higher scream becomes quite grating even when used as rarely as it is.

However, the band have managed to pull their finger out and actually write something great. Track 4, "Cerebral Hybridization" is a brilliant song, beginning with an awesome technical riff and containing a few solos and an atmospheric part that does actually fit into the song structure. The only thing that lets it down is a little core breakdown around the 1:45 mark (following a bellow of the song title, usually how a lot of these breakdowns start). Thankfully the breakdown doesn't last long but it didn't really need to be there at all. Despite that, the song is still a small example of what Fallujah could achieve if they really focused less on playing as fast as possible and slowing it down for ambient parts for no apparent reason and more on actually writing decent catchy riffs and solos.

Based on Cerebral Hybridization alone this album gets 20%. If Fallujah focused more on constructing songs like that one, then they would quite easily become a favourite band of mine, but until they actually realise they do know how to write a song and start actually writing songs, they're forever going to be a horribly mediocre band with a depressingly large amount of potential.