Fallujah – “Undying Light” (Nuclear Blast)
Tech Elements Simmer Down But Fallujah’s Signature Sound Remains
Atmospheric metal is present as ever in Fallujah’s new album Undying Light, which comes out March 15th on Nuclear Blast Records. This is the SF band’s fourth full-length and is the first one to feature new vocalist Antonio Palermo. Death metal passages along with jazz fusion guitar solos are down a few notches but their overall resonance is concise and easy to digest.
The band’s last release Dreamless (2016) had a predominately dark theme to the soundscapes and not as many blissful layers as their previous releases. In Undying Light, more ethereal moments occur and you can tell they really honed in on solid song writing. Another notable aspect to this effort is their song time lengths have reduced as well.
The first track “Glass House” is uplifting with an immense duality of heaviness and celestial guitar layers. Another inspirational and compelling number is “Last Light” where the outro rhythms and melody evokes a powerful reflection. Relentless blast beats with blistering guitar riffage still appear in tracks like “Sanctuary” and “Eyes Like The Sun”.
To be honest when I first heard the singles “Ultraviolet” and “Dopamine”, I was not blown away and a little concerned for what to expect on other songs. But in the end, I was wrong. Some listeners may not like the change in vocal styles. While it may hinder the overall perception of the sound for some, I think the vocals fit the atmosphere. The certain guitar chords and tones on here are cohesive with the vocals and works better sonically.
Another highlight of the album was the last track “Departure”. A lingering, menacing vibe is at the beginning and end of it. Huge chords with dissonance give for a Gorguts or Decapitated feel on this one. I found my head constantly in motion with the killer double bass tempo throughout it.
Undying Light is an album that grows on you for sure but is still an epic journey for your first listen through. The nuances in the layers may not strike home with you instantly but the songs are overall more memorable and breathable. I wish there were more guitar solos and some female guest vocals but nonetheless, the songs speak for themselves.
This album is great but it’s not up there with The Flesh Prevails (2014) which is one of my all-time favorite albums. I would rate Undying Light a 7.5 out of 10 but after a few more listens I’m sure will change to an 8. If you’re a fan of atmospheric metal that has groove and straight forward song writing then this is the album for you.
Author: Tom Sundgren