Fallujah – Dreamless (Nuclear Blast)

Genre: Death Metal/Progressive Metal

While many technical death metal bands offer convoluted riffery, contorted rhythms and precious little in the way of genuine songcraft amidst the brutality, Fallujah tread a different path.

The San Francisco act embrace soaring, stratospheric melodies and multi-textured guitarwork, taking their cues from scene royalty Cynic – the glistening leads of Scott Carstairs and Brian James, for instance, owe a lot to Paul Masvidal’s trailblazing style. And they often dispense with death metal elements entirely, such as on the sparkling title track, with its ethereal female vocals, or during the cybernetic, atmospheric passages of Les Silences.

However that doesn’t mean Fallujah can’t unleash hell when the mood takes them –  and their regular intense barrages are made all the more potent by powerhouse drummer Andrew Baird. Adrenalin, for instance, unleashes a salvo of nuclear riffs and pounding kick drums right from the off, moving into pitch black territory as the song grows (though it does eventually glide into gentler climes).

Dreamless isn’t without its flaws though. Like most virtuoso musicians, Fallujah have a tendency to meander aimlessly, such as on Wind for Wings, a track that loses its way despite boasting some great ideas.

Yet despite this, Dreamless is still a monumental third album from the quintet:  it sounds like it was years in the making, such is its ambition… and at times will take your breath away. Just plug yourself into the likes of Abandon and you’ll see what we mean.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 8/10 Dream State