Fallujah - Empyrean (Nuclear Blast)
Founded 15 years ago, influenced by the likes of Death and Decrepit Birth, and coming to prominence along side bands such as The Faceless and Abiotic, it might be a surprise to think that Fallujah is still a relatively young band. With two of the longest running members barely in their 30's, the San Francisco based progressive tech-death unit still has a long career ahead of them.
As a perfect example of the shape of things to come, Empyrean, the band's fifth full length album, has come at last to start the next chapter with the bar set high. The first offering to feature vocalist Kyle Schaefer and bassist extraordinaire Evan Brewer (solo artist, alumnus of The Faceless, Entheos, Animosity, and Reflux), the result is a mind bending blend of beauty and brutality.
For those who caught Fallujah on the road earlier this year with Rivers of Nihil (if you didn't, click here to see what you missed!), "Radiant Ascension", "Eden's Lament" and "Soulbreaker" made their live debut some four months before the release of Empyrean. While the latter two certainly had the crowd moving with their neck breaking tech-death goodness, it was the former that had fans saying "Anyone can do solid growls, but (Schaefer) killed it with the clean parts, that was great!" after the set.
Another excellent example of Schaeffer's power on the mic can be found on tracks such as "Embrace Oblivion" and "Into The Eventide". Pushing the vocal envelop even further, "Mindless Omnipotent Master" features the unmistakable snarls of Entheos frontwoman, Chaney Crabb.
All the while, Scott Carstairs and Andrew Baird (guitar and drums respectively) remain lockstep with every groove, breakdown, and solo. Together with Brewer and his thundering low ends, the trio come together in flawless harmony in the nearly seven minute long instrumental, "Celestial Resonance". Followed by the Dream Theater meets Decapitated inspired closer "Artifacts", there is no telling what new heights Fallujah will rise to in the coming years for fans of prog, djent, tech-death, and overall extreme music.
The Metal Mayan review
As the first band I ever interviewed for a publication (then vocalist Alex Hofmann in 2013), Fallujah has always had a special place in my musical heart. Personal experiences aside, it has been incredible to watch them evolve from a purely tech-death/deathcore band to something much greater and unique.
While already on my radar, as soon as I heard the great Evan Brewer was onboard, I knew Empyrean would be nothing short of excellent. Still, the end result was even greater as each track was a great balance of mood and heaviness.
If you missed the May tour, fret not, as Fallujah is just weeks away from kicking off their next North American run supporting Psycroptic. While you buy your tickets to the show, be sure to visit your local record store too and pick up a copy of Empyrean, out 09 September on Nuclear Blast!
Advance copy courtesy of Secret Service PR and Nuclear Blast