Fallujah have been dubbed as so many different things over the years; whether you see them as “Progressive Death”, “Tech Death”, “Technical Progressive Metal” or “Technical Progressive Death Atmospheric Spacey Metal” there is absolutely no doubting the band’s skilful prowess in delivering at times vastly complicated music alongside slabs of ambience. When the Californian five piece released The Flesh Prevails in 2014 it showed a band who had come on strides since their debut release The Harvest Wombs, and a band who were capable of living up to the level of hype and intrigue surrounding them. Their style isn’t one that will be easy to swallow for everyone - for a start there isn’t really anything ‘instant’ about it. This is a band whose music you need to really give time to digest to allow an appreciation to what they’re trying to achieve. With Dreamless Fallujah haven’t taken the huge strides they did between albums one and two, in fact to a point it feels like they’ve gone back a bit, but it’s still a solid release which will certainly keep the Techy Progressive Metal fans happy.
The reason we’re not shouting aloud over this album like we may have done for The Flesh Prevails is the fact that expectations felt a lot higher this time. There are doses of brilliance, take Scar Queen for example, try listening to that and not hitting repeat instantly. Some of the more atmospheric bits and pieces are really strong as well, with Tori Letzler and Katie Thompson putting in a serious couple of shifts. But it’s ultimately flashes of brilliance, flashes too far apart. More so than ever on this album it’s clear that one of the weakest points comes in the lead vocals department. The vocals struggle to grasp the same level of intensity being delivered musically, something which grates more and more with each listen. To say they’d fare better as an instrumental band is perhaps going a bit too far, but the fact this thought is even swirling in your brain (and it will) is a concern. The production across the album is also relatively suspect at times with sections feeling like they should be sound-tracking the next Tekken Tag Tournament.
Overall though, Fallujah are without a doubt one of the most exciting bands in the Technical Progressive scene at the moment. The amount of bands who are simply churning out more of the same is disappointing so to have Fallujah pushing their own limits with each release is refreshing at least. Dreamless, as a whole, is a good album, but in the main it's also very forgettable. There is no doubting though that the potential within this group of very talented individuals means we could yet see huge things from them in the future.