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Album Review // 2022-10-10

Fallujah

Empyrean

Released: 2022-09-09


Fallujah has had many member changes over the years. I had only heard a handful of songs by them, going into this review, so you could say I am going in with both ears open.

I first heard this band in 2019 when I had my YouTube channel, and I was really unsure about it. It was a very new sound for me, but piqued my interest.

Longstanding member Scott has explained that he enjoys showing people where he and the other members are at with the music. It is always evolving and maturing. It is all about emotion, and how it makes you feel. He states that this album is a result of great collaboration in the band.

Named after a city in Iraq, the band were just kids at the time. It was meant as a political statement, during a time when this city was associated with war.

The title of this album, Empyrean, seems to be a word used to describe a heavenly place. Maybe even for those that believe in levels of heaven, it is the highest one. It sounds like a serene place. 

I have listened to this album many times, and let it sink in. Here are my thoughts.

Album Artwork

I don't have a clue what is going on here in this artwork. The only thing I can think is that this being is trying to get higher up in the galaxy, as they are facing upwards and there is light coming down covering their face. Their hand is reaching out for more light. Definitely seems like they are seeking more, and aren't satisfied with where they are at. I like the use of only a few colours.

Mood

Recognition of events that have taken place along the way, but a sense of surrendering to the direction things are going. I picture different relaxing things, such as floating in flowing water, sailing through the sky, laying in a bath, sitting by waves at the waterside, seeing something beautiful. Amidst experiences of chaos, there is peace. It feels very open and inviting. I think they did a good job of keeping atmosphere amidst technicality.

Vocals

A concern I had going into this review was that I wouldn't like the vocals. I had heard Embrace Oblivion when it released, and couldn't understand why the guest vocalist, and why the approach with the vocals. Though I see they have utilized the two women whose vocals are featured on this album in the past, I don't always see the need for guest vocals. I really like the harsh vocals. The growling and fries are done nicely. After more listens, I actually think the Katie's vocal in Embrace Oblivion worked quite well to slow the song down. The soft singing in Eden's Lament wasn't what I expected, and didn't sit right at first, but I got used to it. It was a good example of my gut reaction to the singing. I found it interesting that the higher screams in Mindless Omnipotent Master were only seen in this song. There has to be a significance to it. So, as I often feel, I much prefer the more death metal-oriented vocal, but if I was able to get used to the softer stuff. I am sure it spoke to many people, as a whole.

Music

This music feels full for having a small lineup. It isn't all that often that a band in this genre doesn't have a second guitarist. I did hear Scott talking about setting up the main framework and then adding layers to go deeper when composing music. The idea that when the listener listens more, they notice more elements coming together. On the subject of the guitar, I find it stands out. It is used differently here than in many other bands. I think the high notes or the effects on the guitar make it seem almost 80's, and gives it a bright nature. At about 3:50 into Celestial Resonance showcases lots of guitar that has that distinctive sound. The combination of instruments are very relaxing to me. They have a delicate yet hard sound that I can only describe as ethereal, which makes the name of this album so accurate. The drums move around nicely, always keeping a steady pace, which keeps me happy. I like bands with a heavy bass presence, if the movement isn't stuck. The synth sounds add some lightness.  I like that the songs aren't stuck on one thing, and the changes all make sense. I think I am the most sold on the music here. It is solid!

The Bitter Taste of Clarity

I think this is so true. There are so many realities that are hard to accept. I think we often lie to ourselves and try to bury hard things, but they find their way out, even if in bits and pieces.

Frantic cognisance
Slipping into spiralling descent
Dragged down and defeated by cold reality
Aimless and deprived of all you wanted to believe

So let the days you've lost
Focus and align your thoughts
To rediscover what you've buried under
Resolution born in suffering

Radiant Ascension

I think this is trying to embrace the new and move on. Don't stay stuck.

Through the horizon, down
Into the blackness of death
It's time to re-emerge
Abandon all we came from
And start again

So spread your wings, reborn as you return to me
Still calling through the endless night, so far beyond my reach
We were never meant to withеr in apathy

Embrace Oblivion

This makes me think of that saying, "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger".  Does pain and suffering build a stronger person?

Rising tide of the strength within
Revitalized by the pain inside
And reborn again
Rising tide of the strength within
Revitalized by the pain inside
And reborn again

Grinding down to the bone
That which breaks you down
Will remake you whole

Into the Eventide

Seems that you are giving up the fight for a while, and going with it. Makes me think of floating down a stream.

Blinded by their deception
Broken, disconnected
Effigies of my destruction
Swiftly carry me into the nothing
Time unending
I'm somehow still alive
Eyes wide open
Beneath the fading light
Frozen forever
No chance to say goodbye
I am lost in the eventide

Eden's Lament

I think this title indicated Eden, as in a place created to be perfect. But I think it is clear here, that that perfection didn't last. Now we have created the very thing that destroys us.

Sacred new world deconsecrated
Human compulsion to devolve into chaos
Far from where we originated
The true descendants of defilers of our home

Novel malignancy
Of tranquility
Disrupted beyond repair by our arrival

Unstable ground
Starts to break down
Tainting this paradise we've found
Ancient human invasion brought us here

Soulbreaker

It seems like you're stuck in some kind of habitual state where you are just doing things - maybe because you always have.

Remnant from the site of a long-forgotten ritual
Surrounded by the signs of a soul sadistic and cruel
|An omen lurking beneath my conscious mind
Redemption or doom, salvation or demise?

You find yourself holding on to obsessions pulling you down
And they will haunt you
Still reaching from the bottom of all your darkest doubts

Duality of Intent

Sounds like it is very hard to make decisions; neither way seems like the answer, and maybe you have contradicting thoughts. I am so like this. This song is about me. Sometimes, I don't even know what I think. I can't figure it out, even in the silentest moment.

Untie the twisting lines in my head
My nature will nurture every impulse arising from the depths
Of my internal ambivalence
Duality of my intent

Back and forth, we swing again
The enemy of my ascent
Lies within my consciousness

Mindless Omnipotent Master

This puts a picture of robots doing what they are programmed to do, and a bigger one with only greedy, self-focused thoughts is the one behind the programming.

Perpetuated system outside our control
Built to uphold our reign
Its methodical pace is now self-sustained
Soulless, hulking mechanical beast
Driven by impulse, desire and greed
Voracious organism
Enslaving and devouring our young

Human progress
Advancing the process of mindless machines
Creating the new ruler supreme
A culture desensitized
Violent visions entering your mind
Adapting yourself to survive

Artifacts

The thought here seems to be that we all are leaving some kind of imprint or mark on a canvas. Seems the view here is that there isn't too much control, but there is purpose to your life. We are adding something to the piece of art. In this case, maybe you actually circle back and do it again.

A messenger is all you are
Bleeding your soul onto the canvas
A purpose served, you've found your worth
Capturing life as it passes

You will eclipse yourself
Behind the shroud of a monolithic memory
The great epiphany

Flowing on through time
Our vessels come undone
Lost until we find
We're back where we've begun

Playlist Pick

The Bitter Taste of Clarity will make it to my playlist. I thought it was a good way to open up the album, and got me interested. The harsh vocal, paired with the softness of guitar, is nice. I like the title they picked for the song, as well.

Duality of Intent will also make it to my playlist. Like I said, this song was written about me, but is also full of the variety and forward motion that I like.

Overall Rating
7

Readers' Average Rating
6

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