Fallujah - Undying Light (Cover Artwork)


Undying Light (2019)

nuclear blast records

California’s Fallujah are a band that I have been peripherally aware of for quite some time. I’ve noticed the name on many show posters as well as littered on yearly top 10’s and 20’s over the years. Truth be told, I just wrote the band off as another run of the mill deathcore band that was passing themselves off as progressive metal. That being said, I am a big enough person to admit when I am wrong.

Coming right out of the gate on Undying Light Falujah showcase a dynamic and droning atmosphere on “Glass House” that I was not expecting. The band does away with the typical down-tuned, chug heavy djent style and opts to tread a legitimately prog-driven path. The band features ambient interludes with crushing doomy breakdowns, and intricate blast beat driven verses. The production is excellent for the genre and helps to amplify the intricate song structures and time changes throughout the album.

From what I understand Undying Light was the subject of some fan speculation as it is the first record to feature current front man Antonio Palermo, but it appears the band has lived up to their own expectations and continued in fine form. Palermo’s voice adds another layer of guttural but diverse energy to the bands progressive death metal and doomy style. With the track “Dopamine” Palermo offers up a clean vocal melody, which can be a cheesy misstep for many bands of this genre, but it comes off as ambient and thoughtful as opposed to an over produced shot at mainstream melody.

Despite Undying Light’s innovative and interesting song structures and layers, the single issue I have is the length of the songs. Maybe I am not a true metal diehard, but sometimes with songs that already feature a droning and spacey element, enough is enough. The majority of the songs break the 5 minute mark and demand a reasonable amount of attention to fully process, which leads the listener to wonder when one track will finish and run into the next. Now, don’t get me wrong, the stand out songs are an impressive and enjoyable experience, but at times the length could be trimmed up to really generate the home run the band is looking for.

Undying Light is undoubtedly going to make some top 10 lists this year as the band have done a great job at creating an atmospheric and progressive contemporary death metal experience. It goes to show that perhaps I should not judge a book by its cover.