Fallujah are a band that builds elaborate cathedrals of progressive, technical death metal that remains underappreciated with drummer Andrew Baird and guitarist Scott Carstairs being the only constant.
This band’s state of perpetual flux is reflected duly on their latest album Undying Light, which is as turbulent as their lineup and is hard to keep track of. Despite that, things remain seamlessly tight, these intellectual, emotional songs reaching deep into the psyche with brainiac lyrics and riffery.
Beginning with the one-two punch of the Meshuggah-infected “Glass House” and the Dream Theater/Shadows Fall/Soilwork splicing of the desperate “Last Light,” Fallujah still obviously seem eager to impress, the David fighting against the Goliath of middling critical opinion. Tracks such as the initially brutal, scathing, cybernetic “Ultraviolet” give way to exquisite and tender soloing that conjures Eric Johnson.
To hear Undying Light is a long, deep gaze into the human heart and the soul of a machine simultaneously.
If the album were argued to possess unnecessary padding, the cynic might find it in “The Ocean Above” but come the next song, roiling rumbler “Hollow,” all extraneousness is forgotten, the razor-sharp deliberate precision of “Sanctuary” further disintegrating whatever doldrums this record might have. As “Departure” finishes the record, I can’t help but feel a little sad that the 45-minute trek through time, space, and mind is over.
Fallujah are an act worth caring about. Listen to them and learn the infinite.