Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: 09/09/2022
Location: San Francisco, California
We find ourselves in a technical death metal renaissance right now. Bands like Archspire, First Fragment and Rivers of Nihil are becoming something of a household group of names in metal circles. Fallujah has always been in the same conversation but always for some reason or another to a lesser degree. As I mentioned, they lacked something that I can’t quite put my finger on that kept them from being an old favorite.
Here on Empyrean everything has changed for the better. The song writing has become the forefront, with memorable riff after catchy hook. Fallujah puts on a clinic of technical playing as well as superb songwriting that leads the listener down different rabbit holes of techdeath mastery. The drumming is out of this world, pummeling while simultaneously finding ways to be subtle and even quiet on some tracks. The bass playing displayed on this album is nothing short of absolute perfection, which coming from Evan Brewer is no surprise. If you don’t know his work with The Faceless or his solo efforts you owe it to yourself to look him up on YouTube.
The vocals are the biggest improvement from past efforts here and they are elevated in every possible way. Kyle Schaefer gives us the lowest gutturals and the highest pitched screams, as well as pitch perfect cleans that are sparingly used throughout the entire album. Giving the band hooks and substance they previously lacked.
Empyrean is easily on my list for top 3 albums this year and is a contender for first place. Again the songwriting is so perfect and the playing so impressive that I found myself going back again and again to listen to it as now nothing seems to scratch that itch. Fallujah have crafted their masterpiece and it’s still early in their career. I can’t wait to hear whatever they do next with this lineup intact as they have struck gold with Empyrean.