Crawl Into The Harvest Wombs
Monday, December 12, 2011 Leave a comment
As I’ve mentioned before, Metal is a hit-or-miss genre. It’s rare to find a band that plays incredible music while still being able to experiment with their sound. There are a few names that come to mind when I say that: Opeth, Meshuggah, The Black Dahlia Murder, Obscura, among others. However, when a band comes virtually out of nowhere and puts out a stellar album with all the right skill, sound and experimentation, it’s truly a thing of beauty. The reason I say this is because a band has just recently done exactly that. A band from right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. They’re called Fallujah, and they’ve set a new standard for Technical and Atmospheric Death Metal with their first full length album, The Harvest Wombs.
These guys formed while they were still in high school, and after releasing some self-produced tracks, began playing shows around the East Bay. Lineup changes are a mainstay in Metal bands these days, and Fallujah is no exception to that rule. After they settled on some solid band members, they released an EP entitled Leper Colony. Tours with underground bands and more lineup changes followed, including the return of the band’s original guitarist. They decided to hit the studio again, this time under contract with Unique Leader Records. Thus, The Harvest Wombs was created. The album released on November 22nd, and the amount of ass it kicks is beyond measure.
Leper Colony was an effort that showed their obvious skill, but it lacked in diversity between the tracks. The EP brought together Technical Death Metal with a breakdown or two thrown in for good measure, quite similar to The Faceless and early Job For A Cowboy. Overall, it was a solid debut effort from an underground band. But now that The Harvest Wombs has hit store shelves, Leper Colony is something you’ll easily put aside. There is absolutely no comparison between the two albums.
They have changed their sound dramatically, all for the better. There is more of a sense of atmosphere among the album’s ten tracks, largely due to their decision to include beautiful melodic riffs and solos that give their songs a very exotic and fantastical sound. It’s the kind of music that should be played when someone is fighting a dragon at the top of a volcano. Every song is dynamic and ever-changing, which keeps you interested and wondering what will come next. One second you’ll hear some low and aggressive riffing, the next your ears will be having orgasms from the sudden change to a melodic riff with searing solos. Seriously, the shredding will wreck your face, put it back together, then apologize and buy you dinner. What impresses me the most is how well this all ties together. One would expect so many different elements to create a sense of clutter, but Fallujah pulls it off flawlessly. You can hear this especially in the instrumental track “The Flame Surreal.” The entire song consists of transposing melodic riffs with stellar leads and solos. At one point, the rhythm guitar cuts off the distortion and plays some quick, clean chords while the lead guitar shreds a beautiful and precise solo. It’s quite epic. The other nine songs are equally as awesome. I love every track on this album because each one sounds different, while still sticking to the same atmospheric theme.
With a name like The Harvest Wombs, my first impression was that this was something of a concept album, telling some kind of Sci-fi story. I was wrong about the concept album part, but the Sci-fi aspect was pretty accurate. Technincal Metal and scientific or philosophical lyrics go together like Penn State and rape scandals (too soon?). Bands like Meshuggah, The Faceless, Obscura and Origin have been doing that for years, so it’s no surprise that Fallujah jumped on the nerd wagon. The album’s opening track “Alpha Incipient” paints a picture of androids being produced to one day replace humans on Earth, and “Enslaved Eternal Phenomenon” tells a tale of an omnipotent creature from another world consuming the planet and being a total dick. Some songs are about other things completely, like “Assemblage of Wolves,” which tells of a war between Pagans and Christians. The lyrics seem to be written in riddles at times, but that leaves their meaning open to interpretation.
Overall, this album is incredible. I honestly can’t think of anything bad to say about it. If you listened to Leper Colony and then The Harvest Wombs without knowing both were Fallujah, you’d have a hard time being convinced the two are from the same band. The dynamics, the musical expertise and and the dark lyrics give this album everything it needs to be hailed as one of the best of the year. It’s definitely a must-own for any Metal fan. These guys really show their talent in this record, which borders on instrumental mastery. Fallujah has set the bar very high with The Harvest Wombs, and this release should without a doubt give them the praise and respect they deserve.
All of them. You will not skip any songs when listening to this album. However my personal favorites are “Become One,” “The Flame Surreal,” and “Assemblage of Wolves.”