The Flesh Prevails
22nd July, 2014 – Unique Leader Records
1. Starlit Path
2. Carved From Stone
3. The Night Reveals
4. The Flesh Prevails
6. Alone With You
9. Chemical Cave
I exclaimed this several times throughout the first play through of the Bay Area quintet’s magnificent second album The Flesh Prevails. Opening track “Starlit Path” draws you into the experience with the beauty of a handjob from a mermaid, before hitting you with a ferociously heavy face-fucking, like from some eldritch behemoth of cyclopean proportions. Savage, thundering riffs pound your cranium like a jackhammer. Simultaneously, tranquil notes in the background serenade you with a haunting lullaby, encapsulating you in an ethereal ambiance unlike any other. The vocals are confusing – they don’t seem to change much in regards to timbre, yet they can lead you through a variety of emotions. When Alex Hofmann lets out his first, shattering bellow, you find yourself captivated until the end of the album.
The structure of the album plays out like a story that you don’t quite understand; it’s a concept album delving into a concept that is just out of the reach of comprehension. Just when you think you understand, it throws you once more. The feeling is intensified when you take in that gorgeous artwork.
These musicians are of an unreal caliber; every single riff is constructed with the care and precision of an artistic mastermind. It is a masterwork not unlike the greats of the Renaissance; the Sistine Chapel of progressive death metal. Some riffs have a remarkably old school feel to them – especially the solos – yet these “old school” influences are served with a side of fresh, unique metal of a fundamentally different nature. The ambient background riffs have distinctly post-metal sound, both contrasting and complementing the crushing heaviness at the same time. The use of effects on the guitars help augment the atmosphere, almost giving it mass. It feels like you’re floating in a viscous liquid, eagerly awaiting the impending quaking that is sure to arrive. When it does go full-on, jaw-shatteringly brutal, it does it in such a way that the underlying beauty is not forgotten. It is still there, in the background, awaiting its next call to arms. This is how you write riffs.
The album is produced beautifully, and thank fuck for that. The nature of this style requires production of stellar quality, and it delivers in that respect. Each note rings with such clarity that they feel like individual entities, weaving an intricate tapestry. It flows in such a way that it’s easy to find yourself getting lost. In fact, I found myself lost in the album the first time I listened to it and before I knew it, the album was over – and so I had to stick it on again…and found the same thing happening. I have now listened to the album nine times. Twice since starting this review today; the re-playability factor of this album is unreal, and adds immensely to its attractiveness.
It’s very difficult to pick a standout song from this masterpiece, as they all flow together so well. If I was to choose but one, it would be the opening track - not because it is any better (and certainly not any worse) than the other tracks, but because it is the entrance way; the first step on the powerful journey that is The Flesh Prevails.
I tried to pick out something I didn’t like about this album. I really did. I sat and I thought about it intensely – but there is nothing there. If I was being overly picky, I might complain that the bass doesn’t seem to have any audible, unique moments in itself. If I was being both picky and ridiculous, I might claim the vocals are too samey and that a bit of variety would improve the record. However, I don’t truly believe that. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this album. It is going on my album of the year list as a very strong contender for the number 1 spot. The only possible way that it could be shaken from that spot is if Jari Mäenpää or Muhammed Suiçmez get off their lazy-technical-guitar-god arses and release Time II and whatever the fuck the new Necrophagist album will be called, and even so, they might end up being shit.
In comparison with their own discography, Fallujah have raised the bar for themselves yet again. While The Harvest Wombs was a fantastic album which finds its way into my ears on a regular basis, this new album is so incredible that it blows its predecessor out of the water. I have the feeling that from now on, if I was to put on The Harvest Wombs, I will only get through a few songs (half of the album, maybe) before I start to miss The Flesh Prevails, and switch over. Do you ever do that? You know what I mean, right?
So in case you can’t read and didn’t get the gist of this whole fucking review, the album is fucking amazing. Go buy it. Buy a t-shirt. Take each member of the band out to a romantic seafood dinner and a movie, then carve the lyrics onto a dead prostitute’s chest. Do whatever you want, but I seriously recommend you do it to the soundtrack of this album.