Fallujah is an American progressive death metal band. Characterized by their highly eclectic yet totally cohesive sound that combines elements from countless different forms of music that appeal to its members, they have become a fast-rising force in modern death metal and are poised to become big-names.
Formed in San Francisco, California in 2007 by Alex Hofmann (studio guitars, vocals), Scott Carstairs (lead guitar), Suliman Arghandiwal (vocals), Dan Wissinger (bass), and Tommy Logan (drums), most of the initial lineup swiftly folded, leaving only Hofmann and Carstairs. Brandon Hoberg and Rob Maramonte quickly joined on bass and rhythm guitar, respectively, while Andrew Baird replaced Logan. Come 2009, they released a demo to moderate fanfare along with the Leper Colony EP, while Maramonte and Hoberg both left and were replaced by Anthony Borges and Rob Morey on their respective instruments, though Borges left the following year and was replaced by a returning Maramonte. Another demo was released, and a deal with Unique Leader Records was inked sometime around then as well. Come late 2011, The Harvest Wombs was released to much fanfare and critical acclaim, and the band slowly but surely began finding their way onto various high-profile tours, culminating in a spot on the Summer Slaughter Tour opening act ballot that turned into an appearance on the Slaughter Survivors Tour. There were still some difficulties, however, as Baird was busy battling cancer and thus was too sick to make a good deal of the shows; while he was still an official member of the band, Chason Westmoreland filled in for him until he was healthy enough to man the kit once again.
2013, however, was the breakthrough year. Kicking things off with a three-song digital EP that made a sizable impact, they quickly followed it up with their first European tour in support of Suffocation. While Maramonte did leave the band to focus on The Zenith Process and All Shall Perish (where he replaced a departing Ben Orum on a temporary live basis), it didn't prove to be much of an issue. 2014 brought even bigger things, namely the induction of Brian James on rhythm guitar, a slot on the Summer Slaughter Tour, and the release of The Flesh Prevails, their sophomore full-length, which has gained rave reviews and near-unanimous praise. 2015 proceeded uneventfully (aside from a new deal with Nuclear Blast Records) as they went through the support cycle, and they began recording a third full-length by the name of Dreamless around the end of the yea, which saw a 2016 release.
As of July 2017, Alex Hoffman has made the decision to depart for personal reasons. Adam Cody (Wretched) did the first several shows without Hoffman, while Monte Barnard (The Kennedy Veil) is doing the rest; after the tour concluded, Monte was offered the job and turned it down. After a lengthy wait, Antonio Palermo (Underling) was announced as their new vocalist, and Undying Light, their first full-length with him on vocals, was announced for a March 2019 release.
- Demo 2009
- Leper Colony (2009) - EP
- Demo 2010
- The Harvest Wombs (2011)
- Nomadic (2013) - EP
- The Flesh Prevails (2014)
- Dreamless (2016)
- Undying Light (2019)
The band contains examples of the following tropes:
- Ascended Extra: Antonio Palermo was a longtime friend of the band whose own band had had Rob Morey in its ranks for some time. He was an easy and logical choice.
- The Band Minus the Face: Likely will be the case without Alex.
- Concept Album: Dreamless is a loose concept album based around various movies that the band is fond of.
- Deathcore: Their demos are cut from a prog-core mold, while Leper Colony was more of a blackened core album. They dropped this sound with The Harvest Wombs.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Pretty much everything before The Flesh Prevails. The first and third demos were technical/progressive deathcore, while Leper Colony was a blackened deathcore album. While The Harvest Wombs shed the deathcore elements, it still lacked the shoegaze and dream pop elements that would come to define their work and was firmly in the tech/prog pool. Even Nomadic, which introduced the shoegaze elements, was still firmly based in the sound of The Harvest Wombs.
- Epic Rocking: "The Harvest Wombs", "The Dead Sea", and "Venom Upon the Blade" are all over six minutes.
- Filk Song: Dreamless is an entire album of these.
- Instrumentals: "The Flame Surreal", "The Harvest Wombs", and "Allure".
- Large and in Charge: Scott Carstairs.
- Lead Bassist: Rob Morey is a Type A.
- Lighter and Softer: The Flesh Prevails, which has a far more dreamy, ethereal feel and generally doesn't really focus on being heavy.
- Loudness War: A big problem on all of their releases, which is fairly jarring when you consider their influences. Even among their discography, The Flesh Prevails is infamous for this. The band and the engineer said they were going for a "larger than life" sound on that album, but admitted they fucked up and took it too far. Fortunately, this album has been re-released with a different, much more dynamic mastering on vinyl.
- Metal Scream: Hofmann is a Type 2 who can also pull off Type 3s, while Palermo is a hybrid of a Type 1 and a Type 3.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Solid 10 on Leper Colony, soft 10 on The Harvest Wombs and Nomadic (minus "Silent" on the latter, which was a 1), and everywhere from a soft 9 to a 1 on The Flesh Prevails.
- Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Mixes elements of technical death metal, melodic black metal, progressive metal, jazz fusion, shoegaze, darkwave, ambient, dream pop, synthwave, and trip-hop.
- New Sound Album: Multiple:
- Leper Colony dialed down the prog influences and dialed up both the black metal and core influences. It didn't stick and the band swept it under the rug.
- The Harvest Wombs dropped the core, expanded on the prog, and picked up some Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly tendencies.
- Nomadic bumped up the Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly even further and introduced female vocals, as well as changing the lyrical approach to more personal, meaningful subject matter.
- The Flesh Prevails downplayed the tech in favor of a far more prominent focus on atmosphere, playing up the shoegaze, trip hop, post-rock, and dream pop elements and introducing clean vocals.
- Undying Light eliminated what little tech was left for an album that is basically a prog-death/shoegaze fusion.
- Obligatory Bondage Song: "Carved from Stone".
- Older Than They Look: Brian James is 26, but between his short stature and overall young-looking appearance, he doesn't look any older than thirteen or fourteen.
- One-Woman Wail: Byanca Munoz's spots on "The Dead Sea" and "Venom Upon the Blade".
- Out-of-Genre Experience: Nomadic had the ambient track "Silent", The Flesh Prevails had the trip hop track "Alone with You", and Dreamless had the synthwave tracks "Fidelio" and "Les Silences".
- Progressive Metal: Had elements of this on The Harvest Wombs, but really started to push this with Nomadic.
- Purple Prose: Pretty rampant in their older material thanks to the lyrical approach boiling down to lots of pseudo-metaphysical and philosophical rambling. Hofmann switched to more personal lyrics on Nomadic because he felt that he wasn't actually saying anything of value and wanted to write lyrics that actually meant something to him.
- Revolving Door Band: Had a ton of lineup shifts early on but gradually settled down.
- Shoegazing: Their releases starting with Nomadic featured increasingly prominent elements of this, and Undying Light was where this truly took prominence.
- Special Guest: Francesco Artusato (All Shall Perish) contributed a guest solo on "Become One", while Byanca Munoz of the dream pop act Whirr contributed guest vocals to "The Dead Sea" and "Venom Upon the Blade". Meanwhile, The Flesh Prevails features Scott's guitar teacher Christian Muenzner on "Allure" and the dream pop artist Roniit Alkayam on multiple tracks, and Dreamless featured guest vocal spots from Tori Letzler, Katie Thompson (Chiasma), and Mike Semesky (Ordinance, Interloper), plus a guest guitar spot from Tymon Kruidenier (Our Oceans, ex-Exivious). On the live end, Chason Westmoreland was Andrew Baird's fill-in until he was healthy enough to resume his duties, while Nicola Gruhn (Virvum), Greg Paulson, Danny Tunker, and Nico Santora (Lillake) have been (or are, in Santora's case) live guitar fill-ins, and both Monte Barnard and Adam Cody (Wretched) served as live vocalists until Antonio Palermo joined full-time.
- Technical Death Metal: The Harvest Wombs. Nomadic was also this to some degree but represented a bridge between that style and the more progressive/atmospheric leanings of The Flesh Prevails, and the band isn't sure if they even are a death metal act at this point. They dropped this entirely on Undying Light; as per Scott Carstairs, they were all at the point in their career where they had more than proven themselves as technical musicians and had gone from wanting to challenge themselves as players to just wanting to make music that they really felt in their hearts, but they didn't consciously choose to stop being tech so much as they just made no effort to write music in that style, and as far as they're concerned, people who miss the old style can just listen to Virvum and Irreversible Mechanism.