Fallujah seems to be a band of contradictions. Ask a handful of metal fans about them, and you’ll get no consensus on what type of band Fallujah is. Either you think their genre-blending works, or it muddies disparate sounds that don’t work well together.
Originally, their name, a reference to an insurgent-controlled town in Iraq, was a political statement, but now the band members no longer seem interested in talking about it. Some might say that they are typical technical death metal, playing difficult rhythms so ridiculously fast it doesn’t seem human. Others tack on the “atmospheric” descriptor, and take note of the band’s ambient sections of their songs providing black metal riffs and progressive breakdowns as being completely forward thinking. And perhaps, because of the near constant flow of blast beats, each song sounds the same to you, which you like because of the seamless listening experience. Or, perhaps you can overlook the formula drums to discern the subtle differences and can discover something new each time they get played.
However you hear the Bay Area five-piece band, they’ve changed a lot between their 2007 formation when they were still in high school, their 2010 debut EP Leper Colony and their 2011 full-length debut The Harvest Wombs. No one disputes how tight their playing skills are, and now their technical proficiency. And their time seems to be now. Last February, they were forced to cancel a tour with Goatwhore and Hate Eternal after wrecking their trailer on black ice. Though the weather is not shaping up to be much kinder to them as they traverse from Stockton, Calif., to Tacoma, Wash., and back to Long Beach on a mini-West Coast tour, you’ll get a chance to hear them for yourself, and decide whether they’re brilliantly brutal or disappointingly deathcore.
Fallujah plays with Only Nightmares, Jean Grey and Pantheon 8 pm Saturday, Jan. 12, at John Henry’s; no cover.