A Gift to Artwork: Fallujah

We’re sorry, we know we’ve been a little slack with getting these posts out to you and we’ll look to publish them at least once a month in future. Also, moving forward the first time an album is mentioned we’re going to link it with a large, high-res image of the covers we’re discussing so that you can see what we’re on about more clearly. Today we’re going to be analysing the album covers of Fallujah’s first two full-length records, and how they relate not only to those albums, but to the evolution of the band over time. First up we have 2011’s The Harvest Wombs.

Harvest

The first thing that strikes me when looking at the three central figures is a comparison with someone breaking out of the pods in The Matrix, and sure enough this isn’t wide of the mark as the lyrics are Sci-Fi in nature. Yet the comparisons with science don’t end there, in fact we’re only just beginning. Firstly, around the throat of the central figure we have a hexagonal table which (loosely) brings to mind chemistry and the periodic table. Continuing with this theme, wrapping around the torso of each figure, and around the heads of those on the left and right, we have binds which closely resemble electron shells. Thus the heart of the central figure, and the brains of the others, can be seen to represent the nucleus of these atoms. This is quite fitting given the current-day and historical emphases, both literal and figurative, which have been placed upon the importance of these two human organs on an intellectual and spiritual level.

Next, look at the head of the central figure – it’s exploding. What kind of an explosion is it? Well, we said the heads of the other two figures represent the nucleus, given that there are electron shells circling around them. There are no electron shells around the central head because we’re seeing an example of nuclear fission. The nucleus has exploded, sending rays of brilliant light and drops of blood flying into the rest of the image. Yet, even amongst such chaos, the links to science continue. The nucleus exploding from the central man’s head almost looks like a sun/star, whilst the surrounding drops of blood are planets which make up that particular solar system. The parallels with Fallujah’s sound are clear. Yes, the science here ties in with our lyrical themes. Yes, the violence of an atomic bomb’s explosion ties in with how we sound at our heaviest. Yes, we’re playing technical death metal, which relies on the order and logic to be found (or sought after) in the sciences. This hybrid of science and violence is also brought out in the colour scheme of the artwork, with the cold, calculated and metallic blues juxtaposed against crimson and chaotic shades of red. However, there is still one aspect which demands to be examined. We all know that Fallujah’s sound, particularly on their latter releases, is as much about atmosphere as it is about chaos and brutality. Well the atmospheric elements are represented by the lower part of the image, where you see that the figures have their legs crossed and arms out in a zen-like meditative state. Thus every musical aspect of their sound on this release, along with several lyrical motifs, are present within a single piece of artwork: a great representation of a picture telling 1000 words.

Flesh

Next we have the stunning cover art of 2014’s The Flesh Prevails. Looking back at The Harvest Womb’s cover, about a fifth of that, only the lower portion, was dedicated to the atmospheric aspects of their sound. Here, we see the cover split evenly between the beautiful and serene female figure, representing this ethereal aspect, and the pained, somewhat demonic male to her right. Thus, it’s clear that atmosphere has become a much more important element to the band, and the absence of scientific motifs here suggests that there is less of a focus on the technical aspect of their death metal roots. What’s more, the male figure looks like a dead old man, his skin having turned blue and his face wincing in pain, implying that the heavier, death metal aspects are dying off, whereas the younger, fresher imagery of the sky-bound and fearless female only looks like growing. Despite this dichotomy, we see that these two halves are still part of the same whole, their hands touch, whilst their bottoms are seemingly fused as one, at least for now. That the two figures are moving apart from one another evokes a sense that this is a transitional album for Fallujah, and that they’re yet to reach what they see as their end goal, their final destination. Finally, the nudity of the female lets the listener know that Fallujah are laying themselves bare here, and that they have come closer than ever before to revealing who they are as musicians, and what sound they want to come across.

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Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Karlo is an aspiring author in fantasy/historical fiction with a passion for music, history and board games.






6 thoughts on “A Gift to Artwork: Fallujah

  1. BarakalypseNow Reply

    Loved this article. Fallujah very quickly became one of my favorite bands ever because their music and artwork are so in tune. But why omit Dreamless? The article seemed to be leading directly to it.

    • karlo Reply

      thanks for the comment and feedback! i usually only write up the album covers i really love and, whilst dreamless is pretty cool, i dont like it as much as the other two. in saying that i definitely see where you’re coming from, and in hindsight i probably should have done it anyway. there have been previous comments in this feature of “but what about album x” so i may consider doing a “artwork we missed” post at some point in the future

  2. Eliza Reply

    I haven’t listened to this band yet, but this art is so gorgeous that I think I’ll binge their entire discography just because of that.

    • Average2d Reply

      dreamless came out this year, also has great artwork, also sounds pretty good

    • karlo Reply

      yeah the flesh prevails is one of my favourite covers ever. i havent listened to their EPs, but each of their full lengths have been great – so of you like tech-death or atmospheric death then you should enjoy their music

      • BarakalypseNow Reply

        You haven’t listened to Nomadic? Bruh. Those are three of the best Fallujah songs ever.

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