Fallout is the debut from Slumber, an impressive doom/melodic death metal band from Sweden. This six-piece have put together an album of haunting and powerful tunes, dripping with heavy riffs, loads of keyboards and synths, growling male and clean & majestic female vocals, and tons of creepy atmosphere. Most of these tunes on Fallout come from the bands previous demo releases, but here they are re-recorded with the addition of one new song.
I'd compare these guys a little to Swallow the Sun, but I think that Slumber would appeal to a broader audience thanks to the more progressive sounds here, as well as the addition of the female vocals which give some of the songs more of a commercial appeal, if one can call death metal accessible. This is readily apparent on the lush yet heavy "Conflict", which soars with majestic beauty as much as it crushes the senses. The keyboards of Ehsan Kalantarpour are front and center on the melodic "Where Nothing Was Left", a tumultuous number that also features complex rhythms and speedy guitar riffs. However, throughout much of the CD it's the lead vocals of Siavosh Bigonah that prevents this from being a landmark release. Bigonah tends to deliver his death vocals at the same level on each song, never varying his pitch either higher or lower, always at the same mid-range growl. Some screams every now and then, or even some low-level gutteral passages, would have added some nice variety here. It's not that his voice is bad-for the most part it fits the music, but he could have mixed it up a bit. Even some clean vocals on his part might have done the trick.
The brooding title track is a great example of melodic and symphonic doom, and will thrill fans of early Amorphis, Katatonia, Opeth, or Tiamat. Rampaging guitar riffs meet walls of orchestral keyboards, with layers of vocals and choirs flying though the mix. There's even some nice quiet atmospheric moments on this one where you can hear some deft acoustic guitar passages and flute sounds. Of course there's also some hard-hitting melodic death metal on "Distress" and "Dreamscape", where the band reaches a happy medium between chilling death metal and and complex & symponic prog rock. In fact, the band saves their most progressive track for last, the haunting "A Wanders Star", an aggressive piece that goes through many mood swings, from sledgehammer riffs, to sweeping keyboard led passages, to quiet moments of somber "slumber".
Slumber is definitely on to something, and if they can convince Siavosh Bigonah to vary his vocal attack a little, this band will do great things. Fallout is a very good debut, one that will find put a smile on the face of many a death metal, doom, and prog fan alike.
3) Where Nothing Was Left
7) A Wanders Star