CEPHALIC CARNAGE

"Misled by Certainty" (Relapse; 2010)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Denver, CO extreme metal explorers Cephalic Carnage continue to shatter expectations while crushing skulls as heard on the quartet’s latest album, "Misled by Certainty."

Upon first listen, this 14-track offering appears to take a much more streamlined approach into a technical death metal area than previous endeavors, yet there’s no need to worry; this band made their reputation on making heavy music challenging for both themselves and their listeners, and songs like the Bruce Lamont saxophone and guest vocal spot on “Repangea” and the sinewy spoken word slow crawl intro of “Dimensional Modulation Transmography" demonstrates they still possess the wares to stir up an intriguing mix of chaotic grind (“PGAD”) and punishing death metal (“Abraxas of Filth”) with a bevy of other influences whizzing by at light speed.

While long time supporters may feel snubbed at the abundance of straight-up speed and fury present, Cephalic Carnage have raised the bar on so many other fronts in their metallic assault to mature into a masterful troupe brazenly balancing brutality and technicality.

For more information visit www.cephaliccarnage.net

"Xenosapien" (Relapse; 2007)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

The five madmen from Denver are at it again, folks. Yep, Cephalic Carnage roars back with "Xenosapien," yet another mind-bending feather in the cap release from this groundbreaking, unorthodox unit. 

Any band that can hop from a sludgy dirge to a face-peeling grindcore crescendo with the greatest of ease deserves nothing but the utmost praise (and, nowadays, that legion seems to be growing), yet these dudes go above and beyond the call of duty when serving the underground with their bastardized mix of stoner, death, doom, grind, and jazz metal. 

Crammed with dizzying tempo swings and jaw dropping guitar fills and riffs, tracks like "Divination & Volition" and "Let Them Hate So Long As They Fear" raise the bar of musical chaos with every shrieked vocal line, while "Endless Cycle of Violence" showcases the outfit's technical metal prowess a la Mastodon, and "G.lobal O.verhaul D.evice" demonstrates that the band's expansive knowledge on how to slow it down to mercilessly brutal levels, with a horn interlude to boot.

Way beyond the norm and way off the chart, "Xenosapien" is another triumphant accomplishment by the shape-shifting juggernaut known as Cephalic Carnage. 

For more information visit www.cephaliccarnage.net

"Anomalies" (Relapse; 2005)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

The musical acrobatics and vocal gymnastics of Colorado's Cephalic Carnage have been well documented throughout the band's 13-year history, but never have they been captured so succinctly than on "Anomalies," the warped outfit's latest 12-track endeavor. 

Still grinding away at lightning speed, and able to turn the intensity knob way beyond the levels of safety on tracks like "Litany of Failure" and "Wraith," this quintet have also found some solace in the art of the groove, as tracks like the death growling stoner stomp of "Piecemaker" sound like leftovers from Alabama Thunderpussy rather than a Cephalic Carnage track. 

Nonetheless, the boys still pummel you with their blend of unique off-timed banter, as tracks like "Dying Will Be the Death of Me" and "Scientific Remote Viewing" feature all of the nuances that you've come to expect from this band, which translates into the listener expecting the unexpected and bracing themselves for a tumultuous ride with a band with no boundaries and no compromise in sight. 

For more information visit www.cephaliccarnage.net

"Exploiting Dysfunction" (Relapse; 2000)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Cephalic Carnage play serious grindcore with severe death metal influences amidst twisted forms of musical insanity. Imagine the technicality of the Dillinger Escape Plan infiltrated by the diabolical riffing of a versatile death metal band - that sums up the destructive supremacy of Cephalic  Carnage. These Denver metal maniacs call their creation "hydro-grind" as it makes no bones about the source of its creative inspiration.

Hair-trigger time changes with nary a microsecond's notice and drawn out chords among the furious pacing of the blast beats sets this disc apart from the competition - actually, come to think of it, there really isn't any true competition for a band of Cephalic Carnage's intensity. The peaks and valleys of the band's sonic coverage is mind-blowing - your ears will be decimated by the unbelievably low bass rumbling and arresting squeals and metallic shards. "Exploiting Dysfunction" ferrets out your weaknesses and pummels them to oblivion.

All of the tracks on "Exploiting Dysfunction" display the creative force of Cephalic Carnage equally - the music provokes the image of a carotid artery ripped beyond repair. It would be pointless to pick out single tracks for the purpose of declaring its greatness - "Exploiting Dysfunction" is almost like art in the sense that the non-standard way in which these tracks are put together are like a new found manner of expression.

Apparently Cephalic Carnage is a band that must be witnessed live in order to fully appreciate the level of energy and artistry expended. I'm having a hard time believing that Cephalic Carnage is more intense in concert than they are on "Exploiting Dysfunction," but I'll find out soon enough if the band can exert the power and force in concert as expended by the band's collective muse on this CD. 

"Exploiting Dysfunction" was produced by Cephalic Carnage and Keith Falgout (Soilent Green, Acid Bath, Crowbar). Superior production is needed to pull this musical extravaganza off and the production is done with flying colors. 

Cephalic Carnage is Lenzig on vocals, John on drums, Zac and Steve on guitars, and Jawsh on bass and vocals. 

For more information visit www.cephaliccarnage.net

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2011 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 14 Sep 2017 02:01:05 -0400.