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Holy shit, my head aches with awesomeness. - 94%

DeadMachine, August 17th, 2005

Cephalic Carnage.

Just what exactly would the phrase ‘Cephalic Carnage’ mean? Cephalic is defined as: ‘relating to the head, or in the region of the head.’ So it either means carnage inflicted upon a head, or carnage that originates from a head and is inflicted upon other things.

The music certainly falls into the former category.

First off, to determine whether or not you will like this record, here’s what you do:

If you’re already a fan of Cephalic Carnage, make sure you have no prejudice against music that ISN’T utterly zany and completely random, as opposed to music that sounds like it was composed as a well-written and hilarious joke.

If you like death metal, go buy this now. No point in reading further.

If you don’t know whether or not you’d like it after that, here’s what you do. Since you already have one CD player, go buy another one. Then buy two pairs of really really tiny earphones.

Put any release by Suffocation or Cryptopsy on one CD player, and put Chris Poland’s side project, OHM, on the other. Listen to both at the same time. If you like doing this, then you will enjoy Anomalies.

Anomalies is yet another step in the varied musical career of Cephalic Carnage, but tones down a bit on the varied, nutty humor (demonstrated by the fact that if you listen to the very end of Exploiting Dysfunction, all 66 tracks, most of which are merely one second of silence, you get a voice sample that calls you ‘gay’ at the end) that they were previously known well for. Now, this is by no means a bad thing, since the songwriting here is so ridiculously strong that it doesn’t matter.

Apparently, they’ve been lent a good sense of dynamics by their previous musical efforts, and showcase that here. For example, Piecemaker, my new favorite song by this band. It starts out with a fuzzy guitar line that builds up slowly until two are being played simultaneously, and you’re struck with a sense of rock n’ roll urgency right before they launch into an incredibly groovy and satisfying sloooowwww death metal riff with their jack-and-master-of-all-trades vocalist, Lenzig, screeching and growling and yelling over the verses like a spazzed-out demon from Tartarus. The drummer plays these cool, almost funky drum patterns over that fantastic riff, using his double kicks and snare like an artist would use certain colors in his palette.

It isn’t always like that, however. Much of the album is frenzied energetic death/grind with cool jazzy interludes and spacey ambient sections, but that doesn’t matter, because these songs are so excellently written. Never really predictable, but somehow conventional in a good, nostalgic way.

I love this release with an absolute passion, and it’s made my top of 2005 list as well. Christ, will there be room enough for all the great stuff that’s been released this year?

The only noticeable problem with the album is also one of its high points for me, namely, the metalcore parody Dying Will Be the Death of Me. If you like metalcore, or enjoy pieces of music that exist solely to be satirical, you’ll go nuts over it, but if you fulfill neither criterion, then skip it.

Also, Lenzig has adapted yet ANOTHER vocal style, being the ‘hardcore-ish yell.’ It fits in really well with the music, in my opinion, but some may not like it.

I really do enjoy this album, and recommend it to all past and present fans of death metal and/or grindcore.

(originally written by myself for metalreviews.com)