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Achieving a degree of recognition for their first two albums, Colorado based metal act Cephalic Carnage became a name in the grindcore scene pretty quickly. For those who don't know, this now-technical metal band's earliest stuff was very chaotic, burstfire, and piecemeal, keeping much in line with the fringe grindcore sound. From their album 'Lucid Interval' onwards however, Cephalic Carnage has shown an increasingly more technical, complex and inventive approach to their music. The band's latest offering only serves to develop Cephalic's existing new style, and assert their new stance as a technical death metal band over anything else. However, despite 'Misled By Certainty' being one of the band's most complex arrangements to date, the album suffers from very poor flow and an inconsistent song quality that mars what otherwise would have had the makings of an excellent album.
If anything can be said about Cephalic Carnage, it is that they are an immensely ambitious band, especially considering their origins. Leading the album with my favourite track 'The Incorrigible Flame,' they take no time to throw things into full motion, pairing highly intricate riffs with the less meticulous (and oftentimes inconsistent) vocal work of Lenzig Leal. While the album is almost entirely centered around metal and chaotic heaviness, there are a few exceptions to this rule, which end up making up some of the most interesting moments of the album. 'Ohrwurm' for example, invests it's first minute into a hypnotic bass riff, with some dissonant guitar work slowly building on top. The album's biggest surprise might come in the shape of the de facto closing track, 'Repangaea,' which goes as far as to have a saxophone solo to open the twelve minute piece. Also included are some grungy riffs that resound of sludge metal. Besides these scarce exceptions though, anyone listening to 'Misled By Certainty' can expect some viciously technical, well-played but at times slightly undercooked metal.
While the complex, melodic and technical work of the band is highly impressive, 'Misled By Certainty' finds it's biggest flaws in the sporadic grindcore interludes that appear to have been thoughtlessly thrown in between every few more involved tracks. Rarely clocking over thirty seconds, the grindcore forays are difficult to consider anything more than random noise, and while they may be extremely brief in nature, they serve to ruin the flow of the album completely.
While there's no doubt that Cephalic Carnage are immensely promising and talented with their material, 'Misled By Certainty' does get brought down by it's many flaws. It is gifted with a handful of very strong tracks however, and despite not feeling completely convincing, the segments that shine here, shine brightly indeed.
It is not often I will read the reviews of other writers across the metal landscape before laying out my opinions on an album-to-review but in this case I will admit to having done so. Cephalic Carnage's insanely complex, insanely insane formula of 'hydro-grind' found on sixth album "Misled By Certainty" has left me wondering what to make of the band's off-kilter song structures, jazzy interludes and frequent changes of direction amidst a cocktail of grinding violence and full-on depravity, for being a self-declared worshipper of the old school metal sound I simply find it too much to stomach. And desire. Yet now it seems everyone has fallen over themselves to laud the greatness of "Misled..." am I but the one left out in the cold? Probably.
I may be no grindfreak but I can state with much confidence my love of great death metal and through such a passion much of Cephalic's schizophrenic and hyperactive appeal eventually becomes apparent. "Warbots A.M." hacks and slashes akin to Cryptopsy on crystal meth; "Cordyceps Humanis" shows the band's more patient side as the song bubbles away at roughly one-thousandth the speed of "When I Arrive", "Power and Force", "P.G.A.D." and "Pure Horses" (closing horsey sample not withstanding) while in the 12-minute epic "Repangaea" a more experimental side emerges replete with clean vocals and leading saxophones. Such is the band's scattergun approach to songwriting the pneumatic blasting of grind so frequently collides with heavy doom riffing that come the conclusion of the album's 53 demanding minutes the musical G-forces with which I'd been subjected began to feel normal, akin to a particularly mistreated prisoner becoming grudgingly accustomed to his daily beatings.
When Cephalic push the pedal to the metal there can't be many who can keep up in their leagues of dysfunctional complexity and depravity (the video for "Ohrwurm" being a fine example) and let's be honest, factors like these are essentially Cephalic's raison d'etre. As recent live experiences attest they can grind like few others in the sweaty live environment; and so should you be prepared to lose a few brain cells in an hour of patently unhealthy carnage (and forgo the desire to hear some more classic-orientated death metal as I have), I find it no surprise so many take the Cephalic option in doing so. But for me? The chaos and instability is gloriously debauched, but gimme some Bolt Thrower any day.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net
While becoming acquainted with grindcore via a local band, Aborted Jesus Milkshake, I was apprehensive about approaching this abrasive and strange sub-genre. After hearing good things about Cephalic Carnage, I decided to give them a listen. And strangely, I began with their latest offering that has just recently come out, "Misled by Certainty".
This was a surprise to me as I expected this to be pure abrasiveness and noise, but Cephalic Carnage mix it up with some technical elements to render what they call "hydrogrind". However I found the drug references minimal on here, although theres no doubt that these guys came up with some lyrics via the bong n blunt.
With its southern-ish sounding guitars this album is truly unique in the grindcore genre and I doubt theres any band doing what Cephalic Carnage are. Its technical, with sporadic time changes and random solos. Its pure strangeness, but yet I like it a lot.
If there was a band to convert me to their unique brand of grindcore it would be Cephalic Carnage, they favour technicality over just pure noise and yet still come out as aggressive and dark. If Napalm Death and Sleep collided this would no doubt be a similar result in Cephalic Carnage and their overall sound.
I was impressed by this release and it has influenced me to look at their other releases and see if they're half as good as "Misled by Certainty". This is a great later addition to 2010, and it reeks with creativity, aggression and technicality. I thoroughly enjoyed this album. I think it is a contender for grindcore classic, if not album of the year.