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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