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What's this, death metal, you say? From Scotland? Wait, a Scottish BRUTAL death metal band?
First impressions when looking at the title, I was expecting something fairly along the lines of the cliche standard of violence that satisfies most death metal bands, but this is in another league entirely. This album has probably some of the sickest, most insane, and disgustingly amazing lyrics I've heard next to Cannibal Corpse or Amputated.
Song structure seems to be a difficult thing to review, as this album seems more focused on pure fucking chaotic mayhem that Paul McGuire does on his guitar with style. I mean seriously, everything about this album seems fast and designed to brutalize your senses. That said, it's not ALL chaos and insane speeds, the outgoing riff to "Epileptic Strobe Entrapment", the intro riffs to "The Bald Cadaver" and "Maniacal Miscreation" add some groove that gives it that distinguishing spiciness before all the members return to their goal of pure chaotic and mindless destruction.
Not only that, but oh my, there's a few short yet satisfying bass riffs added during the brief pauses of this disfigured monster, which is impressive and makes it somewhat more interesting than some other bands I've heard, who seem to be happy with the bass simply always chugging along and never really standing out. It's by using little things like this, they're able to crush any pre-misconceptions that their name may suggest.
Looking at the drums, you kind of have to get behind the kit and try it yourself before you realise the amount of skill and effort McDibet has put into this. How he's able to fluctuate between slow sequences and back to the chaotic speeds is pretty damn impressive. And it's not just relying on beating the hell out of the snare and ride cymbal all of the time, they're definitely used a lot, but not to the point where it gets annoying. I mean there is extensive use of it during "The Bald Cadaver" but McDibet varies it enough by adding a few rolls across the kit and a few moments of chaotic cymbal crashes before assaulting the snare and ride cymbal again.
The vocals are definitely worth the mention here, and, I'll be darned, there's a teenage girl doing these vocals. This doesn't affect Som's frighteningly deep guttural growls and pig squeals. If you didn't know any better, you'd probably assume it was just another guy laying down the vocals. But I'll go as far as to say this is just as good as any other male vocalist, if not better in some cases. She's also able to make some surprisingly quick changes in tone, speed and intensity while gargling out these well practiced vocals that in some cases would make others breathless due to the lack of breathing space during the faster verses in the lyrics. This doesn't, however, seem to affect how much she is able to emphasise her vocals, meaning she doesn't end up overdoing it and reducing the overall quality of the lyrics like some people do live.
Production on this album is seemingly without any significant flaws, but if I have one criticism of this album, it's that the drums, while fast paced and blistering, seem to be somewhat under-emphasised, particularly the snare and crash cymbals. This, in my opinion, weakens the tone of album slightly overall, despite the chaos and consistency created by the bass, guitar and vocals.
Unfortunately, consistency has made the album feeling somewhat long and repetitive, just listen to "Open Casket Priapism", longest song on the album and most of the songs after "The Bald Cadaver" and before "Maniacal Miscreation" in my opinion make less of an impact than "Maniacal Miscreation" or "The Bald Cadaver". This is by no means a boring album, it just lacks enough songs and variation that would have made this album a much stronger release. But, overall, all things considered, the issues I have with this album only lose it a few points, and this is a very good album compared to the standards other bands set (e.g. Inherit Disease) with some pretty awful production, (which would kill pretty much any album's overall sound), but they haven't done this in the slightest, the production is good, the songwriting is just enough to make all the songs distinct enough, despite the odd sense of repetition, and the standard to which all the musicians play is pretty special for a debut album. This is well worth the a listen if you're into death metal and want something slightly different, miss this, and you're missing a lot.
Brought to my own attention, this album has received mass amounts of praise nearly everywhere, and here I am to lay down the first Metal Archives negative review for it. Not the first time I've done this to an album on the website, and heck I don't even do this very often for that matter, but sometimes my opinion just doesn't meet up with others, so if you're not willing to hear the downsides of a so-called "amazing" death metal work, go right ahead and stop reading now. Otherwise, continue at your own will and risk of being pissed off. Reader discretion is advised for the following.
Out of Scotland, this four-piece is fronted by a woman at the age of 18 years old from the Netherlands, Simone Pluijmers. Probably the most redeeming or slightly interesting thing about this band if it's not for her somewhat satisfactory death growl that can stand up or even maybe be compared to even the likes of Mikael Åkerfeldt or Peter Tägtgren. But that's where the interest almost stops. All the blast beats, tremolo, or slam riffs and stupid lyrics in the world couldn't save this band from the impending mediocrity they had when putting together an attempt at a brutal debut. Many of the songs build up like they're just a savage yawn fest while throwing in some dumb/lame characteristics every now and then to hopefully keep the listener awake while he lends his ears for 30 minutes to this monstrosity. Bass break licks, pig squeal vocals, or even jokey deathcore band-esque "haha, that was funny" bits come in as if they're just a means for the band to hopefully distance themselves from other death metal acts that have ripped off Devourment millions of times before.
A lot of the songs just plainly sound too much of the same formula and Som's growls by the fourth track or so get very annoying. She usually finishes off a line with a squeal, which really wears on the eardrums and makes me want to let out a groan louder than any vocal she could ever prosper. Even in "Entombed in Butchered Bodies" her repetition of the same line over and over is almost as aggravating as her repetitive pig squeals. And blast beats on this album just get old by the time "Mangled Post Burial" begins. Heck, not to mention every time I hear the end of this song I swear on my life I think they're about to play a brutal deathcore breakdown...which they probably could have gotten away with, too. Kind of a funny thing to point out considering the intro to "Maniacal Miscreation" actually closely resembles "Furtive Monologue" by Despised Icon. Now I ask, is Cerebral Bore actually partly influenced by deathcore?
Basically, as far as I've heard this by this track, the album just feels like it should be putting me sleep, but alas there is a reason why I didn't rank this release in the cruel levels of "20%" or "10%" in this review, and for that is because it's saved by some redeeming aspects such as decent groove parts and being that I'm a bassist, the bass breaks (while lame) are a little captivating when done right on this album on a few parts. Paul McGuire's riffs, when he's not inducting some interesting things like slams or groove parts, are usually just going up and down the fretboard in his best attempt to make the music sound "chaotic", which is every single goddamn song. It gets boring quickly, but being boring must be the key element to your music when your band is named Cerebral Bore. I will hand it to them, though, for at least keeping a LITTLE fresh elements here and there by at least not playing these same style of riffs throughout every song all the time.
Basically, this album is just a mediocre death metal full-length debut that barely has anything original to it, nor features anything you haven't already heard before. The members ARE without a doubt talented, but just play nothing so much interesting for me to want to retain as praise-worthy, nor is there one standout song on here I could recommend for being different enough from the others to coin as "real quality". Consider settling for Abnormality if you want good "brutal death metal" with a decent frontwoman.
I was initially drawn to this for probably the same reason most of you were... a band named after that fucking badass gun from Turok 2 has to be awesome, right? I mean, that should be a law. Perhaps it's the friendless child version of myself from grade school that my psyche never fully grew out of, but any videogame reference in a metal band instantly intrigues me. It's the whole reason I initially checked out Jenovavirus and Crossbreed Gyarados. If I ever came across a band named Agamo or Valus then you bet your cute little ass that I'll be on that like bees on honey. And so, from the depths of my own psychoses stemmed my interest of Cerebral Bore, the Scottish brutal death metal band that seems to be garnering all of the attention imaginable. This is significant because how many straight up brutal death metal bands really get that much coverage outside of their niche market? Skinless? Maybe Dying Fetus too if you ignore the hardcore and tech death influences, but that's about it. What is it that makes Cerebral Bore so goddamn special?
My thought? It's catchy. Maniacal Miscreation is a rare example of a very accessible brutal death metal album. It's not overly slammy to scare away the tech death fans like myself, it's not too slow or stupid to scare away the OSDM fans like myself, and it's not too flashy to scare away the BDM and slam fans like... well like slam fans (fuck slam). The production is rather clean as well, which helps people relatively new to the style ease into it smoothly. But if you take all of these things into account, you realize the album really isn't all that organic. It feels very "manufactured", like all of these choices were made for the reasons I outlined above (attracting as many fans from as many places as possible) and less because this is just what the band loves to do. What I'm trying to say is that you'll never find them signed to Sevared Records, Earache (the label I blame for ruining Diamond Plate's debut full length) is currently what they call home, and it makes complete sense. Cerebral Bore is a very marketable band, based both on the clean accessibility of their music and for other reasons I'll get to later. Therein lies both one of the reasons to their success and one of the reasons I'm pretty lukewarm about them on the whole. It's just kinda phony feeling on the whole, like the passion is there to an extent but the band could be so much more if they just went off the deep end and dove head first into retarded brutality. They try to please everybody and end up bland across the board, jack of all trades, ace of none.
One of the key components to what makes Maniacal Miscreation is the appeal towards the younger, asshole internet generation in the silly lyrics. I'm not the biggest fan of them myself, but it was fun the first time my buddies and I were cranking this and had to ask ourselves if we heard it correctly when it was shouted "She'll seeeeeeeee, his evil pee-peeeeeee". I also find it irresistible to sing along with "Ee pee oppa pee pee / Ee pee oppa BURST HER CUNT IN" at the end of "Entombed in Butchered Bodies". But what the stupid lyrics accomplish is that it makes the album memorable. How many times have you heard brutal lyrics about superfluous gore and dismemberment? Can you recite the lyrics to any given Ingested song? Probably not. Hell one of the reasons I became a fan of Skinless in the first place is because the samples from Pink Flamingos stood out to me on Foreshadowing our Demise. Regardless of whether or not the lyrics work or if they fit with the dirty, brutal music, you're not going to remember a line like "Maggots fester through flesh / Witness of an evil night with a perverse morality to rape and kill" over a line like "I eat chicken when I pump her fud / I love chicken, yum yum nice". In fact, if you can tell me what song that first line is from without cheating, I won't even give you a prize because I know you'd have to cheat to figure that out. Therein lies my point, Cerebral Bore push the sick humor to the forefront, and that coupled with their accessibility really makes them visible to a casual fan of the genre.
Apart from the very middling songwriting and "hilarious" lyrics, why has Cerebral Bore become such a popular name from out of left field? The answer is obvious for basically everybody, but it's no coincidence that their popularity spiked roughly around the time they introduced Simone Pluijmers as their new vocalist in 2010. Yes, yes, a young attractive woman is behind these deep, bellowing roars and inhuman gurgles. She was 19 years old when the album was recorded and she doesn't resemble a cave troll, can we just move past this already? People seem to focus so much on the fact that she doesn't have a Y chromosome that they totally overlook the fact that she is a dead ringer for Mads Haarlov when she isn't squealing. If you don't know who Mads Haarlov is, then for fuck's sake close this review and go pick up either Five Across the Eyes or Grime. I like Cerebral Bore well enough but Iniquity is leagues ahead of them, get on that shit, kids. Digression aside, that's my main point of comparison during the deep growls, but roughly 45% or more of the vocals are inhaled pig squeals, and they frankly get annoying. I mean, they aren't bad, and they fit the music well enough, but they're better used as a flourish than as a base. King Diamond is one of the only people who can manage to get away with taking a vocal technique best used sparingly (falsetto in his case) and using it all the fucking time and making it work. The point is that Som is a good vocalist, and the fact that she's a woman is overhighlighted to the point where it's the defining feature of the band for a lot of people. I promise you, after this sentence I will lead by example and never highlight the fact that ZOMG SHE'S PRETTY again, throughout any future reference or review of the band.
Put all of these points together and you get a good idea of what Maniacal Miscreation really is. It's a bunch of popular elements from seemingly random corners of death metal thrown together in an overall successful package. There are problems with the album, but really I can't deny that it's a fun listen. There are very memorable songs like "The Bald Cadaver", "Entombed in Butchered Bodies", "Maniacal Miscreation", and "24 Year Party Dungeon", and the runtime is only 32 minutes (maybe it's just me, but I lose interest in this kind of music if it runs for over 35 minutes it seems), so it's a decent romp. Regardless of whether or not it's for good reasons, the album does stick with you. It's catchy and accessible and poppy in the most death metal sense of the word. The music Cerebral Bore writes is not in any way dark and carries almost zero superfluous qualities that makes good music great, but it's a good meat and potatoes base that sits pretty firmly in the middle of the road. You could do a fuckload worse, that's for sure.
Originally written for http://lairofthebastard.blogspot.com/
One thing I've always respected about the more extreme end of the death metal spectrum is the tongue-in-cheek humor of the lyrics, regardless of how brilliant or hackneyed the music is. And building off templates laid down by Dying Fetus, Suffocation, and Cryptopsy, Cerebral Bore have carved themselves a nice niche in the modern death metal paradigm.
One might complain about the music being redundant or derivative, but who really is truly original anymore? Even back in the day, bands were playing off what they heard and grew up with. All the early death metal bands built their sound off albums like "Reign in Blood" and "Pleasure to Kill" and the majority of second wave black metal acts built their sound off their Norwegian peers and sometimes even played straight Celtic Frost worship. My point is, bands have been morphing the sound of other bands into their own since the dawn of time.
Now where these guys stand out is in the vocal department. In many ways, the vocals could be seen as typical squeals and gutturals, but seeing as they are versatile and dynamic and have some of that Lord Worm spirit, it's a breath of fresh air in an era of people content to just gurgle out the ever popular hackneyed attempt at copying Bill Steer and Chris Barnes. The riffs are pretty much your standard brutal death metal riffs with a nice dash of Pantera. Imagine a polished reworking of albums like "The Bleeding" sprinkled with some riffs lifted from "Reinventing the Steel" and "Far Beyond Driven". The drumming is formidable Flo Mounier worship, providing a nice backing to the array of heavy riffage. The bass work here is fairly reminiscent of the bass work on "Blasphemy Made Flesh" and "None So Vile", sitting on top of the mix and adding some slap and pop patterns here and there for some groovy spice.
One thing I LOVE LOVE LOVE about this album is the lyrics. I mean, just read this: "A penis/ You've only seen in nightmares/ So solid,/ Old folk and children is scares/ Running around, from the cock of your dreams/ fleshy, veiny, scary" I mean, come on, how is that NOT funny?
All in all, if you want some fun death metal in the vein of Dying Fetus and early Cryptopsy, this is a nice purchase to pick up within a ten dollar price range.
Since Gossow debut in Arch Enemy, thus bringing the whole growling frontwomen idea to the mainstream world, there have been a few frighteningly deep awesome female growlers. Cerebral Bore's Simone is no exception. She has a hell of a growl, fry and squeal, and it's disturbingly deep. I don't know if she uses a processor or not, but she has one fucked up growl, ranking her 3rd on my top 10 death metal vocalists of all time, So versatile as a growler can get, she contributes to that insane zombified brutality each brutal death metal band should have, unlike Angela, who's way overrated as a growler, Now don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing female vocalists, just that some are way overrated as some male vocalist's are. So vocals, on this album get 20% for being pure fucking awesome, so versatile, so brutal, deepness and all that coming from a girl vocal chords, congratulations Simone you fucking rule. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not bashing female vocalists, just that some are way overrated as some male vocalist's are. I'm also glad that, although this is a brutal death metal band, it has some mature lyrics too. By mature I mean, lyrics that aren't stuffed with gore and blood, but are rather better thought through not just a maniacal mixture of "br00tal" words, and still they have that sickening gore goodness we all like in our death metal. So besides that, there's nothing really more to say on the lyrics part. Who likes it, likes it, who does not, may he not listen to this music and sods off. So lyrics get 15% for being a bit more mature than some brutal death metal bands.
But like in every brutal death metal, there's a vast variety of insanely fast riffage, and this band's no exception. It has everything a brutal death metal band's riffage needs - headbanging till your head falls of your neck. Now I won't deny that riffage here is nothing new and noting innovative, but sure as fuck is original in it's own way, with all that atmosphere death metal creates, that primordial savagery and all. The composure and arrangement within the riffage is pretty ok, sometimes trespassing into the tech death zone, but nothing so extremely over-technical about it. So riffage gets 15% for being consistent with the death genre and being original as a death metal riffage can be. But anyone who listened to this album witnessed another great thing about this album. It's the bass line. The bassist, Kyle, is an absolute bass monster, thus making his way to the third spot on my top 10 death metal bassists list right after Scott Clendenin on first, and Tony Choy on the second spot. The bass line is killer, it has style and sound, filling the hole of the second guitar, and although it's so technical it's not so annoying like Brain Drill, it doesn't get on your nerves like a bumble bee that's buzzing around your ears. He clearly works very well with Paul and both of them make that insane atmosphere come true. So bass line gets 20% for pure perfectionism and ingenuity.
But of course, brutal death metal, wouldn't be brutal death metal, if it weren't for a hardcore steam mean rhythm machine that is drumming. The drumming on this album is crazy, although not so innovative in style and so on, it holds the rhythm perfectly, supporting the whole band like a well built foundation. Blasts blazing and double bass popping like mad, it's a hell hole of beats and bumps, with good upbeat rhythm changes and breakdowns. So drumming gets 15% for being just-about-right for this band, like a well worked clockwork.
All in all this is really an album worth it's praise, and your time, if you, of course, like bands that make you want to shred humans. The songs that really really stand out on this album are: "The Bald Cadaver"; which you should check first, because it's their best known song, and the most mainstream; "Open Casket Priapism", which is just a sick sick sick and awesome song (you'll get it when you hear it); "Flesh Reflects the Madness" and of course "Maniacal Miscreation". So listen to this album you won't regret it surely, and you'll hear some good quality death metal.
I generally disapprove of most attempts to make brutal death metal accessible to a wider audience (aww, look, Aborted think they play decent music! Smile and nudge 'em on, guys, they're trying as hard as they can), and I think the BDM scene in general would be a lot better if we were able to cash in every five Prostitute Disfigurements for a Cephalotripsy or an Artery Eruption. This, however, is an exception - Cerebral Bore managed to make an accessible brutal death metal album that didn't suck.
The reason Maniacal Miscreation doesn't come off as neutered really isn't hard to see - the fact of the matter is that this album didn't have any balls to begin with. Bands like Aborted and Prostitute Disfigurement seem to have picked up brutal death metal and then peeled away at it bit-by-bit until it was able to be passed off as something for Immolation fans. Cerebral Bore's formula didn't even start with brutal death metal, it seems, at least not BDM in the traditional sense. The music is a lot more poppy than practically anything else in the death metal scene - guitars are tuned to C; the sterile, clean guitars play extremely melodic riffs; true slams are avoided at all costs; and the production job is one of the most bass-filled I've ever heard. Maniacal Miscreation may as well be a pop artist's alter ego, and it would probably sell moderately well were it released on a label that would give it sufficient mainstream attention.
Cerebral Bore have grasped the concept that a band cannot appeal to the death metal crowd at large while being catchy in the same way that Cephalotripsy are catchy. Their music lacks the grotesquerie, crudeness, and amateurism displayed by the latter band, and instead opts to build its atmosphere around panic and insanity. The result is a very skittish (and dare I say slightly...feminine?) album that tries to avoid predictability at all costs. Cerebral Bore typically play up-tempo acrobatic death metal, never staying on one fret for too long, and alternating quickly between rhythmic chugging on the lower strings and melodic yet frantic tremolos on the higher ones. The songs rarely ever slow down, and even when they do they still avoid the massive face-crushing slams that a typical BDM band would use in the same situation. Instead the listener is greeted with rather melodic and catchy chugs - not necessarily as light as the rest of Cerebral Bore's music but still below the average of most brutal death metal bands. Overall, it's diluted and distorted death metal that is intended to appeal to a larger audience than the average band in the genre.
Despite the generally easy-to-follow and catchy riffs the album uses, the drummer might as well be from any modern brutal death metal band - his style incorporates many complex techniques, including near-constant fills down the set, alternating snare/cymbal blasts and waves of double-bass all at lightning-fast speed. Despite the sound of the drumkit being a bit too polished for me personally, his work on the album definitely spices things up and is probably one of the only things keeping me from dismissing this as poppy trash.
And then we have the vocalist. If you don't know because you haven't been around a horny/lonely teenaged death metal fan in the past two years, the person behind the vocals on Maniacal Miscreation is indeed female. While the band doesn't whore her out in an attempt to fetishize her like, say, The Agonist (and I must commend the band for doing so), I'd still be willing to bet that a big chunk of this band's fanbase wouldn't give two shits about them if they had retained the male vocalist they had up until this full-length. Regardless, the vocals on this album are still pretty cool - a heavily accented guttural roar, not too low but still retaining similarities to typical brutal death metal vocals. There are also high, shrieked pig squeals out the wazoo - literally, they're fucking everywhere. I can't think of a band that was this obsessed with them since Pencil Lead Syringe. Through a combination of these two basic styles, the vocalist growls and gurgles her way through the entire album, displaying one of the catchiest vocal executions death metal has ever seen. She's certainly one of the highest points of the album.
I hardly ever think this about any BDM bands, but Cerebral Bore are at their best when they're as fast-paced as possible. Their slower riffs tend to be the faster ones reduced to chugs, anyways, and a band like Cerebral Bore don't need to slow down at all: with their music free of traditional slams, they have no reason at all to drop their pace - the bassy, crystal-clear production dilutes any feelings of crudeness that a slam exudes. Keeping this in mind, it's no wonder that the best track on Maniacal Miscreation is "Flesh Reflects the Madness", the only track which consistently maintains its pace. "The Bald Cadaver" pulls off its slow sections with finesse because it keeps them brief and picks the pace back up soon afterwards, but in general the tracks tend to drag on once they reach one of these slow points. In addition, there are a couple tracks ("Open Casket Priapism" and "Mangled Post Burial") that have weak riffs and song structure compared to the other six, which brings down the album quite a bit.
Overall, I'd say Cerebral Bore have just about reached their maximum potential with Maniacal Miscreation, considering the fact that it's brutal death metal designed to be poppy and catchy. It's not great (though, really, what did you expect from a brutal death metal album trying to be as poppy as possible?), but it sufficiently does what it's supposed to do. Now cross your fingers and hope their next album will sound like Cephalotripsy.
Cerebral Bore are a young band (just look at their faces) that sees their debut album released last year on independent label Grind Scene Records, now released through Earache Records. Being a band from the UK, more specifically from Scotland, one can expect wonders as the Brittish metal scene has proved to be one of the strongest with the passing years. So what does Maniacal Miscreation bring us?
This band plays brutal death metal, which by itself isn’t such a big deal. But the fact that they have a female vocalist has garnered them much attention, and might I say that it’s somewhat deserved. When talking about extreme female vocalists names like Angela Gossow or Sabina Classen come to mind, but even those show some restraint and limitation on the full on guttural style. Don’t even get me started on Rachel Van Mastrigt-Heyzer (ex-Sinister) because using a vocoder isn’t growling! Now comes miss Simone "Som" Pluijmers, a young chick that makes you think twice about making jokes out of female vocalists. This girl does really low gutturals and pig squeals, and on top of that she even makes some low-pitched growls that she can keep up for several seconds. You only notice she’s a woman at certain points where her accent denounces her, apart from that you would never say that this growler isn’t a 1,90m and 100Kgs guy.
This band reminds me a lot of Severe Torture (BDM fans begin to salivate), during their first couple of albums. Apart from the clanking bass this takes a lot of queues from Misanthropic Carnage’s type of death metal. Brutal and inexorable, it keeps pounding your head with relentless drumming and a barrage of double bass that could make Mount Rushmore’s faces erode. The vocals, again, are some of the more harsh-toned and brutal of the kind so don’t dismiss this band on the fact that they have a female singer. The guitars are typical of this type of music, churning riff after riff of demented proportions but still retaining a groovey feel throughout the album. The bass is a bit buried and could have a bit more space to breathe, and when all instruments are at full force it becomes almost inaudible. It does show itself during some crazy breakdowns where it noodles a bit, just so the brutality comes back again. “The Bald Cadaver” and “Open Casket Priapism” show some examples of this, and it only makes me wonder how this album would sound with a more defined bass sound.
What makes Cerebral Bore stand out a bit from the multitude of bands doing this type of music is the amount of riffs and tempo changes they put in their songs. They’re given an almost technical structure, constantly changing tempo and bringing riff after riff that meld together, giving a really strong flowing sense to the songs. There are some really good riffs and songs like “Epileptic Strobe Entrapment”, “Open Casket Priapism” and “Mangled Post-Burial” show good examples of the best side of the band’s riffage. Sadly the drums are pretty standard as opposed to the guitars. Apart from the typical blast beats, double bass and some simple snare-cymbal patterns, there’s not much to write home about. In fact the drumming is the weakest part of the album, providing for nothing more than a generic BDM feel. But the thing that really bothers me about the drum sound is its overuse of triggers. This is a sensitive topic to discuss since many dislike their use, while others defend it with teeth and claw. I dislike the use of triggers, but as long as they don’t sound wholly unnatural and plastic they don’t bother me. That’s not the case here though, just listen to the drum bass! First it is way too loud in the mix, and second it sometimes sounds almost like a chopper, which is really bad.
Add to that the aforementioned weak bass sound and the bottom end on this album becomes virtually a big and brutal blur, when it could’ve been so much better. But as I’ve said before this is a young band that just started getting into the metal world. The guitarist seems like a skilled player already, being the most experienced member in the band and having participated in other bands, the most notable being Crepitation featuring Amputated and Gorerotted members. The bassist (when heard) performs well enough and Som is a pretty good vocalist. I would surely like to see more works from her in the future.
They have half the band working well, so if they can correct their flaws and hone their skills they might be in for something really good in a near future. Mainly the drumming which could use an upgrade in quality, but also a better production job. Those are the aspects keeping this record from being better. Being on Earache may prove to be good for them as they’ll eventually run around touring with more skilled performers, and as a young band that they are the progression margin is immense. So I’m hoping that they can come back in a couple of years with a new album that will then fully capture my attention. For now they’re just another new band in the scene, but my hopes are that it will change quickly.
Originally written for and posted at Riff Magazine
Cerebral Bore, where to begin? I think it's safe to say that this is their best album (and their only one since they've released some unknown EPs) and also a very mature-sounding one as well. It's typically like any other brutal death metal album out there, but with a twist: more open-string tremolo picking, vocals are a tad different and the sound is VERY mature for it's age.
What do I mean by (very) mature? Look at all the different brutal death metal albums that have been released for the past 3 years, have you experienced any change while listening to Maniacal Miscreation? In all due respect and honesty I have. Sure, the lyrics of this album are very tongue-in-cheek and lyrics that you'd expect from any brutal death metal album, but the guitars, bass and all the rest pack a huge fucking punch into the face of unoriginality.
First off, guitarist Paul McGuire is amazing, many say he's boring but I truly beg to differ with that opinion. If a guitarist has influences like Dimebag Darrel, then he's set for life because you know what his motives are and what his skill level could be. In all of the songs his guitar skills have really made the album mature as a whole and he's kept it tight together, which means no flaws or technological difficulties. Kyle Rutherford's bass riffs are perfect for the album because he plays well with McGuire and follows along with the same speed, he even gets a few (small) solos once in a while. McDibet is an excellent drummer, period. His blast beats and bass pedal work is astounding and it also fits in well with the other instruments. A bit messy in terms of being all over the place (ie. too many drum solos in the middle of the songs, etc.) but his skill and effort make up for it.
Now, time for the newest addition to the band, the vocalist Som Pluijmers. She's (yes, that's right, a "she") is very unique, well, because she's a girl. How often do you see female brutal death metal vocalists? Not very often. A metal YouTube sensation (don't believe me? Check out her video comments) is now on the front lines with Cerebral Bore, now that's amazing. The male portion of the metal community truly are having raging hard-ons towards her because (again) she's a girl, does brutal vocals and she likes metal in general, enough said. What more can I say, this album is totally worth buying and it's money well spent! If you beg to differ, then it's your loss and you will miss out on the action. A little modern? Perhaps. Not good enough? To some. To completely melt your face? Now that's a guarantee! I dub this MOSH MATERIAL!
This has to be one of the greatest debuts I have ever heard. These guys are just so fucking brutal while at the same time being extremely interesting to listen to. I must have listened to this album at least 50 times (not exagerating) and I still listen to it almost every day. Each song is unique and awesome, unlike most brutal death bands where almost every song sounds pretty similar.
These guys have the famous Simone "Som" Pluijmers on vocals and holy fuck, she has to be one of the best vocalists I've ever heard, man or woman. Her low gutterals are absolutely amazing and I'll never get tired of hearing them. She also does some of the only not annoying pig squeal type vocals. Normally I hate this vocal style but Som manages to pull it off. I don't know how she does but it still sounds awesome.
Their drummer, Allan "McDibet" MacDonald, is also really quite good. His blasts are clear, sharp and perfectly on time while going incredibly fast. I've tried doing a couple Cerebral Bore tunes on drums and it is not easy. The drum parts are very intricate and really cool to listen to. He can also play slower which seems to be very difficult for a lot of metal drummers, where they just play extremely fast (which is sweet to listen to, don't get me wrong) but it gets kind of monotonous after awhile. But every song has very different drum parts ranging from fairly slow (for a death metal band) to fucking insanely fast. Not quite George Kollias fast but he is definitely up there.
Paul McGuire is an amazing guitar player and has created some very weird but really cool riffs. He has a very interesting writing style and I love it. The guitar tone is very heavy but perfectly clear so you can hear everything he's doing. Their bassist, Kyle Rutherford, also has some deadly bass parts. Very cool. Him and Paul accent each other perfectly so it sounds incredible. I dont' know a whole lot about bass or guitar so I'm not sure what else to say specifically about it but just know that both are excellent.
The production is also very good. Everything is mixed well so you can hear each instrument clearly and choose which you want to focus on which is always nice. These guys have a pretty dark sense of humour but it's very funny, with lyrics from 24 Year Party Dungeon like "She'll see his evil pee pee" and "I eat chicken when I pump her fud, I like chicken yum, yum nice". Not everyone will find it funny but if you have a more morbid sense of humour you'll like it.
This band has some of the most talented musicians I've heard in a brutal death band (aside from Origin, but they're crazy technical so it's not really the same thing) and I would recommend picking this up as soon as you possibly can. This quickly became one of my favorite albums and the only complaint I have is that it's too short and I want to just hear more material. But, again, you can listen to it over and over and not get bored so it's not too bad.
Every song is great but if I had to pick favorites they would be Maniacal Miscreation, 24 Year Party Dungeon and Flesh Reflects the Madness.
Brutal death metal – over the years, this style of music has relatively grown real shitty with bands popping out in every corner of the globe imitating their influences, Suffocation or Devourment lets say, being vulnerably unoriginal, and each band ridiculously trying to sound more brutal than the other, that worship blast beats and toilet gurgles over anything and revere a shitty production as well. And good bands are always too hard to discover in a pile of this crap.
A good example of the latest brutal death metal gem is presented by this bunch of Scottish guys and girl called Cerebral Bore. This is a fast paced brutal death metal played in a blend of old school and technical death metal arenas as well. The foremost thing to say – there’s this bunch of riffing, which could sound hilariously ridiculous but still are too brilliant. They’re catchy and they’re thrown in a hyper speed. Think of None So Vile era Cryptopsy’s catchiness for that one, with extra slam death metal ingredients here and there as well, which could be sensed in breakdowns. There are a number of segments that run in relatively slower tempo, like in the opener of “The Bald Cadaver” which focuses more on groove, and again permits itself towards the ongoing speed in no time, still maintaining the catchiness. Just pop into the 01:45 mark of the very track and that could get me bang my head for every replay. For the brutality factor, they’re not too over the top, but not gentle in anyway either.
The band has turned their approach into more modern and brutal sounding death metal from their old school vibe demos, and well, that could be a welcoming transformation. Every second is adorned with this crisp, which is set by the cruelly neat and easy flow of instruments, which cope magnificently with one another. The drums are brutal and they do offer quite a bit of variations, and if you’re among those who is instantly turned off due to the employment of tedious amount of blast beats over and over the length, then you’re surely to be pleased here. This is no way a blast beat laden death metal, to speak. But again, as said above, what appeals me more to this are the intelligently crafted guitar riffs, where numerous chugs are also thrown at times. The guitars in general sound technical to some healthy degree, and which isn’t forced in anyway, and that’s always a good thing.
And fuck… the vocalist is a lady. I had no idea that such brutal guttural secretions I had been praising so long were coming out from a female’s diaphragm. Their Dutch vocalist, Som has well emitted decent pig squeals at times too, but forget them, I adore her growls and gurgles more, which could be some of the best throat assaults I’ve heard lately, be it from a male or a female. And not to praise the hyper-bass-slapper who has gratified me throughout the album.
All in all, although here isn’t any stand-out track or something, there is a satisfactory amount of variation here, which most of the later day brutal death metal albums lack, and which will not greet you with a bore anytime even along multiple listens. So to sum it up, if you even like death metal till a tiny bit of scales, then get this record already, bastard.
Earache Records reissues UK's Cerebral Bore's debut full length album, Maniacal Miscreation shortly after its original release on GrindScene Records, and it is easy to see the reason behind the reissue.
The band begins their aural onslaught with Epileptic Strobe Entrapment, and the song title tells all about the madness that is about to come. The constant shifts in time signature are common fare in Cerebral Bore's music, displaying the ability of each of the instrumentalists as they shift between tempos with ease. Simone's vocals (holy fuck, and I didn't even realise that she was a female until I read the band bio, fucking salute!) vary from a deep and hollow growl to a high-pitched pig squeal, not unlike most grindcore bands, and constantly impresses the listeners with the variety of techniques utilised.
The Bald Cadaver is perhaps the song that summarises what Cerebral Bore is all about: brutality, technicality intertwined with slick riffs and topped off with all kinds of distorted death/grind vocals imaginable. The seemingly random notes plucked by bassist Kyle on 1:35-1:36 is reminiscent of technical death metal band Defiled, and this will not be the only instance such tricks are pulled off, such as on 2:11 onwards, with an "extended" version. The quirky play on the cymbals by drummer Allan on 2:26 adds an interesting touch to the music, and keeps the listener on a tight suspense before the band carries on with their chaos.
On top of the flamboyant drumming style (I mean it in a good way, mind you) of Allan, the other thing that caught my attention was the playing style of bassist Kyle. Besides the few moments on The Bald Cadaver, later songs dedicate more air time to him to display his technical brilliance, such as on Entombed in Butchered Bodies, where the low end growl of the bass can constantly be heard backing up the guitar riffs, on top of the time given for him for short and groovy solo segments.
Of course, the band doesn't forget to inject that element of fun into their madness. There are moments of fun with the catchy chorus on Entombed in Butchered Bodies, but that is not all. While most of the songs deal with gore and violence, the closing track 24 Year Party Dungeon displays the band's idea of fun (with less gore and morbid themes), with tongue-in-cheek lyrics such as "She'll see, his evil pee-pee" on the chorus.
The hyper speed that Cerebral Bore utilises makes the band seem as if they were in a constant rush, and Maniacal Miscreation certainly provides a good fix for those adrenaline-starved junkies.
You’ve been there before. You listen to an album and suddenly it’s compulsory listening, but not just for you and everyone you know, oh no. But school kids should be made to sing every word of every track in every morning assembly until every single one of the docile darlings is transformed into a miniature beast far beyond recognition or psychological repair. Cerebral Bore’s debut full length Maniacal Miscreation – set for re-release in April 2011 through Earache – is one of those albums.
It’s not often that albums make me laugh. Usually it’s because they’re a steaming pile of worm-riddled excreta. But Cerebral Bore have a very black sense of humour. For instance, take ‘24 Year Party Dungeon’, the subject of which is Joseph Fritzl’s underground love nest and his incestuous antics. Check the chorus: ‘She'll see, his evil pee-pee / See, his evil pee-pee’. ‘The Bald Cadaver’ is a bleak, ejaculate anti-homage to that nauseating pauper’s princess, Jade Goody. Tactful? Nope. Hilarious? Yep.
Like a festering Santa, guitarist Paul McGuire just keeps on giving when it comes to the violence-inducing riffs, and the malicious guitar sound is heavy and crisp. Kyle Rutherford adds slap bass to the dynamic for some remarkable lines. And drummer Allan MacDonald’s work is top notch. That the vocalist, Som, is female is a point upon which most would labour to the point of tedium, so I’ll be quick: Angela Gossow has got nothing on her. Nor have many other vocalists, female or otherwise.
What distinguishes Maniacal Miscreation from those once-lauded albums that all-too-quickly find their way on to that pile of gladly forgotten albums that refuse to rot out of existence is that this album has few chinks in its armour. Brutal death metal could easily lend itself to repetition but Cerebral Bore refuse to write the same song twice and this aural annihilation slams and grooves without pretention. Within a genre that could easily crumble into a pile of clichés, Cerebral Bore have produced a stunning album. Fancy another hole in the head? Yep? Get this.
In recent years, there have been plenty of top-notch metal albums, but it has also been next to impossible to find one that not only maintains its intensity throughout, but actually gets better as it progresses. However, all that has changed with the release of Scottish upstarts Cerebral Bore's debut full length, "Maniacal Miscreation". Utilizing everything from hyper-speed, Cryptopsy-on-crack blast beats to slow, sludgy, Devourment-esque slams, these Glasgow youngsters have already proven themselves to be masters of their craft.
What really sets Cerebral Bore apart from their peers is their quality songwriting; from the opening "Epileptic Strobe Entrapment" to the crushing closer "24 Year Party Dungeon" (complete with the most hilariously tongue-in-cheek lyrics I've ever heard), nothing sounds quite the same. The album does adhere to a very specific formula and has an instantly recognizable sound, but luckily this doesn't necessarily lend itself to repetition, because the band is smart enough to not write the same song twice. Axeman Paul McGuire and drummer Allan MacDonald are perfectly in sync with each other, creating a lightning fast sonic assault that rivals, if not surpasses, the likes of Spawn of Possession and Brain Drill. Bass-slapper Kyle Rutherford also plays a significant role, adding a jazzy flare to the equation. Throw in Dutch YouTube sensation Som's unique brand of gutturals and surprisingly not annoying squeals, and you have the recipe for complete aural annihilation.
Undoubtedly, Cerebral Bore's speed and endurance is what will grab the attention of most listeners, but speed alone isn't going to get you far. The real shining moments on this album are when the music slows down and smoothly transitions into slower, more groove-oriented segments that will have you involuntarily bobbing your head or tapping your feet before you know it. This is demonstrated most prominently in the slams and steady, driving double bass sections of songs like "The Bald Cadaver", "Flesh Reflects the Madness" and "24 Year Party Dungeon". Basically, this band plays a little bit of everything (minus guitar solos, the one minor disappointment on my part), and mixes it up to give every song something interesting and exciting.
In short, if you like death metal, then you'll be hard-pressed to not find something to like about Maniacal Miscreation. The music is extremely well-composed; the technical parts aren't pretentious, the fast parts aren't exhausting, and the slow parts aren't dull and monotonous. If asked to sum up this album in one word, my answer would be "tasteful". Give it a listen, you won't regret it. And if you do, well, my bad.
Album highlights: "The Bald Cadaver", "Mangled Post Burial", "24 Year Party Dungeon"