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Slam is one of those genres I love to hate. It's mostly unoriginal, tedious, and plain irritating. Finally, I've found a band who has broken the genre boundaries and made an original(-ish) album. It's the perfect length, clocking in at around 20 minutes. Not too short, but not too long. Just right.
Every element that usually lets a slam band down is done perfectly here. The vocals aren't those typical annoying gurgles. They're certainly guttural without going into that "I'm trying too hard to sound brutal" territory so many slam vocalists venture into. Naturally, you won't be able to make out any of the lyrics, but who listens to extreme metal for lyrical content anyway?
The guitarists combine catchy and heavy death metal riffs with mid-paced solid slams. None of those slams that lead into another even slower slam that so many br00t4l bands play. The band is certainly taking influences from old school death metal such as Morbid Angel and as well as Devourment.
The bass can be heard, but it mostly follows the guitars apart from occasional bass solos. The drums are the only thing that bring this album down, really. The tone is too clicky and the snare sounds like that typical tennis ball in a paint tin. However, it's a minor problem and doesn't mar the quality whatsoever.
One thing I do have to berate the band for are the use of samples taken from various shows/movies such as South Park and The Big Lebowski, and naturally a sample from a porno, because no slam album is complete without a sample from a porno. They do nothing for the album and really could be left out.
Still, this is a solid release. Fuck your Devourment and your Abominable Putridity. The masters of slam are Cerebral Incubation. Get this shit now.
Very rarely do albums pop up that so effectively capture the image, the dogma, the essence of slam death metal. There are a mere handful of these albums in existence, and with their debut album, Cerebral Incubation have placed themselves among the pantheon of slam. Everything about this album screams raw, unrefined brutality in a fashion that is sadly underrepresented. Well, "screams" is an understatement; "broadcasted through megaphones placed at every 4-way intersection on Earth" sounds like a more accurate description.
Part of Cerebral Incubation's strength comes from the sound of their guitars. Inexplicably, very few bands use the loud, undistorted, crystal-clear guitar tone exhibited on this release, but bands with this guitar tone invariably end up becoming staples of my listening habits. These releases don't have much going for them in terms of emotion, but I'll be damned if Asphyxiating on Excrement and its contemporaries don't make me want to buy a suit of armor to wear, out of fear that bulldozers are going to break through my house's walls and crush my face in at any given moment. It's about that heavy. The slams themselves are generally 8th notes with an occasional pinch harmonic for emphasis. No fast triplet nonsense, no attempts to cross over and appeal to the deathcore crowd, just pure thuggish goodness. The guttural vocals are generally very deep, dry and have a lot of low end, as if the vocalist were a very fat man. They're not particularly great, but this band uses their vocals as more of a background accentuation than any force that drives the music, so I suppose they don't really have to be great. The drums are your typical trashy kit that slam bands tend to use: tinny snare, clicky kick drum and all that jazz. Style-wise, the drums are usually constantly blasting mid-tempo behind the slam riffs, and besides that and the "Babykiller"-esque cymbal-led beats, there's...actually, that's pretty much all the drums do on this album. Not that that's a problem.
My only complaint about this album is the length (only 20 minutes? That's...disappointing), which is brought down further by the excessive amount of samples. However, the length of the album is a minor qualm when you get down to it - hell, a short album is an album you can listen to twice in one sitting! This probably gets my vote for the slam album of 2008, because it's concise, heavy as all hell, and has probably killed someone, somewhere, somehow since it was released. If you're looking for a less serious, more carefree Cephalotripsy, this is your dream band.
Slam slam slam. Pinch harmonic. Gurgle gurgle gurgle. You now know what this album sounds like.
That's barely an exaggeration. Cerebral Incubation plays brutal death metal with an extremely heavy emphasis on slams. Almost every riff on this album is a slam in one form or another. We've got mid-paced slams, groovy slams, slow slams, chugging slams, and slamming slams. Song structure consists of transitioning from one slam into another slam, with a scant few blasting sections in between, all working up towards that one point in the song where the music slows down to a snail's pace and everybody in the audience starts hardcore dancing while the guitarist plays one-string chugs. This formula wears out its welcome fast, but it's entertaining for at least a little while.
There are crappy samples to start almost every track, which are funny the first few times. Who doesn't like South Park or The Big Lebowski quotes? Then, on about the tenth spin, it hits you: hearing some guy moan about jizzing on some lady's glasses isn't really that funny unless you are a twelve-year-old. After that revelation, you wish that the band would just drop the act and start playing music.
Cerebral Incubation has a little bit of trouble staying in time, but what does it matter anyway? Does anybody care that the drummer's blasts are a little shaky or that the bassist makes one solo appearance on the entire album? No. This band has one goal in mind, and that is to write brutal, superficially-gory songs with lots of slams. The production does a good job of emphasizing what it should; the guitars are nice and thick and the snare drum is very prominent. The vocals don't overtake the music, and at no point is the listener in danger of being able to make out a word and become distracted from the music
The best thing about this album? It's twenty minutes long, which means that the album ends at about the point when you wish the band would do something other than play slam riffs. This album is okay when you want a quick fix of brutal death metal, but if you're looking for a serious listening experience, you won't find one here. Cerebral Incubation's lack of originality is blatant, as they are rabidly idolizing bands like Cephalotripsy and Devourment, but slam death metal is such a limited genre that you can't really expect anything new. I have a soft spot in my heart for this type of music, which is probably why I don't hate this album as much as I should. I would only recommend this to diehard slam fans; for everybody else, it is at the height of pointlessness.
Holy Pharaonic Circumcision Batman! Is what I think about this album. Well actually the band themselves gave me the phrase Pharaonic Circumcision as it is the second track title. Have you ever wondered which parts of the West Coast Brutal Death Metal scene is complete horseshit? It's whatever part Cerebral Incubation is in. I must say that the album cover is surely interesting, not sure if that's what you would find on a beach on the West Coast, but if you can find it, this band probably came from there.
So what we have here is a band with bullfrog vocals, a bunch of chugging, and horrible, horrible intros. Some bands just should not use intros from movies or whatever else. This band is one of them, absolutely nothing is added to the music. Well frankly it is better than the music and that isn't saying much. I cannot say I enjoy anything that is on this recording. Riffs that are in every other Slam Brutal Death band that come before them, shitty intros only suitable for Skinless, and even for them they are bad. I can picture what Cerebral Incubation's fans would look like; probably gym shorts and flat billed hats crooked on their head, also wearing their best basketball replica jersey. Not only do they look retarded but their actions are even stupider, they do the hand-bouncing thing and probably skipping about the pit area as if they were gay kangaroos or something.
This is horrible Brutal Death Metal. Just as bad as Neoandertals, at least they had an interesting concept that failed miserably. Cerebral Incubation has done absolutely nothing new, they haven't revolutionized the genre, nor have they actually done anything good. This is one release to stay away from. Nothing here is even intimidating, it is all just childish and anyone who knows how to chug and play one string on a guitar could play this garbage.
Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com/