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A Big Improvement, for What That's Worth - 68%

MutantClannfear, August 3rd, 2011

Well, what do you know, Cephalic Carnage improved a bit. What a surprise. Of course, this isn't much of an accomplishment at all, considering that there are a lot of musical endeavors in the history of forever that were better than Conforming to Abnormality, among those being the majority of bedroom black metal bands. But though it's only got a pile of shit as a reference point for quality, it's better. Still not astonishing or great, but it's passable for the majority of its length.

Cephalic Carnage, at their core, are still a band alternating between slow Carcass worship and insipid blasting sections. The blasty grind passages are still boring as hell and seem to still basically operate around the same riff every time they occur, but there are less of them compared to last time around, and the Carcass/Pathologist/what have ye riffs are better this time around. They feel like a straight-up legitimate clone, and a good one at that. They're still full of those annoying sections where the band drops the guitars while the bass and vocalist continue on with the riff, but I'll mark that up to musical immaturity at this point in the band's existence. Composition-wise, the band has improved (they've actually started repeating riffs and developing a sense of musical flow from riff to riff), and the riffs in general have a bit more groove added to them. There's even a song on Exploiting Dysfunction ("Cryptosporidium") that manages to surpass the levels of "meh" and into the level of quality that prompts me to buy an album. The musical progression on this album stops with the composition and riffs, though: the drums aren't doing anything magical or particularly attention-grabbing, and the vocals, while using the godawful shrieks to a much-appreciated lesser extent, are still primarily some rather bland vocal fry-style growls and gurgles.

The band's still placing extremely annoying samples at the fronts and backs of songs, they're still moving out of their comfort zone more than they should, their guitar tone still isn't right for the music they're playing, their songs are still way too fucking long for their own good, they're still stuffing their album with loads of filler tracks, and they're still sporting an extremely annoying attitude along with the above gripes, but they have indeed improved. My ears are not in danger of being gouged out while listening to this album, which is more than can be said for its predecessor. It's still not worth buying at full price, but go ahead and pick it up if it's in a bargain bin - it might satiate your desire for Carcass clones for a short while.

Put down the muthafuckin bong... - 10%

demonomania, November 24th, 2008

Juvenile. And I ain’t talking about the Southern rapper whose shiny teeth get in the way of his pronunciation. C & C Grind Factory are like kids that just walked into the middle of a movie. They have no fucking context. Fuck. Not only did they miss Act I, but they were too stoned to pay much attention to Act III either.

Drugs have provided some great inspiration for lyrical content, writing in general, and unique uses for the breasts of hookers. But plenty of dumb and negative shit hath been borne from drugs as well. If you use too much heroin, you typically die. But you go out rockstar style. Take Alice In Chains’ “Dirt”. Heroin. Awesome. If you take too much LSD you go totally fucking crazy. Check out Skip Spence’s “Oar.” Hallucinogens. Insanity. If you smoke too much weed, however, you just start acting retarded. Callisthenics Caricature. Moronic. Hydrogrind.

So what you get here is a well-produced attempt at a grind/death/experimental jazzcorn/asshair album. There are full songs that are uninteresting followed by snippets of songs that appear to be riffs that couldn’t be formed into cohesive tracks. Props to them for not bothering to attempt it. The lyrics are about weed and mice in space and the grind bands that CC love. Then there’s of course the obnoxious series of samples. My favorite sample is at the end (not only because it is at the end), where you’re treated to a series of angry phone calls from a jilted drug dealer. He says something like, “put down the bong and pick up the motherfuckin’ phone!”. You sir have summed up the problem. May you release a logical and cohesive compact disc someday.

From what I understand Cephalopod Carriage have come a long way since then, but the taste “Exploiting” left in my mouth is so bad that no amount of roast beef sandwich gravy could wash it out. This album has forever biased me against grind, so deeply that the only two bands I can really stomach in the genre are Napalm Death and Rotten Sound. Both of whom eat these Curvaceous Cuntlips fucks for breakfast.

I’ll finish by misquoting Mr. Jovi:

Cephalic Carnage
You were so lame
You give grind

1 bong hit too many out of 10

Originally posted at

Their best, though that doesn't say much - 82%

Noktorn, September 13th, 2008

'Exploiting Dysfunction' is probably the apex of Cephalic Carnage's career, though that's not saying much. It's a natural improvement over the spazzy, pseudo-joke sound of their debut, 'Conforming To Abnormality', and the band actually cares enough to make songs on this album, which immediately makes it an improvement from the first. The songs aren't amazing, but they're interesting and exciting enough to make this a recommended listen for your typical death/grind fan.

The wackiness isn't QUITE as prominent on this album as it was the last; the band is capable of making more coherent compositions that aren't just excruciatingly stop and go technical exercises (not that those are bad things). There are more real riffs with fairly memorable melodies on this, along with a number of strangely timed, Meshuggahish chug sections. The changes in tempo and rhythm aren't as severe and abrupt as they were on the first album, though this is still fundamentally technical and punishing death/grind. The tiny joke songs still exist but even those seem to have more going on as far as actual songwriting goes, and the varied elements don't seem as randomly incorporated as on 'Conforming To Abnormality'. They're still throwing everything in but now leaving the kitchen sink thankfully intact.

Fundamentally the core of the music remains the same: frantic blasting, very fast riffing, various vocal styles. Midpaced sections do attain more prominence and the sections of groove are longer than five seconds, but it's still music in the mid-era Cryptopsy school. Whether that particular school of songwriting appeals to you will essentially determine your enjoyment of the album. It's in sort of a no-man's land really; it's not wacky enough for Mr. Bungle fans but it's not normal enough for the average death metal fan, so everyone just gets pissed off when listening to it leaving only people like me relatively happy.

Much like 'Conforming To Abnormality', this is only a great album in terms of the band's later output, which is absolutely awful on every level. I consider this the tombstone to a relatively good band in the spazz tech death style; everything after is mind-bogglingly repugnant and can't even remotely be recommended. This is probably the band's best work, though, and I encourage you to give it a listen if 'Anomolies' annoys you as much as me.

Let's Learn About Diversity! - 95%

noveltyxcrosses, February 2nd, 2007

This CD is a hybrid of music styles, as defined well by the intro track, "Hybrid". The band mixes in elements of grindcore, death metal, sludge, stoner and jazz along with many other styles of music to make an excellent CD like this, and thus coining their own genre of "Hydrogrind". The vocal range covers many styles, from a high shriek to a guttural growl.

I have never heard anything as diverse as this before popping in "Exploiting Dysfunction". Tracks like "Observer To The Obliteration of the Planet Earth", "Hybrid" and "Cryptospordium" are mostly all-out deathgrind, but then you have a surprising jazz or slow-ballad interlude mixed in. "The Ballad of Moon" is, well, mostly a ballad in the vein of Crowbar, but has a fast moment right in the middle of the song. The instrumental, "9 Feet of Smoke" is simply the equivalent to putting your brain in a blender. In the good way, of course.

Sometimes you can't help it but laugh at their weed obsession, such as "Invertus Indica". This band has priceless lyrical content.

Only flaws are the unnecessary 6 and 11 second filler songs, "On Six" and "Warm Hand On A Cold Night (A Tale Of Onesomes)". I just don't care for songs that last under 30 seconds, and this is from an avid grindcore fan.

All in all, if you want a CD that covers a whole array of genres and doesn't bore you, pick up "Exploting Dysfunction".

Not metal ... not even music. - 10%

LifeInAFireBox, January 19th, 2005

Ah ... I'd heard so much about Cephalic Carnage. They are generally assosiated with good grindcore bands (which is very, very misleading), and generally listened to by people I thought had good taste in music. Technicality is one thing, and it is not to be mistaken with completly incoherant bullshit. Cryptopsy, Necrophagist, Behold the Arctopus, Aethiest, Distopia, Prejudice - these are bands that know what they're doing when they play technical, crazy music ... Celphalic Carnage is a band that falls into the catagory of completely incoherent noise, that doesn't even really qualify as "music" ... let alone metal.

The sounds or "noises" heard here range from attempts - because they are attempts, nothing else, at sludge, stoner rock, grindcore, some what of ambient sounds and the most pathetic of all ... death metal. Sadly, this band manages to pull out of their pathetic slew of generic and nonsense riffs, some fairly decent death metal riffs. They are completely shot to ribbons, by way of their inability to even finish a song that makes any sense.

Sometimes the vocals could pass as good grind/death vocals, but most of the time, they're on par with a dying pig, or a cow in labor. The guitar volume and tone fade in and out ... that is not something you chock up to technicality ... it's just stupid, and makes the music extremely unenjoyable. Songs like Ballad of Moon go absolutely no where - it's um ... I think two chords ... and gibberish. There's elements of other music, completely outside the bounds of metal, thrown it at random.

In a space as much as 30 seconds, you could be tricked into thinking you are listening to real music ... then there will undoubtably be some completely random stupid bullshit thrown in. There's some redeeming quality in the drums ... though they're completely standard for grindcore.

Again, I can't even really explain what the "music" sounds like ... because it doesn't sound like anything, it's noise ... there's some stoner wah-wah here, and some sliding and bending of strings ... and besides that the guitarist or songwriter seems to know is "Play in the key of G (or whatever ridiculously down-tuned key they play in {and don't get me wrong, I listen to enough death/grind to know low, but it's not even necessary in this form of "music"}) then play the first and second of that scale ... then play it again. Then hit these random notes."

This is complete shit ... it's not even music, let alone metal. Please, stay clear of this.

Syphillis Cabbage strikes again! - 11%

Scorpio, July 8th, 2003

As we know Relapse releases almost exclusively overhyped bullshit. This isn't really any exception. I'm a fan of innovative/original metal and this was recommended to me. A veritable mishmash of musical elements come together here to create something surprisingly vacuous. The main innovation is that occasionally the music slows down into what some consider jazz(it's basically the guitarist plucking away and allowing the strings to reverb). These are people who obviously have never heard jazz. For the most part the guitars just rip on incessantly doing nothing but induce ennui. The drummer does likewise, seems like he only showed up to the lessons about blasting, it seems to be all he's capable of. The vocalist belches AND shrieks, none of it stands out as in anyway exceptional. This release is notable only for it's inane lyrics and what is the most irritating sample selection I've ever heard. I hear no punk influence whatsoever, this shit can't even live up to the billing of its genre. Where's the grind? Avoid this br00thurl waste of plastic at all costs.