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Spitefully less speed with chunkier seepage - 83%

Gutterscream, September 16th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1990, Cassette, R/C Records

“…come with me to Midian, halfway to Hell, north of Heaven…”

The noticeable inclusion of slower segways that were often caught adrift on the UK band’s ’88 debut Life Sucks…And Then You Die can easily be attributed to the overhaul of its timekeeping foundation, which replaces bassist Steve Watson and drummer Adrian “Ade” Jones with Frank Healy (who also plays guitar on the bonus Sacrilege (UK) cover, available on the CD pressing) and Andy Baker. What couldn’t be predicted, however, is this fresh foundation inexplicably deconstructing most of the furious and fast morsels that once upon a time had all but dominated the debut’s highlight reel.

A full whirl around this ten-tracker proves this new renovation (and not just Healy and Baker, but the band’s construction site as a whole) has not only cemented its soft dirt spots beyond most expectations, but has suddenly and subtlety taken control of nearly the entire album. In addition to gainfully reconstructing the act’s moderately-paced paraphernalia, as if unsatisfied in that role alone, it also secured a near-monopoly on the building blocks used in assembling Tower of Spite, and with its completion has markedly reduced the dangerous vibration that once overran power struggles and the fear of death at the end of a sucky life.

Overlooking the outlying lands beyond the tower’s peak, gone is all but a sonic glimpse or two of hardcore and thrash heritage that had together woven the band’s crossover blanket. With X – X = 0, they may as well be starting over, which may seem to leave Cerebral Fix in an odd spot. Style-wise it’s a mid to moderately-paced chug-fest that shares an undeniably common interest in dirge-like trudging (“Feast of the Fools”, much of Clive Barker-dedicated “Quest for Midian”, small chunklings of the title track, “Circle of the Earth”, and around half of “Chasten of Fear”) in a spirit somewhere near debut-era Paradise Lost and less stuck in the muck Autopsy for quite the change in pace.

Replacing yesteryear’s hardcore thrash essence are strips of fairly greased, though light on seasoning speed metal (mostly generic “Injecting Out”, “Forgotten Genocide” [wherein lies the rarified sole olden crossover vestige], maybe “Unity For Who?”, top draw “Enter the Turmoil” and the other thrash-savory half of “Chasten of Fear”) which is apt enough to persuade these runners into the earthen drink to swim through the lp’s newly-strewn tar parts to the next song.

Clandestinely distributed are less than a handful of Tony Warburton’s solos which are unmasked in “Quest for Midian” and waning moments of finale “Culte Des Mortes (Part 1)” and whose conscious sincerity evades the sepsis and pooling sweat for that touch of humanity that in similarly metallic slabs is often left to extinction. Elsewhere, still snarled similarly to the debut are Simon Forrest’s pipes, one of the few past tidbits continually serving hot, steaming gruel that hadn't been buried under the tower’s dungeon floor.

A band reinventing itself usually belies some sort of mainstream attraction, but with Cerebral Fix it seems like a simple swerving of interest to a much less coveted alternate crossover. I can dig it overall, though unleashing a few choice high-octane goat-chasers that they could've hidden away in the shed until needed couldn't have hurt either, eh?

An Eviscerating Yet Simplistic Aural Experience - 90%

SocietalSpit, July 11th, 2008

So in 1990, we had a plethora of influential and unique sounding death and thrash coming from all over the world. But more specifically, the DM scene was truly expanding and developing. At the time, death metal was highly thrash-influenced with bands like Benediction, Death, Malevolent Creation, Napalm Death, Massacre, Master etc. And with Tower of Spite by Cerebral Fix, you truly get unique blend of death and thrash.

Instrumentally, the album reeks of the UK death and hardcore scenes with it's gritty atmosphere and raw-styled instrumentation. The musicianship is simplistic with absolutely no flashiness. Track after track, the band churns out riff after riff of brutality. Stylistically, their sound can be compared to early Benediction, Bolt Thrower, Napalm Death, Nuclear Assault, Obituary, Heresy, Cryptic Slaughter...you get the idea. Their sound is heavily simplistic, but diverse throughout their playing with heavily-contrasted riffs ranging from a mid-paced death metal riffs in the style of Bolt Thrower or Obituary.. to speed metal like early Kreator....and then some UK hardcore thrown in the mix.

Definitely worth a listen...especially to fans of early death metal and the late period thrash/crossover styled bands. You'll find a very unique sound and some catchy and tasteful riffs.

Grittiest UK thrash ever. - 75%

Corimngul, April 7th, 2005

Cerebral Fix really stands out among the other UK thrash bands as one of the better and one of the darker. Actually I’d say it’s the grittiest of them all. The way they’ve traded the traditional speed for heaviness makes ‘em sound rather evil and probably better too. As they on all their records have tended to get rather monotonous it’s at least good they didn’t do monotonous fast but instead monotonous slow (slow for thrash that is) so that their riffs and bass lines really grows and that their roaring, chainsaw qualities really can be heard and their gruffly vocalist is able to make his vocals even more biting and stingy evil. Sometimes more speed could’ve helped out, as some songs features the same thing over and over again – but slowly.

Released in the same year as Rust in Peace and Coma of Souls, Cerebral Fix still did good enough to pride themselves. While this is conform, uniform whatever and the structures are far from complex, it’s good. It’s catchy, pounding and evil. Also Cerebral Fix really was distinctive, they set themselves apart with this rather unique style. One could describe Cerebral Fix like Dark Angel minus most of the dirt, most of the riffs, the speed and add a punchy rhythm. Or one could sum it up with a damn good album if not for the repetitiveness to it.