Review Summary: Three cheers for cohesion.
If you had asked me what I thought of Cephalic Carnage's
5th studio outing Xenosapien
after I had gave it a first spin, I would have replied something along the lines of "Not now, I have a headache." Indeed it wouldn't be an understatement to say that this album has the power to make first-timers say,"what the heck just hit me?", those that are bound to sink in. Already, it's safe to say that an inhuman attempt and an idiosyncrasy to comply with rhythm will have the most of you. With a generally savage hubub of speed and just death-influenced grind in former releases, Cephalic Carnage
have now actually managed to write an album, no gimmickry attached, while shifting over the weight to a stable grind-influenced death metal. You can't come out of this technical rollercoaster without feeling the physical repercussion; this is a technically poignant album -maybe not one of the most skillfully contrived albums we've seen from the American troupe yet. Moreover, there are many subliminal benefits one will get from delving headstrong into this album.
It's all for the kids. Opener Endless Cycle of Violence
quite clearly pleads of the impact that media has on teenagers, and how sandbox toddlers are in for a meander through patterns of aggression as they grow into adolescents. Even such crummy lyrics succeed in holding up a cheval glass to the smutty 21st century life, while regardless, proficiency on all ends ultimately makes you think, "so what?" With consistency, Xenosapien
righteously applies repetition and varied groundwork to give a more memorable delivery through out each song; something which lacked in predecessors. The intro to Divination & Violation
would have had me confused with a PsyOpus track, and a Mastadon melodic break is featured on Touched by an Angel
bearing testament that Cephalic Carnage
has always had the breeze to outdo many contenders on the scene. That said, the argument only skims the surface.
Second-guessing emerges, considering that Deathgrind never was the most coherent thing on the metal scene. Already, it's an instilled fact that Cephalic Carnage's
music is built around pretty many cliches, but what makes them one of the most intense acts since god knows when is their blend of death metal, grindcore, sludge, doom and even jazz. John Merryman's drums are breath taking, with meticulous timing, and ingenius drum fills and rolls, whilst Lenzig Leal's vocals range from guttural Death Metal roars to well-placed grindcore shouts. He's most definitely not the best vocalist I've ever heard, but he gets the job done. Despite such praise, the music itself seems very self-contented in tone; at this point we're still fine, but then we're lead to the kicker. Have they done it well enough? - one of the many questions that haunts me as I review this album. The band will most likely chug down a death metal bit, taking The Omega Point
and then mooch an unacquainted experimental snippet. Not that this shows true artistic qualities, I believe what I'm saying is that it's not all that well infused, and when it's repeated to death for its satisfaction, exit: killer melody.
This album was well anticipated for 2007, and I will concede that even though this isn't a very accessible album, fans of the genre, let alone the bands will be very contented. The troupe have themself fasioned a name for their style, Rocky Mountain HydroGrind. Since much of their lyrical content covers the legalization of weed, contemporary issues etc. Rocky Mountain symbolizes, or rather gives its soil to the growth of Mary Jane. "With Xenosapien we tried to play on the whole genetic side of things from an evolutionary standpoint and we tried to connect it to the alien theme, which is something that I think will pop up in society very soon." says the band's new bassist Nick Schendzielos. The album focuses on the inevitable speculation of any pre-teen comic nerd: do extraterrestrials exist?
Even with such givens, only time will be able to bring more. Xenosapien
does not knocks-out former releases, such as 2003 Lucid Interval, or even Anomalies of 2005. Cephalic Carnage is one of the craziest Deathgrind bands to emerge from America, and yet they are able to tame some of the wildest elements to be found into and blow sentiment into them in the form of a song. "Bands have seemingly explored every angle of 'angular,' every crevice of 'chaotic,' every possible permutation of 'brutal'." Cephalic Carnage
may be guilty of this, but they still bring a clash of brutality, intensity and speed to the table which they can actually be given credit for. Be it mature and maybe one of the technically best of its genre this year, the album is one of the few that coheres to make a more memorable album, yet Death and Grind are two terms which must share a mutual bond, and Cephalic Carnage still have to give all they have from both ends.