Review Summary: Whether they're pushing the boundaries of speed and technicality with their signature hydro grind, cramming hundreds of musical styles in one song, or making fun of scenesters ala numerous musical parodies, Cephalic Carnage remains one of the most origina
Chances are you've heard of em;Napalm Death, Carcass, Terrorizer,Repulsion etc. These forefathers of Grindcore who made their initial *** stain on the music industry in the mid to late 80's started what most would consider the first real wave of Grindcore. The fates of the aforementioned bands are widely known. ND went on to play some washed up moshcore for most of the 90's, Carcass went on to pioneer bigger and better things, and terrorizer and Repulsion seemed to fall off the face of the planet. So the question is...What's next? The genre didn't just wither away and die.
I gather it would be safe to say that many of you know what's next. ND influences a ton of bands (Assuck, Phobia, ENT), Carcass spawned an army of goregrind bands, kids started mixing hardcore and extreme technicality ala mathcore, but in my opinion the greatest thing to happen to Grindcore was the addition of death metal. Brutal Truth was one of the first to test these new waters and Grind-Gods like Nasum soon followed suit. This call to experiment seemed to really catch on.
Enter cephalic Carnage... and here's where my fledgling grindcore history lesson comes to a halt.
Now a little bit about the band. Cephalic Carnage formed in 1992 and released it's first dash of what would later be known as "Hydrogrind" in 1994 with the oddly titled "Scrape my lungs" demo. Fast forward several demos, splits, and a messy full-length to 1998's "Exploiting Dysfunction." This album really hit the extreme metal scene hard. The record's core is definitely Grindcore, but just add a dose jazz, death metal, devastatingly odd time signatures, and some flamenco and you might be able to get an idea. Now with a strong fanbase awaiting a follow-up, CC had to deliver. After two splits and four years CC released their crowning achievement entitled, "Lucid Interval."
This classic kicks off with "scolopendra cingulata,"a mid paced, almost doomy instrumental wielding an infectious groovy riff and then "fortuitous oddity" leaves you in the dust with its 100 mph Grind assault. Then comes "Anthro Emesis," a tune about Roman brutality (interesting topic for any extreme band) that blurs the line between grind and tech death. The next couple of songs range in length but continue the trend of being super expeditious and technical.
When "Black Metal Sabbath" begins you better brace yourself for something a bit different. I could be wrong but it's most likely a black metal parody. Lenzig's vocals switch over to a more raspy scream and lyrical content deals with more "evil" matter. What really expresses the eccentricity of the song is the last couple of minutes which are totally stoner rock. It would make a lot more sense if it were two different songs. But that's not what they're all about. A Grindcore band writing a black metal song that stops short and becomes a stoner rock song would probably seem like a really "gnarly" thing to do especially if you're high as a kite which Cephalic Carnage most likely was when making this album.
To continue the trend of insanity "Cannabism" displays a sort of folk acoustic side of the band. It's weird, I'll give 'em that. It's probably the only track I would skip on the whole record. All in all its only forty-five seconds long and it helps add to the unconventional aura the album possesses. The next song, the title track, is widely considered the gem of CC's discography and for good reason. It starts out with an atmospheric riff that could only be Cephalic Carnage and just blasts its way through an amalgam of fretboard wizardry and all around technicality and dissonance that would remind a normal person of the harmonious sounds a washer and dryer would make as the neighborhood dogs bark at passing buses (Ok, maybe I exaggerated a tad, but you get the picture). The truly freaky thing about the song though, is that it's highly memorable.
The album closes with "Arsonist savior." It's over twenty-one minutes long. The first five minutes is another great example of CC's signature grind. It's as blistering as it is quirky and there's even some prog-ish clean vocals thrown in. Basically the song ends and you get treated to several minutes of silence until some strange noise kicks in and the song ends with a long, dissonant instrumental done in true CC fashion. Ultimately, it's an apt closer to this monolith of an album.
Basically, if you're into extreme music and you crave something different (huge understatement) you should try out "Lucid Interval." If you're interested in these guys and you're wondering where to start,look no further, this is the album to start with. So sit down, spark up a blunt, throw this beast in your stereo, and enjoy.