Review Summary: The masters of Rocky Mountain hydro-grind.
Cephalic Carnage specialize in creating some truly ***ed up grind. The one album in their discography that best exemplifies how ***ed up their grind can be is their second full-length "Exploiting Dysfunction". Songs range from 6 seconds to 15 minutes in length, with each song seemingly defying description. There are various samples throughout the album, along with some noise collages that demonstrate that these guys know their Merzbow as well as their Cryptopsy. Despite their reputation as hardcore stoners, these guys create music that is anything but laid back. Each member of the band (including the vocalist) displays mastery of their instrument throughout. Drummer John Merryman's blastbeats are balanced with impressive cymbal work and insane tempo changes. Guitarists Zac and Steve like to show off their impressive fretwork with intense passages of sweep picking and finger tapping. However the thing that really makes their guitar work stand out is the ability to throw in some of the heaviest and slowest riffs you're ever going to hear in grind. Aforementioned vocalist Lenzig doesn't actually sing at any point throughout the album, but he does display some impressive range from high pitched screams to some incredibly deep growls. Although bassist Jawsh is somewhat inaudible, his tone helps give the album a fuller sound. However, it would be nice to hear the bass a little more clearly because the guy is obviously talented.
The album is consistently entertaining throughout, although there are some filler tracks. Songs such as "On Six" and "Warm Hand On A Cold Night" help add to the chaos of the album, but really are unnecessary. Highlights include "Eradicate Authority" and the absolutely killer instrumental "9' Of Smoke". Perhaps the most interesting track comes in the form of the final epic, "Exploiting Dysfunction". At 15 minutes in length, the song begins as standard Cephalic Carnage grind fare, and shifts into a long, psychedelic passage. If all the experimentation turns you off at first, I would suggest listening to some of the shorter, (somewhat) more straightforward metal songs. These songs would include, "Driven to Insanity", "The Ballad Of Moon", "Molestandos Plantas Muertos", and "Paralyzed By Fear".
With "Exploiting Dysfunction", Cephalic Carnage has created a grindcore classic. Few grind bands would dare to experiment with the form as much as these crazy stoners do. The most impressive feat, however, is that all the experimentation works. The songs are creative and even (gasp!) memorable. If technicality is your cup of tea then look no further. Every member of Cephalic Carnage is incredibly gifted and they display their gifts throughout. If you're new to the genre you definitely don't want to start here. However for any grind veteran, this is truly a must hear album.