Review Summary: If you are a fan of 1980s punk, or even the genre as a whole, ‘Cerebral Ballzy’ is an unmissable album.
Formed in 2008, Cerebral Ballzy released their EP of ‘You’re Idle’ and have now released their first self-titled full length which acts as a faithful throwback to some of the best punk of the 1980s.
As far as punk albums go, Cerebral Ballzy hasn’t missed a step. Frantic and angry songwriting? Check. A vocalist who sounds both full of bitter emotion and unconcerned at the same time? Check. Simple yet catchy lyrics? Check.
Particularly, the “Office Rocker” / “Off His Rocker” parallel makes for a catchy vocal hook towards the start of the record, while still maintaining a classic punk feel of apathetic fury.
The albums most impressive feat is how it combines the best of the old with the best of the new. The record itself sounds like it was ripped straight out of the mid-eighties, when the emergence of underground punk bands was prominent. Black Flag or even Dead Kennedy fans will find much to enjoy here. The lyrical themes even suit the decade more than adequately. On the flip-side though, while it still comes off as raw and gritty, the whole record feels polished and glossy, giving off the sense of genre advancement and progression.
Contemporaries aside though, the album still has an edge to it which makes it feel like something that’s been unprocessed and overdue in the scene for a long while. Each member contributes equally, with no precedence taken on a singular instrument. Vocalist Honor Titus does take center stage though, as his bleak and direct singing both flows well with the album musically, as well as maintaining a feel of classic punk without sounding homogenous or derivative.
The only real downfall of the record is that it’s short lived, which comes to no surprise of a punk album, being that most will run the approximate of 20 minutes, ‘Cerebral Ballzy’ is no exception. This is forgiven, just due to the amount of fun and replay value the album gives off. Either through the catchiness of ‘Cutting Class’ or how ‘Insufficient Fare’ may trigger a blast of nostalgia for those who appreciated old punk back in the day, Cerebral Ballzy’s debut album is an excellent first step for the band and a great leap for the genre, one that’s screaming; “punk is not dead”.
To put it simply; If you are a fan of 1980s punk, or even the genre as a whole, ‘Cerebral Ballzy’ is an unmissable album.