It all started so innocently. I flirted with the idea of going to Full Terror Assault 2 coming up in late August. Already a fan of black metal masters Nevalra, I noticed Dying Fetus and Belhegor on the bill, and my intrigue peaked. Reading through the names on the bill I decided to sample a few, and thus my introduction to Cephalic Carnage. I had no idea the Pandora’s box of filfth and gruesome heavy metal inside. It’s far too late to pull back now, their tearing at my limbs and ears daily.
Hailing from Colorado, forming in the early 1990’s, Cephalic Carnage has produced six albums and toured the world. Delving into all the elements of extreme metal, what attracted me was the super-aggressive death metal feel of Endless Cycles of Violence, from the Xenosapien album. A novice in the world of grindcore, the only hint of that sub-genre detected was a slight semblance to the pace and guttural vocal style of Aborted. Yet, addicted was I, to the million miles per hour brutality and shredding, and I needed the pipe right now for another hit. I looked up the 2012 reissue of Lucid Interval, and what I found shocked the hell into me.
It didn’t happen at first, as the wild beat down known as Redundant was another serving of core whoopass. Looking at my speakers I saw my Queensryche and Megadeth albums centered properly in front of the stacks of components and knew I was a far from my metal home. Part of me feared what lie down the Cephalic Carnage road, but the eerie and demonic draw was overwhelming. The opening riffage from the title-track (Lucid Interval) dug in with razor sharp claws, and the relentless nature recessed a bit by the mid-point of the song, another juicy and sticky layer, poured over with more killer guitar and bass rips. And still, at this juncture, I had no real idea that this is high level grind core.
The would-be turning point in my journey came when I decided to just listen to Lucid Interval straight through. Totally unprepared for the diversity that awaited, the doom spell of Scolopendra Cingulata was an evil tease that lulled me into a safe groove before the murderous devouring of Fortutious Oddity hurled me to the wall and wrung me by the throat. A heavy metal holy shit moment, it forced me to scan the room for other malicious forces lurking behind blocked spaces, and it dawned on me how much I had felt in less than five minutes. Call it grind, death, extreme, awful, or advanced, it was a rare, totally memorable, and seizing.
The spoken word intro and sludge-like morass of Black Metal Sabbath was yet another twisted and pleasing surprise. Running at breakneck speed for the majority of its dark existence it break downs into a stoner feel of bliss and exploration, exposing its greatness, cementing Lucid Interval as distinctive must have two-ton bass madness. If that isn’t far more than sufficient, make time (0ver 20 minutes that is), for the epic final track, Arsonist Savior. Keep the joint lit, puff and pass, and sit back for an offering that surpasses some bands’ EP’s, but all inside one song. I’m keen on the bass, the black feel, and scared by all of it.
I profess to know very little about Cephalic Carnage except that they frighten me half-to-death, and I need ample time catching-up on their career. However your journey begins, just make sure it does begin, and soon. You may run like hell, or maybe you’ll be so mesmerized you’ll be happily paralyzed, but in this musical world of boring and safe, Cephalic Carnage is anything but that. And that is worth the journey!
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