Release DetailsLABEL Relapse
RELEASED ON 3/15/2005
posted on 3/2005 By:
With the exception of Exit 13, I can think of few bands who are/were as dedicated to getting stoned and writing confusing grindcore as Cephalic Carnage. Always remaining acceptable to enjoy no matter what popularity and recognition they achieved, the Colorado outfit has managed to evolve quite a bit since their acclaimed Conforming to Abnormality release way back in 1996. One of my favorite bands when they first appeared on the scene, I stopped paying a lot of attention to them as the years progressed, yet still spoke highly of them. Anomalies, the sixth release, serves to keep their fanbase loyal while letting them know to remain stoned and on their toes.
I find it hard to believe that there are people out there still unfamiliar with them, but for those of you who still haven't caught on, they're basically one of the heaviest and most bizarre bands that shockingly received enough attention to get the production values they deserve. While groups like Old Lady Drivers and Lawnmower Deth were praised for their original ways, so much of what they did was unlistenable. They weren't taken seriously. This is why Cephalic Carnage are so important - they're one of the few bands who've truly earned and actually gotten what the world owes them as musicians. Aptly put, they're an anomaly themselves.
As Lucid Interval was more of an exploration into jazz, Anomalies showcases the best of what metal has to offer, and is more of a venture into doom much like they exhibited on Halls of Amenti. Starting off the record, the leadfooted "Scientific Remote Viewing" kicks off with thrashy death metal and quickly leaps into feverish grindcore. Phasing into the next track with an unearthly sci-fi sound, "Wraith" is drenched with mathy-riffing, choppy leads, and faint keyboards with a progressive sound. The breakneck tempo changes and non-stop playing could lead to a heavier Dillinger Escape Plan comparison, but ultimately remains true to Cephalic Carnage's tendency to experiment. The chunky and resonant playing on "Counting the Days" is demolished piece by piece with the intervention of spiraling leads and the eventual blasting interruptions. It's almost shameful when one of your favorite doom/stoner rock songs is played by a death/grind band, but not when it's by Cephalic Carnage. "Piecemaker" begins with an extremely typical low-fi stoner rock riff before exploding back into their competent production, still provided by the reputable Dave Otero of Hellion Studios, I believe. Towards the end, the song abandons the uplifting and groovy feel in favor of destructive and unremitting gloom. With their tongues still firmly implanted in their cheeks, "Dying Will Be the Death of Me" is a joking homage to all the Gothenburg-inspired clones who've come out of the woodwork over the last couple of years. Attacking an entire flock of birds with one stone, there's absurd breakdowns, clean singing, dissonant chugging, and thrashy melodies. It's exactly what you'd expect them to do - write a song that's uncharacteristic of them, yet it still sounds better than most other bands who are making an earnest attempt. Again, the Black Sabbath/Orange Goblin leanings rear their heads on "Sleeprace", with an astonishing bluesy guitar solo which steers into head-nodding and reaffirming chanting. The final track, the near-ten minute "Ontogony of Behavior" tackles Neurosis' doomy sound with an ethereal and resonating clean-picked introduction. Soulful singing marks the true opening of the neck-breakingly immense sound, which isn't maintained for much longer than a minute and a half before the entry of violent chaos. Reprising the aforementioned heavy and slower part, the track fades out slowly and then returns even louder, concluding one of the most powerful anthems on the record.
They're like a large angry toddler with a sense of humor - stealing your toys and gluing them together. While some people might be initially displeased, eventually they'll realize that He-Man's head really does look better attached to Predator's left arm, with his legs replaced by Legos. While definitely not a new direction for Cephalic Carnage, they're taking the entire realm of metal by storm once again by borrowing from everyone, destroying and perverting everything, and apologizing to no one. As heavy as it is uncommonly excellent, Anomalies proves that there's still at least one band capable of doing everything almost perfectly.
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