Release DetailsLABEL Hell And Death Records
RELEASED ON 6/24/2005
The Cage of Existence
posted on 10/2005 By:
Judging from the cover art, the band description, and the death vocals over thrash riffs, this is the kind of album I would normally begrudgingly force myself to sweat over in an effort to find something of value in a pile of undeniable shit. Fortunately for both you and me, Cerberus produced one hell of an album that will have you clenching your ass in fear of rape from the sheer amount of intense riffage. The first thing you’ll notice is that the guys in Cerberus don’t bother with soft epic introductions. Check the solo beginning around 3:30 into the second track, “From Within.” If that thing ain’t metal than I don’t know what the hell is. Lead guitarist Sean Olk slays like a madman throughout the group’s first full length, The Cage of Existence, and rhythm guitarist Lanny Pearlman provides the backdrop for the insanity. Elements of Swedish influence are present to some small degree, but for the most part this is a thrashfest of the highest order in terms of the guitar work, and Olk and Pearlman hit a variety of riffs together, ranging from mid-pace to fast enough to rip your face off without pain. The most complimentary tracks to their praiseworthy musicianship are the above-mentioned “From Within”, “Brutal Remains,” which is one of the few songs on the album with a killer chorus, the latter half of “Possessed,” and “Until Death.” Vocals are always the clincher to me, and at no time are my ears more sensitive than when listening to thrash metal. Time and time again I hear the argument that aggressive music requires an aggressive vocalist, and often times this is followed with something like, “Rough vocals match the music, dude.” Well, dude, tell that to Warrel Dane, who in the 80s was singing as high pitched as anyone in a little band called Sanctuary that kicked many a headbanger’s ass. I refuse to accept the theory that gruff vocals are a must in extreme music. Possessing an ardent distaste for such vocals in thrash, one of the more melody-driven sub-genres of metal, I thought myself not very likely to enjoy Cerberus’s vocalist, John Guettler. I was wrong. Guettler’s growls would fit as well in Cerberus as in any death metal act, but here it takes on an even more guttural sound; almost grating. That grating effect runs smoothly against all the amazing licks coming from Olk’s end, and creates an impressive wall of sound that only grows more expansive with drummer Roger Watson’s incorporation of the occasional blast beat. I can’t figure out why I didn’t get to this album sooner. To think that a band that plays this tight lives in my neck of the woods here in Los Angeles, and I’ve never even heard of them, is mind-numbing. Cerberus. The Cage of Existence. Process it. Check it out. Buy it.
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