posted on 7/2007 By:
There's a top secret room about the size of a walk-in closet in an animal testing lab. You won't see it by taking an employee-guided tour. It's buried behind a series of deadbolted doors. Inside you'll catch a whiff of formaldehyde, and the smell of sterile steel surgical tools. It's lit by green fluorescent bulbs; the walls are brick. In the corner, there's a giant six foot lava lamp structure, which appears to be bubbling with oxygen from the base. Inside the pod is a horrifying sight. It is a small human child. Only months old. Its ears are folded down; its body is crumpled and lifeless. The limbs resemble jarred banana peppers. Its forehead and upper cranium are covered with bulging veins & mushroomed out... It looks as if a brain explosion is imminent. Tubes, wires, plugs and corn on the cob holders puncture its body in multiple areas and orifices. The specmien's eyes are wholly black. It appears as if cataracts are beginning to engulf them. Inside the child, blood pumps via an outside source entered through its back. Every pump sends massive throbs of agony throughout the baby's body. His head is in an eternal state of migraine. The budding nerve endings are overloaded with unbearable searing pain. His vision only allows him to see straight down in front of him, staring at a cold, white tiled floor. He cannot speak, nor move. But the choice to exist in this artificially sustained agony is not his to make...
Cephalic Carnage seems to be a band that has a loyal fanbase. So when they made an absolute garbage album like Lucid Interval, fans stood by the group and claimed it was ground breaking, genre blending genius from the all powerful jazz grind masters. Whatever. However, I will admit they have made notable progress in what seems to be their quest from a bunch of scatter brained pot smokers playing five second grind songs to a respectable group of pot smoking musicians who desire to be taken seriously. Xenosapien is quite the delectable listen, spanning a few guitar-driven genres, and surprisingly they have continued in the tradition of Anomalies and crafted some quality pieces, well worthy of hitting the repeat button for. As expected, the spastic grind brand can of beans is still present; thankfully they have it under control now, and it has a pleasing patternistic presentation. Though not overdone or ridiculously out of control, it can be irritating in areas that otherwise have good momentum. "Divination" demonstrates this. Sure it displays musical "range", but whether or not the part fits in the song should be considered before inserting it permanently. A small annoyance yields to a huge stomping crusher of an ending for this song, with its unorthodox chords and earthquaking distortion. "Touched by an Angel" is an exercise in speed, and a surprising display of black metal skills and choruses. A bottom end blast proceeds post haste with "Vaporized", wrapping itself up with a vortex of drop-A tuned power chords. "Heptarchy" appears to be a venture into the doors of modern day tech death, akin to the stop and start sweeps of Necrophagist or even Beneath the Massacre. This brings us to "G.O.D. (Global Overhaul Device)", and despite its slow grinding despair and sorrow, this is what I believe to be one of the best songs this band has ever written. Huge single notes ring out and acceptable clean vocals decorate and contribute to its emotional envelopment. What took me off guard here, though, was the horn section. Luckily, it complements, although it is a bit hard to swallow. After 37 listens on repeat, however, it is rather seamless now. "Megacosm of the Aquaphobics", besides its silly title, berths "grind melody". Another seemingly dismal mismatch forced to work by this crew. It actually prompted a whistle at work the other day. And of course, at the end you'll find an unlisted track of pure downtuned doom. Hefty in nature, you can actually hear the guitar strings flopping around due to the severity of the downtuning. Bleak, hopeless, and throbbing with pain.
Due to the musical and apparent personal maturity of this group, I am going to go ahead and wreckommend this piece not only to current groupies, but also to open minded fans of the categories of metal that Cephalic Carnage touch base on in a much more professional manner than the days of Exploiting Dysfunction or Lucid Interval. A band that before seemed to fart out songs during their weed smoking sessions has admittedly improved vastly to become knowledgeable composers of quality metal.
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