It’s an interesting experience to stick on some Grindcore when friends are around. When said friends are unaware of the existence of anything heavier than KORN or SLIPKNOT, it becomes even more of a treat as you watch their initially interested expressions turn to utter disgust. “It’s just noise!” they’d exclaim, “How can you listen to this stuff? It’s not music, surely?”
Well, to the untrained ear, sure, I can understand the disdain towards music which so often sounds like someone left the tape-recorder on at the local slaughterhouse. And to even the experienced Grindcore aficionado, the endless maelstrom of climbing chords and grumpy grunts can become tiresome. It’s no wonder many bands end up trying different stylistic approaches after a while, it just gets boring.
That’s where CEPHALIC CARNAGE step in. These foul miscreants from Colorado have been unleashing their own lacklustre brand of Grindcore (which they lovingly refer to as ‘hydrogrind’; blending together Death/Grindcore with ridiculous amounts of weed ingested during the recording process) into the Metal world. By lacklustre, I mean they weren’t very good. They were sloppy, and so often slipped into frustrating tedium and convention. You’d be forgiven for thinking that their 2002 full-length “Lucid Interval” is more of the same. But it’s not. No sir.
The beauty of “Lucid Interval” lies within its ability to deceive the listener. Many sections of the album (albeit often very short ones) are laced with the kind of pseudo-progressive, Jazz rhythm-oriented malarkey you wouldn’t expect to hear from a band whose roots so gallantly lie among the murky depths of grind. While doomy riffs, time signature shifts and strange samples all take their place, this is a Grindcore album first and foremost, so don’t expect to hear any lush acoustic passages or Mikael Akerfeldt for that matter.
So what you’ve got is a pretty straightforward slice of Grind, with a tasty dollop of progressive artistry. Songs like “Anthro Emesis,” “Lucid Interval,” and “Arsonist Savior” strike big as the album highlights, where the defining talent and originality of CEPHALIC CARNAGE really seep through. The rumbling bass drops are also noteworthy, with a truly crushing atmosphere emerging from the mix, particularly during slower sections.
It really is hard to put “Lucid Interval” at fault when considering how far the band has come since their debut. Sure, it took them two releases to get there, but they’ve made it. The stars have foretold it can only get better. Now CEPHALIC CARNAGE have found their sound. Be afraid.
(Online January 29, 2011)