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Cerebrum - Spectral Extravagance CD (album) cover

SPECTRAL EXTRAVAGANCE

Cerebrum

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.02 | 3 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Spectral Extravagance" is the debut full-length studio album by Greek technical/ progressive death metal act Cerebrum. The album was released on the 18th of August 2009 by Lacerated Enemy Records. Most of the album was already recorded in April/ May of 2007 but I suppose itīs taken a couple of years to find the right record company. Cerebrum, which consist of Apollon Zigomalas on vocals, Jim Touras on guitar and Mike Papadopoulos on guitars/ bass, didnīt have a drummer in the lineup when they recorded "Spectral Extravagance", but was helped out on the album by drummer George Kollias ( Nile, Sickening Horror, Nightfall, The Circle of Zaphyan, System Shock, Extremity Obsession).

The music on the album is technical/ progressive death metal with lots of early nineties US death metal sensibilities. The lyrical themes are about astrology, archaeology and other rather interesting subjects. So Cerebrum is no bloodīnīgore type death metal act. Cerebrum mentions acts such as Atheist, Death, Morbid Angel, Gorguts, Watchtower, King Crimson, Pestilence and Nocturnus among their incluences on the bandīs myspace (I would add Theory in Practice as a reference too). Those influences are quite obvious when listening to "Spectral Extravagance" and while Morbid Angel is probably the least progressive band among those influences itīs especially the Morbid Angel influence that is strong in the music IMO. The music on the album is brutal technical death metal first and foremost and then progressive. The progressive elements on the album are, in addition to the song structures, mostly represented by the odd jazzy part which occur in some songs. Thereīs an example of that in a track like "Edge of Parallel Circles". All 11 songs on the album are of a very high quality but if I have to make one small complaint itīs that the progressive parts donīt always fit too well with the rest of the music. All parts are great but the short jazzy parts in some of the songs sometimes sound a bit awkward in the pre-dominantly brutal technical death metal soundscape. Bear in mind that this is a minor, minor complaint on an otherwise excellent album so donīt let this scare you away.

The vocals are deep growls but actually quite easily decipherable for the genre. Something I greatly appreciate. There are also some sporadic clean vocal parts that are great for the variation of the album. The clean vocals actually remind me a bit of how David Vincent ( Morbid Angel) sounded on "God of Emptiness" from the "Covenant (1993)" album. In these days thereīs always a danger of extreme metal acts that include clean singing in their music chose to include generic metalcore/ emocore vocals, but thatīs fortunately not the case with Cerebrum. They are quite old school in that regard which is something that appeals to me.

The musicianship on the album is excellent. Great razor sharp and fast riffing, excellent growling vocals (and some pretty good clean ones too) and of course some powerful and technically skilled drumming by George Kollias. These guys are fantastic musicians IMO. The guitar solos are generally pretty short but enjoyable.

The production is really good too. There are some issues with the production that keeps it from being truly excellent if you ask me, but it is professional and suits the music well.

"Spectral Extravagance" is an excellent debut album by Cerebrum and thinking back to the albums Iīve listened to in this genre from 2009 this one is easily one of the best. A 4 star rating is fully deserved. Iīm gonna keep an eye out for their next release thatīs for sure. "Spectral Extravagance" made it to my top 5 in 2009 and listening to the album again before writing this review made it abundantly clear why that was. A quality album this one, which I can highly recommend to fans of technical/ progressive death metal with an early nineties sensibility.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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