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Cephalic Carnage - Lucid Interval CD (album) cover

LUCID INTERVAL

Cephalic Carnage

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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The Pessimist
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Well if you are looking for something that's about as heavy as it gets but with tonnes of sophistication to go with it, I think this album is for you. Lucid Interval is probably my favourite of theirs, and for one reason alone: it provides a perfect balance between avant-garde experimentalism and pure grindcore, unlike their later albums which veer off more into death metal territory.

The album, although appearing to have a massive 15 songs, really only has about 6-7, with the rest being brutal fillers between each. The fillers are terrific grindcore songs in their own right, but they hold minimal, if not zero, progressive value. No, this album's real glory lies in the 2 minutes plus songs, and they are all superb to say the least.

Anyway, enough introduction. Let's get down to the track by track:

Scolopendra Cingulata/ Fortuitous Oddity/ Anthro Emesis:

I glue these songs together because that's pretty much it sounds like on the disc. Perhaps the coolest intro in all metal, Scolopendra Cingulata kicks off with just the bass and snare drums of master drummer John Merryman. We are then treated to a heavy slow riff that is also very cool as well. Then essentially, the chaos commences when the second track is introduced. And boy, is this one a headf***. Pure grindcore at its finest, this little filler track is only progressive in context but is great fun to listen to. As soon as the first scream comes in you are bombarded by a wall of metal sound, only to resolve back to a down to earth riff at the intro to Anthro Emesis. This song is superb, and a tour de force. It is in fact the only Cephalic Carnage song I can think off off hand that gives a marginally noticeable ternary arrangement. For the first A section we are treated to some technical mid paced deathgrind with some very abrupt changes that keep you well on your toes. It is then broken up by a bit of blasting and shredding, leading into the B section. This is very unique, as it is unbelievably heavy (pig squeels and all), yet is still has a progressive air about it. It may well be the chromatic riffing and clever use of double and half time that do the trick. After being metaphorically crushed, we are then crushed even further into dust by some fast paced technical riffing and brought to an end with a recappitulation. Astounding and a very epic progressive grind tune.

The Isle Of California/ Pseudo:

Once again, I glue these two together because they sound like one song. The filler is actually quite progressive is a way, as far as only a minute will let it be. However Pseudo, is my favourite off the album. If you wanted a brilliant example of how prog this band can be, please listen to this song. It kicks off with a clean atonal guitar riff and then we are given a jolly good smack in the mouth by what the band do best: fast, brutal, technical grind and there are sections in this little section that I sometimes doubt even have a time signature. All the musicians are on fire here, but after all the chaos and confusion, we are then treated to a very mellow avant-garde jazz section that gradually slows to a stop and finally and large exposion of sound. Some high frequency effects fill out the sound from here on, until... yep, you guessed it, an unexpected wall of sound hits you and you are faced once again with Carnage. One thing I love about this half of the song is the surprisingly melodic riff that shows its face a total of four times and brings a lovely little balance to the tune. The progressive nature of this song really sticks out and I think this is your new favourite song if you are an extreme prog metal fan like myself. I practically fell in love.

Friend Of Mine:

Yes, an 8 second song that is slightly isolated from the rest of them, that I find, like Napalm Death's "Your Suffer" conceptually hilarious. Then again that may be my twisted sense of humour coming into play.

Rebellion:

John Merryman introduces us to this song, which is as you'd expect, very heavy and very technical. The guitar work is the most astounding thing on this little number, with a great mixture of low brutal riffing and high pitched shredding, Joe and Goldberg must shift up and down the neck at lightning speed to be able to achieve these guitar lines. Just listen: it's amazing what they can pull off. There is also a short high frequecy drum solo featured in the middle of the song.

Zuno Gyakusatsu:

If you thought Rebellion couldn't get any heavier, then you haven't heard this short number. Only a filler, but it has the magnitude of an hour of standard brutal death metal. I just can't describe it. Awesome.

Black Metal Sabbath:

the third strong track off the album, Black Metal Sabbath is actually a mockery of the imagery conjured up in Black Metal music. That aside, it is one of CC's best songs, and starts off with a short quote from the movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, and before you know it explodes. The second half of this song, despite the outstanding technicallity and bombast of the first half, is my favourite. The riff that it is based on is so clear and so face-melting that I can't help but headbang along. This song is a classic example of how schizophrenic the band can be, as it is part deathgrind onslaught and half almost classic rock! Great.

Cannabism isn't actually by Cephalic Carnage, but by another group they are, i presume, close friends with. I won't review it, although it is a good laugh.

The title track is also one of the finest, and probably most technical of the batch. Used here is a great manipulation of panning near the beginning and tuplets at the outro. It is also worth noting that John Merryman is literally on fire here and pulls off things on the tin cans that I never even thought possible by a human with four limbs. He definitely deserves credit for his exquisite abilities, but gets hardly any on other sites, so I'll give him all mine here. Great drummer, and this tune truly illustrates his frantic inhuman abilities. Once again the guitarwork is perfect, and there are that many shifts in mood and time that I can barely keep up. 10/10.

Misguided and Redundant pretty much follow the pattern of the rest of the album, and are probably the two weakest on Lucid. Great songs, but the track that follows is so good that I normally just skip these two after the title track.

Arsonist Saviour:

Now we are talking. If you are not convinced yet that this band is experimental and progressive enough, then by the end of this number you will be. Guaranteed. The song starts off with some sound effects (that are a bit Mars Volta-ish funnily enough) and leads into a lovely little smooth atonal jazz section. Clean guitars are in full essence here and even some of the Classic Prog fans may enjoy this a little. But, as you probably have guessed by now, we explode into some of the most progressive, technical, furious and experimental deathgrind in the history of metal, and that is by no means an understatement. Of the many features of the actual track, the standout ones for me are probably the menacingly calm intro, the use of keyboards (roughly around the fourth minute, just before the drum solo), the quieter section near the end and of course, the clean vocal section. There is a lot packed into the first five minutes though, and there is a lot more to it than my personal highlights. A LOT more.

The last 8 minutes, after the few minutes of silence, is probably the most interesting though. In fact, you could easily close your eyes and mistake this little segment for the work of King Crimson. Avant-garde jazz is the key tag word here, and it is a very enjoyable 8 minutes of pure improvised smoothness, with clean guitars, mellow drum work and even a soprano sax and violin. This is probably the only work of this band which I'd recommend to the mellower prog fans. It is truly beautiful and weird at the same time.

The Hidden Track isn't worth commenting on as it's just white noise.

In summary, I can only call this a masterpiece of progressive music. It is the only album I can think of the merges grindcore with prog to such perfection, that I can't do anything else than rank it with the very highest. If you are into any kind of extreme metal at all then you should buy this album, and get ready for a really brutal and rough ride.

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Send comments to The Pessimist (BETA) | Report this review (#231234)
Posted Wednesday, August 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Cephalic Carnage strikes again. A good album. But unfortunately, their album level went down from the last one (Exploiting Dysfunction 5/5). But maybe it is better than the first album. Probably the Ultra Super Brutal Technical Death Grind fans are all against me in my album preferences. By the way, I like their pseudo Hydro Grind. Some strange noises and wtf moments at this album are awesome. The vocals here are bordering goregrind. The presence of short songs are still there, including the 8sec song "Friend of Mine". Other Hand, this album sounds much more prog than the previous ones. Well, even so grindcore, their music was prog from the beggining. Worth check.

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Send comments to VOTOMS (BETA) | Report this review (#957242)
Posted Friday, May 10, 2013 | Review Permalink

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