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Cephalic Carnage - Anomalies CD (album) cover

ANOMALIES

Cephalic Carnage

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars And I thought Death was heavy...

I've been really into bands like Opeth, Edge of Sanity, Death, and Cynic lately, so I figured I'd try out a band in the same category of technical death metal. I found them through Wikipedia, and while I was browsing through their discography I saw they had some extended song lengths in addition to being considered a technical death metal band, so I figured I'd try them out. And now that I have tried this out, Opeth might as well be Bach or Beethoven in comparison to this. I have NEVER heard such heavy music in my whole life! Even Death, who I'm beginning to like very much, has slowed down tempos at times, and more variety in their music. Throughout almost this entire album is just blast-beat drumming with repetitive and very fast guitar riffs, and Lenzig Leal screaming. This almost defeats the purpose of music itself, in my honest opinion.

What makes good music, in my mind at least, is simply variety. This is something that is severely lacking on this album. Everything sounds the same. Everything is simply a repeated note at 500 times per second, blast-beat drumming, and screaming. The only exception is a few moments in the closing track. This certainly is technical death metal, but progressive death metal? I'm not sure about this. I guess it could be called that, but this is far more focused on brutal technicality than anything else, including even making captivating riffs or something worth listening to. I would rather listen to excellent straightforward death metal that's captivating instead of this unnecessary complexity.

I helped get this band added into the Tech/Extreme prog metal category because clearly that is where they belong. But that doesn't mean I like them at all. The only good thing about this album is the occasional slower riff in "Dying Will Be The Death of Me", some nice contrasts in "Inside is Out", some clean vocals at times, and the decent closing track. Other than that, it's just unmemorable fast and complex death metal. The production quality on this album is incredible, but that's the only thing that is outstanding.

I really don't like this album at all in case you can't tell. Death usually draws the line for me. Anything heavier doesn't appeal to me, and this is heavier by miles and miles. I am positive that this will appeal to many very extreme metal/grindcore fans, but this just isn't for me at all. And that's why I'm giving this two stars. It will surely appeal to some very extreme metal fans, but considering Death, Opeth, and Edge of Sanity are some of my favorite bands and I can't stand Cephalic Carnage is saying something. This will be loved by many, but very few on this site including prog metal fans like me.

2 stars.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#235364)
Posted Thursday, August 27, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Cephalic Carnage are a band that are difficult to digest for a number of reasons. For avant- garde and experimental music fans, it's probably the heaviness. For the metal fans, it's the crazy atonal sections and bombast of the songs. For syphonic prog fans it's all of the above, and for the mainstream public it's pretty much everything aout this band. They are very heavy, very technical and very... weird. But please, don't let those facts put you off. If you are up for the challenge succeed in the challenge and emerge out the other end and start apreciating the music for it's little subtleties, then you will find Cephalic Carnage one of the most rewarding bands on the scene.

Anomalies for me is a great album, with flaws and more importantly with absolutely fantastic moments. This takes a more aggressive, choppier and overall more disciplined approach than the previous masterpiece Lucid Interval, and actually vears more into the death metal territory as well. That's the thing: there isn't that much grind here, so don't dive in expecting any. It's just really brutal, heavy, mindbogglingly complex death metal to me. A perfect example would be the song Counting The Days (pobably my favourite off the album actually). The song doesn't give in and pummles the listener into submission with violent technicality. It flits between passages before anyone can take a breath, with only the small accappella guitar sections to root it into the ground.

Now if you are into that kind of stuff (like me), then you will get endless enjoyment. If you are not... then try it anyway. This may turn into a new thing for you, but I am not promising you will enjoy it.

As far as actual songwriting goes, it's very accomplished. They've had three albums of experience under their belt at this point, and it seems that they have taken all the trippy, pretentious ideas used on Exploiting and Lucid Interval and sculpted them, watered them down and brought them all together to make a fast paced, crisp album tht actually is their most accessible work to date. That is in fact the only beef I have with this album (there are no more spacey jazz sections and atonal musical masturbation sessions anymore), but I will not let it deteriarate from the rating.

Musicianship is top notch without a doubt. These guys are possibly the tightest you can find on the market (especially the rhythm section), and Lenzig Leal is especially experimental with his vocals. You get screams, death growls, low pig squeels and the half growl, half singing style found in Gojira's songs in the package, and sometimes all in one song (check out Ontogeny of Behaviour). Definitely worth looking out for. The guitar lines are ever virtuose and there is no fault in them at all. 10/10 for the playing.

I think overall this is a very good progressive metal album. A bit too commerciallised for my liking (I much prefer the older, avant-garde atonal influenced days of Cephalic Carnage), but there is without a doubt something here for metal fans. NOT a masterpiece (the last song is a masterpiece on its own however), but a great album nonetheless. 4/5 from me.

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Send comments to The Pessimist (BETA) | Report this review (#248112)
Posted Wednesday, November 04, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Cephalic Carnage took the foot of the accelerator here and did a quite melodic album. Well, melodic in their terms. Which mean quite standard death metal. There is less experimentation and grindcore here and more melody like in death metal. There is also a some slabs of hardcore here too. Not to mention some power metal like melody lines at the end of this album. Cephalic Carnage has gone commercial and acceptable.

This development takes away the experimentation of this band. Which in my view is the wrong direction for this band. Cephalic Carnage is one pioneering band which should really concentrate on being innovative. That's their strength. This album is not innovative. It is rather a pretty standard death metal and that is not worthy of Cephalic Carnage's standing in the scene. I do not like this album at all. It think the music here is pretty dull death metal. That's all I can say about this album.

2 stars

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Send comments to toroddfuglesteg (BETA) | Report this review (#258340)
Posted Tuesday, December 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Anomalies" is the 4th full-length studio album by US experimental extreme metal act Cephalic Carnage. The album was released in March 2005 by Relapse Records.

The band are known for their eclectic and experimental extreme metal style that's somewhat rooted in grindcore but far exceeds the boundaries of that style. On "Anomalies" the band incorporate elements from grindcore, death metal, deathcore, metalcore, sludge and avant garde. And most of the time you'll have elements from several of those genres within one track. The vocals on the album are mostly very extreme, ranging from death grunts to higher pitched screaming vocals and everything in between. But in addition to the more extreme vocals on the album you'll also be exposed to raw sludgy type vocals and even some clean metalcore styled vocals in the track "Dying Will Be the Death of Me". I guess it's needless to say it, but there are a plethora of vocal styles on the album. It can be both a strength and a weakness depending on your point of view and open mindedness towards those vocal styles. Whichever style of music the band chose to play and incorporate into their songs they pull it off with ease and conviction, be it deathcore breakdowns, sludgy parts, fast blasting grindcore sections, groove based death metal or avant garde sounding dissonant fretboard runs and other oddball ideas ( including the rather unconventional lyrics).

The production is professional, powerful and suits the music perfectly.

Cephalic Carnage is the kind of act that defies valid catagorization. Fortunately they are fully capable of succesfully mixing the various styles in a seamless fashion. They are not only extremely skilled musicians, but also rather accomplished composers. Of course an album like "Anomalies" require an open mind and I have to admit that it's taken me a couple of years to fully digest and appreciate the album. The first time I gave the album a shot, I simply didn't get it. I felt the music was all over the place and it simply didn't appeal to me. I knew from the first listen that there was something about the album though, so I've taken it out and given it spins once in a while to try and understand what the band's vision is and finally my patience was rewarded. After a couple of years it was like the album opened to me and the songs became memorable and distinguisable from each other. The mixing of different extreme metal styles is quite ingenious and deserves praise. This could have resulted in utter failure and unlistenable music, but Cephalic Carnage skillfully combine all styles into an adventurous sound that's unmistakably their own. A 4 star rating is deserved.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#445573)
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is not a typical deathgrind band. Cephalic Carnage always had something more to show us. You can realize listening to the last song from this album (Anomalies), the track n. 12, Ontogeny of Behavior. It is a ten minute work, really catchy and progressive. Another progressive great shot is Inside is Out.

Overall, this album is more progressive than avant-garde (as their previous releases), but it's still different. I'm not a real fan from Cephalic Carnage, but I'm a Exploiting Dysfunction fan, it's my favorite grindcore album, so I tried their entire discography. I'm disapointed because their late albums wasn't like their three first releases. And this album it's more digestible than their early works. Songs like the stoner Piecemaker do not satisfy me. But they are still Cephalic Carnage, and it's a good album.

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Send comments to VOTOMS (BETA) | Report this review (#957243)
Posted Friday, May 10, 2013 | Review Permalink

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