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Cerebus Effect

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Cerebus Effect Acts Of Deception album cover
3.66 | 33 ratings | 5 reviews | 21% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Y (7:19)
2. Identy Crisis (5:09)
3. Dark At The End Of The Tunnel (1:25)
4. Illusions (3:34)
5. Of Mortal Constraints (2:58)
6. Operation Midnight Climax (11:22)
7. Nine Against Ten (6:38)
8. Neutrino Flux (2:50)
9. Fine Lines Between Science And Art (3:02)
10. Unconsoled (3:04)
11. W (6:10)

Total Time: 53:31

Line-up / Musicians

- Joseph Walker / electric guitar, synthesizer solo (11)
- Dan Britton / keyboards, acoustic & electric (5,6,10) guitars, vocals,
- Mike Galway / bass
- Patrick Gaffney / drums, electronics

Releases information

CD Self-released (2005, US)

Thanks to alucard for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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CEREBUS EFFECT Acts Of Deception ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(21%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (24%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

CEREBUS EFFECT Acts Of Deception reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars Last week some fellow collaborators were debating on the Forum how to categorize this new, very adventurous sounding USA progrock band Cerebus Effect. The words Rio, Avant-Garde and Zeuhl were among the possibilities so I was afraid 'to walk on thin ice' when I got this CD to review as a Symphonic Prog Specialist. During my first listening session I noticed that the music was in the vein of the ominous cover (a painting by Hieronymus Bosch, known for his surrealistic Hell-inspired creatures), quite scary but also very dynamic featuring often propulsive rhythms with great interplay, especially between Joseph Walker (electric guitar and synthesizer solo on W) and Dan Britton (keyboards, acoustic guitar, vocals and electric guitar on 3 tracks), these two musicians create an exciting sound that is close to jazzrock and fusion with elements from Mahavishnu Orchestra and Frank Zappa. Some compositions sound more in the vein of the experimental and avant-garde prog, for example King Crimson on the albums Lizard and Earthbound. But most of the songs are quite melodic and I am stunned by the Pandora's box of styles and musical ideas: ominous and grungy-like vocals, flowing Spanish guitar, fine use of the Fender Rhodes electric piano, some biting electric guitar - and a flashy synth solo, a swinging piano and many shifting moods, from dreamy with female choir to lush bombastic eruptions. So you can conclude that this CD is loaded with interesting prog but it's very varied, one band member categorized it as 'Canterbury metal', food for thoughts!
Review by avestin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Eclectic.

(Thanks to Martin (Alucard) for introducing me to this band)

This is one of the albums that took me a while to get into, but when I finally did, I realized how much it was worth the bother. The beautiful thing about it is that once I got to know it well, I saw what a talented band this is. As Erik notes in his review, "varied" is a word that fits this album. The songs have a noticeable jazz-rock basis which is then complemented on several tracks by metal and sometimes the synthesizer is playing in a style that is expected from Canterbury band (hence the term Canterbury Metal).

I don't like to go for the track by track review style, but for this release, in order to convey the eclectic nature of the album, I feel it would help a lot to go briefly over the different tracks.

The first song starts off right away without introduction with the guitars and keyboard playing the main theme that would later reappear. Then come in those Canterbury sounding keyboard that give this band a part of its special quality. The keyboard in this release, change quite frequently between various sounds of instruments. Later the keyboard change to a piano sound and do the same improvisation-like but again and clear the stage for the guitars to wander off form the main theme and take the track to a more heavy edged direction. It is a track that never fails to captivate me, as I hear with each listen a new layer and quality that was previously hidden from me. One time you can concentrate on the bass line (which is quite remarkable) and another time on the guitar itself or the keyboards part. And with each listen you can get a somewhat different musical experience.

The second track wastes no time and goes straight forward to the deal with an aggressive opening (as is the rest of the song) accompanied by a harsh vocal line. Still, though this song is what is referred to as having the metal leaning of the band, it is obvious from the rhythm section where the roots of this track lie (jazz rock that is). The bass part is not quite discernable here, but it does a very good job. In the chorus, you can again hear the Canterburian sounding keyboards playing along with the guitars and this should make it clear why the term Canterbury metal was coined. At first I got a bit repelled by this song, but it grew on me slowly and finally I got to appreciate the intricate musicianship performed on it and the continuously changing time signatures. The vocals, while not beautiful, fit this track perfectly, in my ears. They alternate between a harsh grunting semi-narrative voice to a clearer and deep type of vocals.

The third track is sort of an opener for the fourth track and features a blur of sounds (percussions, keyboards) that prepare you for the horror theme presented in the next track.

The fourth track opens with an organ-sounding keyboard playing fast accompanied by heavy riffs of the guitar and frantic drum playing. It sounds like it depicts a monster horror movie or something of that sort. This is a fierce track and has a great atmosphere which is somewhat dark and frightening.

The fifth starts smoothly to let you relax from the tension of the previous one. Human like voices from the keyboards with the bass swirling along create a sort of ethereal atmosphere. The acoustic guitar joins in to speed things up a bit but still remaining in a calm mode relative to the other tracks.

The sixth track continues directly form where its predecessor left and gives way to the electric guitar and the drums to pave the way and the narrative vocals join in. This grows into an epic that puts forth all the bands best qualities and shows their excellent musicianship and their various musical styles. If I were to choose a track from this album to demonstrate to someone their sound, I would choose this one. It contains both their more aggressive side and their mellow sounding side. The keyboards here go through several sounds and enrich the textures created. The vocals alternate between the harsh narrative form and the lighter chanting-like type. The guitar goes from acoustic to electric sound and back. All in all, this encompasses almost their entire repertoire of sounds.

On to the seventh track, we get the once again the horror sounding keyboards, with yet more aggressive rhythm but the keyboards change frequently to the electric piano sound which is in my mind and in the form that they play it more associated with jazz- rock and Canterbury genres and not the with the sort of "metalish" intensity that is portrayed in this track. And this mixture is what I like about them so much. They are not afraid to mingle sounds and alternate between rhythms and they do it while maintaining the integrity of each track and without losing focus. For instance, in the middle of this track, it losses its fierceness to a more laid back jazz rhythm, only to get back to the intensity of the beginning a short while later, without it sounding weird and keeping a thread to attach the whole pack together. Towards the end you get a real treat when the keyboards with an electric piano sound do an improvisation while the guitar fiercely plays heavy riffs to support it.

The next two tracks are somewhat linked together for me. They constitute the "side population" of the album (sorry about this scientific term), meaning they differ a bit in sound and deviate form the general sound. The fifth track can be counted in this group as well. This is mainly manifested by the abstract structure of these tracks. But this again shows how varied this album is (as is the band itself). Experimentalism is one of the guiding rules in their compositions.

The 8th track starts abstractly with the guitar and keyboards improvising independently from each other. And yet this does not sound too weird and fits the rest of the album and makes for a weird brake between the tracks.

The 9th track also starts as detached as its predecessor, but the percussions are the dominant instrument here, and it goes on with them performing a sort of solo until the end of it.

These two tracks create a weird atmosphere that reminds me more of the type of mood that you get while listening to Univers Zero early albums, just not as dark, but as weird.

Track 10th marks the beginning of the "return to normal" with the acoustic guitar and keyboard opening with a soft tune which is then enhanced a bit with subtle guitar riffs and light percussions which then "grow" a bit to a bigger rhythm escort. This is not in line with the general sound which is why I see it as being in the middle between the "main group" and the "side population" tracks.

The last track is the "return to the norm" as heard on the 2nd, 4th and 6th tracks. It too portrays the typical Cerebus sound. This track as opposed to others gives the bass the opportunity to be heard more clearly and be appreciated for its important role in the band's sound.

All in all, this band was a very pleasant surprise for me. I am taken by this band's ability to combine what seems to be contradicting styles of music and fusing them together to create a fresh sound that has me captivated. This album is mostly coherent and keeps the interest of the listener through out its length.

A downside is the fact that the bass is not clearly heard on all tracks and this is a pity as it is a crucial instrument here and adds much to the sound of each track. Despite this, I enjoy this album immensely and I don't hesitate to recommend this to anyone who likes the mingling of several genres, to people who like jazz-rock, metal, and the more adventurous type of bands.

I believe this album will give pleasure to all its listeners and therefore (and for all the reasons mentioned above) deserves a 4 star rating.

Review by hdfisch
4 stars First full-length studio output by Baltimore foursome CEREBUS EFFECT should actually appeal to anyone who is into extremely fast and quirky metal-jazz or avant prog. Vocal parts remind slightly to Indonesian band DISCUS. Best track is certainly the 11+ minutes long "Operation Midnight Climax". 2 of the 11 tracks are improvisations by the group and another 2 (Nos. 5 + 10) are rather mellow ones to provide some recreation within this rather weird trip. Definitely anything else than an easy listening hence one certainly needs a couple of spins to really love it. Anyway patience gets finally a reward and I'd highly recommend to anyone looking for something outstanding and eclectic!

P.S.: By the way drummer Patrick Gaffney is playing as well on excellent latest record by CHAOS CODE hailing from the same town.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars After the excellent CHAOS CODE folded the tent drummer Patrick Gaffney started CEREBUS EFFECT with guitarist Joseph Walker. We also get Mike Galway on bass and Dan Britton on keyboards, vocals and some guitar. Dan has since led bands like BIRDS AND BUILDINGS and DELUGE GRANDEUR. This is an album that really threw me for a loop, especially when it's listed under Jazz / Fusion because this is very adventerous and incorporates many styles. Rio / Avant is what I thought about mostly but definitely Jazz / Fusion and there's some Metalish moments too. This isn't for the faint of heart but more for fans of Avant styled music.

"Y" has such an amazing intro with so much going on then it settles in with synths and drums leading. Incredible sound here. It changes again and again,well you get the picture. Nice bass 3 1/2 minutes in. Some ripping guitar after 5 minutes too. Killer track. "Identity Crisis" opens with distorted guitar and other sounds including fast paced vocals from Dan that are a little bizzare to say the least. The vocals stop 3 minutes in as the guitar takes the lead. Vocals return as we get more insane avant music. "Dark At The End Of The Tunnel" is an improv and it's dark with cymbals, drums, piano and other sounds coming and going. "Illusions" is like getting hit in the face with a board.Yes i'm awake already ! Fat bass a minute in and the guitar lights it up a minute later. "Of Mortal Constraints" is almost heavenly sounding after all that has gone on before. It's like a dream or an out of body experience. "Operation Midnight Climax" opens with piano melodies. This is uptempo as drums, bass and guitar join in. Fast paced spoken words too. The guitar leads for a while then piano as themes are repeated. "Nine Against Ten" is uptempo and out of control. Crazy guitar before 2 minutes then it settles down. It kicks back after 4 1/2 minutes to the end. "Neutrino Flux" is also an improv and man these guys really show there stuff here. Great track. "Fine Lines Between Silence And Art" is experimental sounding early and it's dark. "Unconsoled" opens with acoustic guitar and piano. This is gorgeous. "W" features guitar, drums and piano standing out early. Check out the guitar a minute in. It settles 3 minutes in but not for long.

Like the cover art the music here is strange and at times shocking. Another album to check out for you adventerous music lovers out there.

Review by b_olariu
3 stars Cerebus Effect, this good band with a strange music released a single album so far in 2005 named Acts of deception. Well, I don't really know why I didn't get into this album as other listners. Sometimes the music is to avant for my taste. BTW the music offered is something between avant prog metal but without being a prog metal band with some symphonic touches on opening track Y and aswell with jazz fusion elements added. The first tune Y is great, and the Nine Against Ten is another great one, the rest while are ok I was not very impressed really, as I said to experimental and avant to my ears, and sometimes it sounding like this music has no head or tail, is going nowhere. Anyway some great musicins here like Dan Britton on keyboards, later on we find him on Deluge Grandeur on in Birds and Buildings, drummer Patrick Gaffne coming from Chaos Code another overlooked band in prog circles. The musicinship is great but they don't deliver they just play. 3 stars is best I can give to this album.

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