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Cerebral Ballzy - Cerebral Ballzy (Cover Artwork)

Cerebral Ballzy

Cerebral Ballzy: Cerebral BallzyCerebral Ballzy (2011)
Williams Street

Reviewer Rating: 1.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: conblakeconblake
(others by this writer | submit your own)

I don't feel anything for this band. Now here's the thing about me and punk rock music (this applies to a lot of music, though): When I'm listening to a song I love, I headbang, I pogo, I air guitar, I spazz out. I have a very primal, emotional reaction to punk rock because it's so damn powerful. .
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I don't feel anything for this band. Now here's the thing about me and punk rock music (this applies to a lot of music, though): When I'm listening to a song I love, I headbang, I pogo, I air guitar, I spazz out. I have a very primal, emotional reaction to punk rock because it's so damn powerful.

Cerebrall Ballzy has the exact opposite effect on me. It speaks, but says nothing. It's a sloppy, well-played hardcore punk album that is influenced by early Black Flag and Bad Brains, but it just seems completely meaningless to me. I don't know why, exactly. The production is a bit sterile; the lead singer has a goofy, energetic voice, though, and they certainly play competently.

But where is the feeling? They sound like they mean it, singing about drugs, pizza, bodily functions and skater life, but it doesn't sound passionate to me at all. How can they play hardcore punk without sounding like it's a matter of life and death? Hardcore punk, to me, is based on rage, on blood, on desperation (get used to it), on a song pouring out because it's the only way to get it out. Modern-day band Black America is pretty spastic and funny, but still have an intensity and need.

This is hardcore for hipsters, an assortment of assholes who treat music like a toy, a plaything, not a matter of life or death. Music is a part of life, not something that's just "cool." I don't like Off with Their Heads, but at least the band and their fans love their music and make it a huge part of themselves. That band is their lives. I can't say the same for Cerebral Ballzy, who play hardcore punk with skill, but little thrill or love or urgency or anything essential, really. This isn't a real rock 'n' roll band–it's a collectible, batteries not included.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
aaronrkc (December 26, 2011)

My friend wouldn’t believe this album came out in 2011 when I had him listen to it. He was convinced it was real 80s hardcore. Love this album.

teaessare (September 23, 2011)

Being from NY, I'd like to think I have a firm grasp on the scene and know most of the punk bands worth knowing. Sure, I can't say that I know EVERY single band that there is to know, but I'm confident that I'd know a local band if they were rising through the ranks, such as Cerebral Ballzy. I first heard of these guys because they played SXSW, NOT because they're a larger band from my area. Barely any for my friends have ever even heard of them (except through Adult Swim). Now, this band is receiving attention from all over, and I am YET to even hear of any punk show they've played in the New York Metropolitan area. These dudes are hipster/poseurs who one day said to themselves "wouldn't it be crazy if we just made a punk band? I'm sure we could get famous doing that, cause we don't know of any other punk bands right now."

This review is perfect because these are dudes who are in no way a part of the music they play, even if they happen to play it well.

joeg (September 17, 2011)

wow this review hits the nail on the head.

rodeo (July 29, 2011)

This album was fucking awesome.

RobGoesToCollege (July 28, 2011)

I don't know or care about any of this hipster BS, I like the music they make and I think there should be more proper hardcore punk sounding bands out there (I know about trash talk, early fucked up etc. but that's not that much)

eatdogs (July 27, 2011)

"Only a hipster knows the secret abbreviation for Pitchfork..."

MST3K

i'm a nerdy hipster...

sketchyjoe (July 26, 2011)

Discussion with my friend on this band:

TommyIsABrat: cerebral ballzy come off as genuine morons
sketchiestjoe: does that make them better or worse?
TommyIsABrat: i dunno

loki13 (July 26, 2011)

Only a hipster knows the secret abbreviation for Pitchfork.

Chaos_is_Goose (July 26, 2011)

I would have given the album 2.5 stars for the record.

Michael_Jackson_Jordan (July 26, 2011)

Moneen, I wasn't really pissing on them if that's what you think. I actually gave Cerebral Ballzy a highly favorite write-up for a review I wrote on them on another website. I agree this review here addresses their character more so than the songs, which is why I responded with a comment regarding just that trying to make sense of what's turning out to be a rekindling of interest by the so-called trendsetter blogs and music sites in pure hardcore and pure punk rock. They did the same thing a few years back with metal by putting Mastodon, Isis, Converge and Pelican up on a pedestal. It doesn't surprise me that the "punks" are getting their tight black jean cutoff shorts all tied up in a knot over this because once the "hipsters" start marking your territory as theirs, you can expect a lot more naive fans attending the shows, etc.

Back to the album, it's only about 20 minutes long of straight forward 80s hardcore. To me, that's far better than an hours worth of crap that has been passed up as "hardcore" over the recent years.

moneenerd (July 26, 2011)

Just take a look at the band name. This reviewer had some really high expectations for a band with a name like that.

moneenerd (July 26, 2011)

And here we all are pissing on a punk band for their image or lack there of and what "artsy" websites think of them. Now that's TRUE punk.

This was not so much an album review as it was a character review. I listened to the stream of this record on this site having heard nothing about them whatsoever and I really enjoyed it, not because I'm an "artsy tool", but because it's damn good hardcore. Don't get your wallet chain in a knot.

Michael_Jackson_Jordan (July 26, 2011)

eatdogs, that makes me wonder how long it's going to take Pitchfork to start covering Ceremony now that they're on Matador.

eatdogs (July 26, 2011)

bands i would not expect to be reviewed/mentioned on pitchfork:

converge
trash talk
fucked up
cerebral ballzy
off!
alcest
wolves in the throne room
krallice

and

liturgy...

ZachLeg (July 26, 2011)

this band rocks and rolls

Michael_Jackson_Jordan (July 26, 2011)

I got directed to this band by seeing the likes of Keith Morris, Trash Talk and Ceremony plug them or play with them. I like all those bands so I figured I'd like Cerebral Ballzy (which I do) but I also understand where everyone else is coming from, and would like to offer up my two cents if I may.

I think there is a lot of truth to this so-called "hipster hardcore" trend. In a recent Cerebral Ballzy blog pic post, I was not surprised to see that Ryan Schreiber from Pitchfork was the first to "Like" it. What I think is happening is a direct response to the past few years of "indie" music trends. The Pitchfork crowd has always been head deep in sappy, delicate music like Bon Iver, The National and Sufjan Stevens but now that a mass mainstream audience has also discovered these once-relatively unknown acts, this crowd needs to pull a 180 in order to stay "hip" and not be like everyone else, so they're resorting to aggressive punk and hardcore (which they probably grew up on, but abandoned when they went to college and wanted to appear "mature" and "worldly" in the eyes of their "hipster" peers.) It wouldn't surprise me if post-hardcore followed this trend closeby with reviews of Touche Amore beginning to appear on P4k.

As for this album, I like it. It's not groundbreaking or anything (it's kind of like hearing a bunch of kids do their best Black Flag or Bad Brains imitations) but it doesn't offend me either. The lyrics are vapid and juvenile, but then again so was a lot of the stuff on Damaged. I guess Cerebral Ballzy is kind of like the hardcore version of Wavves, in that they'll definitely be criticized a lot and polarizing due to what genre they're trying to market themselves as.

Chaos_is_Goose (July 26, 2011)

The singer comes off as a huge douchebag in their interviews. Seems like a band who plays throwback hardcore just for the image.

hobbzoid (July 26, 2011)

great review. My thoughts on this band to the T.

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