Cerebral Ballzy - Cerebral Ballzy (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Cerebral Ballzy

Cerebral Ballzy (2011)

Williams Street

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.