Cephalic Carnage - Lucid Interval (Cover Artwork)

Cephalic Carnage

Lucid Interval (2002)


I can't speak for other scenes, but around my city it seems like metal-core kids are getting more and more intersted in straight-up metal. I went to a Dimmu Borgir show earlier this year and I saw almost as many black do-rags and zippered hoodies as I did long hair and high tops. I don't know if its just a passing trend or whatever, but a lot of the people around the Northwest scene are turning into full on metalheads.

I was introduced to this CD at a party a few weeks ago by a friend of mine who has been getting really into metal within the past year. To say the least, I was blown away from the very first riff of the first song on the album.

Cephalic Carnage has none of the makeup, keyboards, or that leather & spike foo-foo that some of the more popular extreme bands rely on to convey their intensity. Instead, this band focuses on straight up musicianship highlighted with a vocalist who sounds like he's on work release straight from the bowels of hell. This guy has some crazy range, shifting from mid range hardcore shouts to low bear growls (think Cookie Monster) throughout the CD. At some points it gets so low it sounds almost like he is gargling maple syrup - it's insane.

The drumming mixes jazzy odd-time signatures with straight up blast beats similar to something you might hear from the Dillinger Escape Plan. The unpredictability of the rhythm adds to the songs' intensity and makes every time you listen to it almost a learning experience of sorts. The band may not approve the term, but it is "math-rock" in its most caustic state.

It sounds like the guitars and bass are tuned all the way down to C, almost to the point where the strings are so loose they will just flap around on the fretboard. The guitar work reminds of the interplay you might hear in an improv jazz band but with careful calculation that lets you know they have their shit planned out note-for-note. At points it seems like the guitarists even hold back on technicality in favor of letting the drums and vocals come through, which helps the music from becoming one big distorted mess.

"Lucid Interval" is a CD that will appeal to both metalheads and fans of hardcore math rock like Dillinger or Botch. Cephalic Carnage is taking metal and hardcore to a new level that is really making me interested in extreme music again.