Cephalic Carnage - Anomalies - Relapse Records 2005
Toking Time: 45:45
Well, the nearly three-year wait between 2002's sonically sprawling Lucid Interval just goes to show the effect of too much (or not enough) THC content in the bloodstream of these Colorado death/grind/doom/metal mainstays. Anomalies is only the band's fourth full-length release in a history now passing the decade mark, but where the quanitity has lacked, the quality of Cephalic Carnage's output has been comparable to that last batch of reeeeally good weed you got ahold of. You know, the kind where your eyes fog over just from opening the bag and you start racking your brain to think of ways to avoid work for the next four days and still keep your job? Yeah...that kind.
After the seconds-long 'Scientific Remote Viewing', Cephalic Carnage unleash the hash-black grind of 'Wraith', and simultaneously provide a lesson in how to keep your sense of a song's headbangability while inverting chord structures and twisting rhythm patterns with the skill of fusion jazz musicians. Something for everyone can be found in the music of Anomalies, and to their credit, Cephalic Carnage doesn't make you look for it. There's the grinding deathroll of 'Counting The Days', and the lurching Bongzilla-styled groove of 'Counting The Days', and then the John Tardy-ish rumble of vocalist Lenzig in...'Counting The Days'. You get my point? Thought so. 'The Will Or The Way' hurtles from the gates, and only slows down long enough to pulverize your cranium on it's way past. The chorus of this song is roughly the equivalent of being smacked in the face with a LSD-drenched battering ram. And while I'm at it, I should warn you in advance. Do Not Turn Up Your Stereo At The Beginning Of 'Piecemaker'. There wasn't anything wrong with my speakers when the intro seemed mixed way low and farther back. There damn sure may be something wrong with them now, though, because 'Piecemaker' doesn't stay in the background for long, the beginning riff crushing like Pig Destroyer on a mouthful of downers, and only dragging slower and more menacingly as the song continues. I can see all those tech-core Willowtip fuckers like Crowpath getting out their slide rules now, and comtemplating the theorum behind 'Enviovore', but being left behind like so much resin in the end. Still, worry not death metal fans, 'Dying Will Be The Death Of Me' is here to save your senses. Easily the most straightforward death-influenced song on Anomalies, 'Dying...' marries the ferocity of Morbid Angel to the early Voivod-like sense of a band fucking with what's expected in a genre just to see if it can be done. In this case, it can. Rapid-fire leadwork slices a place to fit wherever it can in 'Inside Is Out', only to slam at full throttle into the wall of doom that is 'Sleeprace', which joins sporadic vocals that could almost be termed semi-clean were it not for the sense that no one in Cephalic Carnage has been anything near approaching clean in years. Witness Exhibit A, in the form of pro-legalization anthem 'Kill For Weed', voicing an opinion shared by anyone with half a brain left after the assault on our senses by everyone from the local police to that fucker in the White House. 'Litany Of Failure' continues this idea, launching it's own shock and awe campaign musically, lead runs strafing the streets as carpet-bomb riffs lay buildings to rubble. A Cephalic Carnage album would not be complete without the band giving us time to reload our pipes and just enjoy the buzz we've just caught, and Anomalies is no exception, ending with the Delphian 'Ontogony Of Behaviour', which deals lyrically with Nature's revenge on mankind for it's millennia of abuse.
In Anomalies, Cephalic Carnage has created an album that is ominous, brutal, and primed to destroy.