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CD review: CEPHALIC CARNAGE, Misled by Certainty

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By Ben ApatoffCD review: CEPHALIC CARNAGE, Misled by Certainty

Fear no more. Denver deathgrinders CEPHALIC CARNAGE still sound brutal on Misled by Certainty, their first album without mainstay guitarist ZAC JOE. The energy, humor, theatrics, genre leaps and spastic playing that made albums like Xenosapien a blast are also present, as are moments that are almost easy-going by CC's standards, although they never sound like self-dilution. So don't be misled by your certainty that they'd lose their distinctiveness with their latest lineup change.

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It's hard to believe that Cephalic Carnage are still trying to find their niche six records into their history, but that's what Misled by Certainty sounds like. The guitars bounce from clean tones to downtuned slow riffage to the occasional Mario-sounding effect. The TOOL-impersonating death metal band that shows up for "Ohrwurm" and the 12-minute centerpiece "Repangea" sound like they shouldn't be on the same tour (much less the same album) as the grindcore act that drops 30-second eardrum-torturers between songs. Lead track "The Incorrigible Flame" is a solid gear shifter that probably earned its music video by being the album's least offensive track, complete with a neat solo and enough slowed measures and mathy showmanship to please everyone. More interesting tracks include the plodding, doom-driven "Cordyceps Humanis," which is fiercer than anything STEPHEN O'MALLEY has come up with, and "Warbots A.M.", which features the kind of abrasive performances and excitable progression changes that drew us all to this band in the first place. Misled by Certainty isn't likely to remembered as Cephalic Carnage's masterpiece, but it's another strong offering from a band that had a lot to prove this time around.

Rating: 3.5 open head wounds out of 5

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