Cephalic Carnage – Exploiting Dysfunction

‘Exploiting Dysfunction’ is probably the apex of Cephalic Carnage’s career, though that’s not saying much.  It’s a natural improvement over the spazzy, pseudo-joke sound of their debut, ‘Conforming To Abnormality’, and the band actually cares enough to make songs on this album, which immediately makes it an improvement from the first.  The songs aren’t amazing, but they’re interesting and exciting enough to make this a recommended listen for your typical death/grind fan.

The wackiness isn’t QUITE as prominent on this album as it was the last; the band is capable of making more coherent compositions that aren’t just excruciatingly stop and go technical exercises (not that those are bad things).  There are more real riffs with fairly memorable melodies on this, along with a number of strangely timed, Meshuggahish chug sections.  The changes in tempo and rhythm aren’t as severe and abrupt as they were on the first album, though this is still fundamentally technical and punishing death/grind.  The tiny joke songs still exist but even those seem to have more going on as far as actual songwriting goes, and the varied elements don’t seem as randomly incorporated as on ‘Conforming To Abnormality’.  They’re still throwing everything in but now leaving the kitchen sink thankfully intact.

Fundamentally the core of the music remains the same: frantic blasting, very fast riffing, various vocal styles.  Midpaced sections do attain more prominence and the sections of groove are longer than five seconds, but it’s still music in the mid-era Cryptopsy school.  Whether that particular school of songwriting appeals to you will essentially determine your enjoyment of the album.  It’s in sort of a no-man’s land really; it’s not wacky enough for Mr. Bungle fans but it’s not normal enough for the average death metal fan, so everyone just gets pissed off when listening to it leaving only people like me relatively happy.

Much like ‘Conforming To Abnormality’, this is only a great album in terms of the band’s later output, which is absolutely awful on every level.  I consider this the tombstone to a relatively good band in the spazz tech death style; everything after is mind-bogglingly repugnant and can’t even remotely be recommended.  This is probably the band’s best work, though, and I encourage you to give it a listen if ‘Anomolies’ annoys you as much as me.

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~ by noktorn on September 12, 2008.

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