Thursday, March 27, 2008

Best of 2007 - #12

12. cephalic carnage - 'xenosapien'
[review published on issue #9 of Rock-A-Rolla magazine]
‘Xenosapien’ is a rare beast – a bomb of a record that manages to grab you by the neck instantly, such is its catchiness and extra sense of groove (in comparison with their previous albums, which weren’t exactly groove-less monoliths), but which is not an immediate record at all, as it also keeps revealing itself in hundreds of brilliant little details as you listen to it more and more. And listen to it you will. Previous Cephalic Carnage albums, ‘Lucid Interval’ especially, but also 2005’s ‘Anomalies’, have been extremely impressive but have also left the impression that they were trying to do too much. Not that they’re not capable of it, given the stratospheric technical level of these musicians, but as bassist Nick Schendzielos proclaims in this issue’s feature, sometimes less is more. ‘Xenosapien’ is a perfect example. Encapsulating all the moods found in CC’s music before, be it the grind, the doom, the crazy jazz, you name it, into a simpler-sounding but harder-hitting package, this record shines through where it’s most important to – songs. Remember those? Properly formed, individual songs that burst with vitality and imagination, from the surprisingly spooky mid-pace of ‘G.lobal O.verhaul D.evice’ and its saxophone, to the whirlwind that is ‘Divination & Volition’, to the quasi-black metal intensity of ‘Touched By An Angel’. The highly entertaining conspiracy theory lyrics and unusual artwork are the icing on a cake that has been baked to near perfection. As a triumph of creativity and genre-bending, you’d be hard pressed to find anything better this year so far.

Cephalic Carnage - 'G.lobal O.verhaul D.evice'

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