Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New Cephalotripsy track/Review of Uterovaginal Insertion of Extirpated Anomalies



I don't know about this, man. I just don't know. I'm probably the biggest Cephalotripsy fan in the known universe, but this new track is sending some really mixed signals. Cephalotripsy's appeal has always been their obsessive, single-minded obedience to the most primitive concepts of slam death, but this new track is moving in a direction more substantially in line with the rest of the slam scene, if not brutal death metal as a whole. It's still recognizably Cephalotripsy, but the concessions they seem to have made to more "normal" death metal are designed to appeal to everyone else, not to me.

It's not bad, and coming from any other band I'd probably dig it a whole lot. Admittedly the production has massively improved, and Angel's vocals seem to have as well, if simply due to better recording quality. But there's not enough straight slam-to-slam structuring, and the preponderance of blasts and uptempo sections seems like a compromise on the part of the band's natural style. While the Dying Fetus-style groove at 1:00 is pretty fantastic, it still belongs on a Vomit Remnants release more than a Cephalotripsy one. The guitar tone I'm also not too sure about- it's not as nasty and dirty as their earlier stuff, and overall, the song just resembles too much of the rest of brutal death for me to be entirely comfortable with it. I'll reserve judgment until I hear more, but I'm concerned.

Below I've decided to reprint my review for the band's 2007 full-length. Enjoy.

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Perhaps the only proper way to review this album is drunk beyond all recognition, so I consider this the proper night to describe my feelings on it. In fact, after a few good shots of (terrible) brandy after an already long night of drinking, let me put it on right now to see if it hits the spot like it does any other night.

Yes, it does, even moreso than usual (were that possible).

Now this is understandably a naturally divisive album. Not simply because it's a slam death release; I mean, that being divisive enough comes with the territory, even among typically bro-like and unified brutal death fans. Cephalotripsy is somewhat divisive, however, even within slam itself. If I might make a dangerous comparison, Cephalotripsy is essentially to slam what Emmure is to deathcore: taking a subgenre known for taking its parent style to its logical extreme to ITS logical extreme, thereby driving away all but those completely infatuated with the most barbaric and ignorant elements of a genre. Only half-jokingly dubbed as 'funeral slam' by a friend of mine, Cephalotripsy is, in essence, what happens when you divorce a slam death band from any of its traditional death or brutal death leanings. This is actually a slam album defined by its non-slam portions rather than its slams because they are so unbelievably few in number. The points where this rises to blast speed can probably be counted on both hands without trouble.

I'm sure this has already driven numerous people away. Have at it, we don't need any more crybaby opinions from those who need thrash riffs everywhere to feel secure.

I tend to have a very high opinion of such pitilessly base and hateful music as this, but even then I must say this album stands head and shoulders above the rest in terms of execution. As I've said for other albums respective stylistic descriptions, when someone thinks of the term 'slam death', this is probably the imaginary music that plays alongside such a description; it's just mildly surprising, much like Rigor Sardonicus, that someone has actually put such unbelievable music to disc. Cephalotripsy's music resides in double-digit tempos almost exclusively; the occasional blast or double-handed snare roll will pop up, but for the most part this band glides from slam to slam like some syncopated vampire bent on draining you of your will to avoid slow, mildly sensuous headbanging. The band's ability to continuously come up with new, novel rhythmic and melodic patterns for a segment so heavily used as the slam breakdown is commendable on its own, but the fact that the band manages to pace its slams so well and incorporate them not just into the body of the music but as the body of the music itself is what makes them remarkable. At no point does Cephalotripsy feel like they resort to the slam pattern as a simple lack of creativity, but simply because it's what they enjoy most.

Vocals are primitive, inhaled gurgles and pig squeals, the drum sound is almost offensively trashy, with heavily triggered bass drums and Fisher Price cymbals, and the riffs are hardly the height of creativity; it is, in essence, the sort of basement album you would expect from people far too infatuated with Devourment to be worth your time. And yet, here it is, almost demanding that you try to impose a sort of stylistic imperialism on it. 'Uterovaginal Insertion Of Extirpated Anomalies' doesn't reject stereotypes or labels; it wholeheartedly embraces them as sees nothing wrong with slam, and indulges in the most overused tropes of the style from snare strike to popping snare strike without a hint of self-consciousness. It is hideously overindulgent, excessive, and corpulent in every way: in short, it's exactly the sort of flagship that slam death requires.

This isn't to say that the worth of this album is purely symbolic: it's one of the best slam albums ever released. The thunderous grooves of the title track are instantly memorable, as are the sinister slam patterns of opener 'Excavation Of Encystation'. But it must be said that, like Emmure is deathcore for deathcore fans, this album is slam for slam fans, with absolutely no concessions made for people who only enjoy the album with wringing hands and various qualifiers. The almost complete lack of tremolo riffing and 'normal' death metal tropes is bizarre to some and offensive to others, but then again, 'Uterovaginal Insertion Of Extirpated Anomalies' was never branded as an album to redeem the style or somehow propel it into mainstream acceptability; it dives headfirst into the most odious elements of the genre without a care.

What metal really needs is albums like this: not necessarily in genre (though more slam is always appreciated), but in releases that absolutely bend to no one's concern or opinion on how something 'should' sound. It is wholly its own beast, and for better or for worse, is an example of what extreme music should be: uncooperative, bestial, and intelligent in its ignorance.

2 comments:

  1. I'm not big into slam at all, but I do quit enjoy Cephalotripsy's album for whatever reason; a lot of slam bands seem to put in riffs for the sake of having them, when they would be much better off writing a bunch of stupid catchy slams.

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  2. Wheatpasting Cephalotripsy's Uterovaginal Insertion Of Extirpated Anomalies cover to the outside of a pro-life pregnancy crisis center would be a great way for pro-choice organizers to one-up all the aborted fetus displays.

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