Cerebral Fix

Bastards

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Birmingham thrashers Cerebral Fix wasted barely a moment with touring or non-musical distractions between their second and third albums, so perhaps it should have been no surprise that the two of them sounded so damn similar. No joke, while the band had noticeably evolved between the crossover style of 1988's Life Sucks…and Then You Die and the heavier thrashing of 1990's Tower of Spite, the following year's Bastards seemed almost like a new batch of songs taken from the very same recording session. The only minor distinguishing factor was its slightly meatier production, which, in conjunction with the group's increasingly cerebral lyrics (e.g., "Sphereborn," "Middle Third [Mono-Culture]," etc.), often proved reminiscent of Anthrax's Among the Living, but of course Cerebral Fix could only dream of writing songs as stunning. Instead, the quintet appeared to hit the ceiling of its talents with respectable highlights such as "Descent into the Unconsciousness" and the unusually emotional "Ritual Abuse," which benefited from a brief and unexpected piano introduction. But these rubbed shoulders with some pretty forgettable fare, much of it characterized by rather un-thrash-like sluggish tempos -- e.g., "Beyond Jerusalem," "Mammonite," and the somewhat livelier "Return to Infinity." What's more, a highly energized, album-concluding cover tandem of G.B.H.'s "No Survivors" and the Damned's "Smash It Up" (featuring guest vocals from then Wolfsbane and future Iron Maiden singer Blaze Bayley) seemed to suggest that Cerebral Fix weren't having any fun with all this musically intricate, thinking man's thrash. No wonder their albums lacked a certain creative and emotional spark.

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