Cephalic Carnage

Lucid Interval

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Lucid Interval, Cephalic Carnage's third full-length and second for Relapse, shows them further expanding on their already distinctive mutant-grindcore style. Here, the fretboard-scaling jazz-metal riffs that distinguished parts of Exploiting Dysfunction have grown more prominent as well as more complex (often eclipsing the Dillinger Escape Plan in the weirdness category), while the drums keep pace with a flurry of odd-time rhythms and stop-on-a-dime blastbeats. Also worth noting are the increasing forays into other styles this time around, such as the black metal-meets-stoner rock pastiche "Black Metal Sabbath," the throwaway flamenco interlude "Cannibism," and a "hidden" post- rock/metal/jazz fusion instrumental that, despite not totally coming off, is at least interesting. The album's most striking moment comes on the middle section of the title track, which veers in and out of a racing Swedish-style death metal riff, a series of spiraling, squeal-laden guitar riffs, and a patented Cephalic Carnage metal/fusion blastbeat, with the overall tempo accelerating and decelerating throughout. Despite the massive difficulty, it's all performed with jaw-dropping precision and captured by a squeaky-clean digital recording job that allows every nuance to be heard. The only problem is that for all the creativity and flawless musicianship on hand throughout this album, the performances sometimes seem strangely lacking in real feeling or "soul" -- for all of the energy that must have been expended by the band, parts of this album come off as oddly sterile-sounding (which may be partly attributable to the ultra-clean sound quality). The ideas are certainly there, though, giving the overall impression that this band's masterwork is perhaps still yet to come at this point.

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