The name "Cerebral Bore" seems like a phrase one might use to describe a neo-progressive rock band, but nothing could be less accurate when it comes to this Scottish/Dutch death metal band. The band comes roaring out of the gate with an eight-song, 32-minute debut (originally issued on the tiny GrindScene label in 2010, then picked up by Earache for world-wide exposure) that combines death metal brutality with a surprising dose of melody and technical skill. Drummer Allan MacDonald is easily the band's MVP, throwing in creative fills and small sounds throughout the songs, but bassist Kyle Rutherford does much more than make a rumbling noise at the bottom of the mix; he's given space in the mix to make a statement of his own, and when the band drops away and he tosses in a second or two of funk-style slapping, it doesn't detract from the overall fury, it actually serves to build suspense before the music comes roaring back in. Guitarist Paul McGuire does a superb job of writing riffs that keep a listener focused and pleasantly surprised, rather than just grinding away and squealing at the end of each line (though there's some of that). And finally, vocalist Simone Pluijmers, of the Netherlands, must be singled out. Nineteen at the time of recording, she first rose to underground prominence through self-published YouTube videos of herself performing extreme vocal techniques in her bedroom. The band, having already been through several vocalists, reached out to her and the rest is death metal history. Her vocal control and range are astonishing; she can go from the most guttural, gurgling growls to high-pitched squeals without losing enunciation, and when her voice is doubled (high and low at the same time) it's an astonishing effect. Extreme metal has seen a few female vocalists do great work; Rachel van Mastrigt-Heyzer of Sinister and Arch Enemy's Angela Gossow are the two best-known examples. Simone Pluijmers seems destined to join their ranks sooner rather than later, if her bandmates keep writing songs of this quality.
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AllMusic Review by Phil Freeman