Cerebrum - Spectrum Extravagance
Lacerated Enemy Records
Technical Death Metal
11 songs (42:45)
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by Goat

It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed any of the crazy widdly subgenre that is Tech Death, so what better way to kick my reviewerly musings off this week than with a look at a band that plays Technical Death Metal? Greek barnstormers Cerebrum have only been around since 2004, but debut full-length Spectrum Extravagance suggests that there’s a great deal of brilliance to come from the Athens-based trio, not least since they’re so good that Nile sticksman extraordinaire George Kollias was compelled to add his awesome skills to the mix. The result is a technical but undeniably heavy piledriver of an album, skilful without being masturbatory and melodic without losing any brutality – those bored with the ‘core-suffixes will be pleased to hear that this is more (later) Pestilence than Protest The Hero. I’d go so far as to say that the Dutch legend’s disappointing comeback of earlier this year should have sounded like this – less moshpit-pleasing groove and more genuine out-there experimentation hidden under a wall-of-noise heaviness which gets strangely catchier the more you listen.

Spectrum Extravagance is all highly complex stuff that just flies past if you’re not concentrating – I had to restart several tracks just to be able to describe them adequately. Opener Fragments Of Illusion alone would take paragraphs to describe completely, switching wildly between time signatures and riffs with an essential central logic driving the music onwards. Little bursts of Jazziness and melodic solos are enclosed perfectly within the spiky Death Metal framework, Apollon Z’s harsh growls not at all spoiling the wonderful instrumentation – the balance is perfect. The artwork sums it up well – a 21st century version of Darkthrone’s Soulside Journey, without the pre-Black Metal gnarliness and with a rather good taste in clean vocals. Yes, that’s this album’s secret, the clean vocals that pop up here and there, but rather than being some godawful poppy melodeath nonsense Cerebrum prove their masterly touch with rather plaintive and odd Prog Metal melodies, fitting in wonderfully with the clear Cynic and Atheist influence that pops up here and there. First appearing on Pattern Of Fear, they’re a pleasant surprise wherever they pop up.

Otherwise, the pummelling riffage of the likes of Scatter-Brain will appeal to any Metalhead with a taste for brutality, whilst there’s a shimmering, Bolt Thrower-esque grandeur to the spiralling Intolerable Ado, living up to its title with style before turning proggily melodic. It may all seem to turn slightly dull towards the end if you're easily bored, but the fact that Cerebrum have kept your attention for as long as they have is worthy of praise. If there’s a real criticism that can be made, it’s that this is too much of a fence-straddler - techheads will be annoyed due to the lack of widdlyisms, whilst 'normal' Death Metallers may be nonplussed at the out-thereness of the music. Still, as far as balances go, Cerebrum have struck a great one, and if Spectrum Extravagance is anything to go by they have even better albums to come. Well worth hunting down.

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Killing Songs :
Fragments Of Illusion, Intolerable Ado, Salvia Divinorum
Goat quoted 83 / 100
Other albums by Cerebrum that we have reviewed:
Cerebrum - Cosmic Enigma reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
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