Cerebrum - Cosmic Enigma
Amputated Vein Records
Technical Death Metal
12 songs (40:15)
Release year: 2013
Amputated Vein Records
Reviewed by Goat

After a very promising debut in 2009, Greek death metallers Cerebrum are back, and second full-length Cosmic Enigma builds on that promise to provide an excellent slice of death. The presence of Nile sticksman George Kollias is still a draw, yet having been in existence since 2002 and having Dead Congregation’s George Skullkos on bass gives Cerebrum a potent talent base to draw on – one that makes you regret the band’s slow release rate. Yet Cosmic Enigma is here at last, and it’s an excellent album. With Nile’s heaviness and the structured air of one of the 90s prog death metal classic bands, Cosmic Enigma is a skilfully brutal force, keeping a careful balance between heaviness and technicality. Early Pestilence is a good touchstone, although Cerebrum are much heavier; make no mistake, this is no lightweight jazz platter, but a meaty death metal dish. Think Gorguts’ primal yet brainy racket, too, for a marriage of sheer sonic outlay and intelligence is a rare prize these days. Subconscious Extraction alone is worth the purchase price, a heavy battering in near-constant motion, from one careening riff into another, into a cascading solo and back again. The band is skilful at keeping you just at the tip of your toes, in danger of losing your place in the maelstrom but never quite doing so…

Part of this is due to clever songwriting, but the two interludes aid – as disorientating as the initial Deicide-on-speed crushing of Oblivious Eons is, it helps that you’re given a breather just before. The production, anything but glossy, helps to anchor this deep in the underground rather than allow it to float upwards, and there are short moments where the band seem to be revelling in the deep, dark bleakness, like all good death metal should. Vocalist (and guitarist) Jim Touras has the sort of deep growl that sounds strangely organic and human in comparison with more digitalised vocalists, adding weight to the band’s already very heavy sound. Ultimately you have to credit the band’s songwriting skills, however, which allow for a remarkable deal of variation when attention is paid. The thrashing gallop of Phobos Manipulation piles riff upon riff, for example, throwing in a jazzy break and a slower, almost doom section, yet the following Self-Regenerate goes in a groovier direction, just as riff-focused yet in an entirely different way. Wherever you look, Cosmic Enigma is brimming with quality; a fine follow-up effort from Cerebrum.

Killing Songs :
Subconscious Extraction, Phobos Manipulation, Enter the Void
Goat quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Cerebrum that we have reviewed:
Cerebrum - Spectrum Extravagance reviewed by Goat and quoted 83 / 100
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