Eclipsing the Dawn

Do you miss old Kataklysm? Do you miss the mystical hyper-blasting and over the top lyrical, otherworldly vocalizations of Sylvain Houde? Well, Country mates Cephalectomy are for you dear reader.Nova Scotia’s Cephalectomy have released a superb album that re-creates the Northern hyper-blasting of Sorcery; insanely fast brutal death/grind with surprising amounts of intricate, layered melodies and a Lovecraftian concept with multiple characters (all vocalized with unearthly growls, screams and more screams) with some suitably trancelike interludes slithering amid the horrific chaos. This Canadian duo churn out some wicked songwriting, that is full on Kataklysm worship with some Lykathea Aflame-like ambience thrown in, and the end result is that Eclipsing The Dawn is one heck of a mind-altering ride. The album is a little light in the production side of things, but it actually benefits the complex multi-layered sound, rather than drown the intricacies in a wall of down tuned mud. The programmed drums are seamlessly integrated (I actually could not tell they were programmed until I read it elsewhere) into the maelstrom of the continually shifting guitars.

Opening salvo “Of Grievance and Exhumation (The Fallen)” simply blew me away right out of the gate, (the break at 1:33 being particularly breathtaking) and other than dragging slightly due to longer, more epic songs, the album is pretty much a completely satisfying, liquefying album. As per their obvious peers, songs are broken into various chapters and characters dialogue, often with the shift from song to song undetectable without the LED readout in front of you. As “Espousing the Lore of Ancient Mythos” starts without a split second hesitation from the already impressive opener, I’m wandering if I’ve ever heard such mindfully melodic brutality that retains both technical savagery and well rounded harmonies, despite the raucous vocals patterns fighting to relay their characters lines. I’ll admit after the first 2 superb songs, the album levels out somewhat, but still manages to deliver the same mix of grindcore chaos and an almost blackened sense of grim yet epic melody. Fairly often, acoustics or synths break up the swirling vortex of monstrous noise (“Discerning Thee Apocryphal Divinity”, “The Ghosts of Reprisal and Strife”), and that’s where Lykathea Aflame rose as a comparison, with a nightmarish tranquility and grandiosity mixed in with the already ritualistic atmosphere.

The haunting instrumental song “Squalid Eyes of Impending Treachery” shows Cephalectomy’s lack of rigid grindcore schematics, instead allowing themselves to breathe their own air and create a break in the album that fits in with the overall concept as well as allow the listener a breather. Other than those breaks, the album is generally a cyclone of immense power, with very little traditional grindcore grooves or breakdowns. Only “Discerning Thee Apocryphal Divinity” slows down, and I mean slooooooows down to a molten crawl, with perhaps the longest growl in history.

Eclipsing The Dawn certainly creates the Cthulu-ish visage of god-like horror and madness within a musical scope and the short sharp burst of “The Sundering of Eternal Sentience” puts a brutal exclamation point to a deep album with suitable closure. A perfectly balanced, well executed album of conceptual grindcore that’s not afraid to expand boundaries.
[Erik Thomas]

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 24th, 2004


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