Cephalic Carnage
Misled By Certainty

There was a time up until about 2005’s Anomalies that Cephalic Carnage were a no questions, blind buy for every release. Challenging, heavy, creative, humorous and of course driven by weed, the band seemed to be on the very cusp of exploding out of their pot fueled basement and into mega stardom. But with Anomalies and 2007’s Xenosapien, the band―plagued by line-up instability―seemed to drop some of their quirk and experimentation in favor of a more direct standard grindcore/brutal death metal, making the band an instant target for fans and critics.

Frankly, Cephalic Carnage don’t excite me like they used to. Maybe it’s the fact other bands―and extreme music as a whole―have developed and mixed genres, making Cephalic less dynamic. Maybe I’m just exposed to too much metal that lessens the impact of a fairly standard modern brutal/grinding album nowadays. Either way, as much as I want to gush over Misled By Certainty ― I can’t . Sure the band dips into doom, grind, death metal and a few jazzy experimental bits here and there, but I simply can’t get into any of it anymore. Even the album title exudes a ho-hum, standard death metal aura.

Quite simply Cephalic are virtually indistinguishable from countless other bands today. Where they once pushed the envelope for unpredictability and completely off kilter structures, that envelope has since been shredded; simply throwing in a ambient segment, keyboard break, jazzy bass twang, quirky bridge or clean vocal into lurching, brutal death metal/grindcore isn’t going to stand out like it did in 2002.

Not that remaining core of Cephalic isn’t talented or their output a waste, it’s not. Misled by Certainty will no doubt please die hard, red eyed fans amused by spoken/clean words in songs (“When I Arrive”), tumultuous blast beats, short, squirming bursts of grind (“Pure Horses”, “PGAD”, “Power and Force”, “Kind and the Thief” “Aeyeucgh!”), deep growls and the occasional experimental (“Ohrwurm”) or doomy tangent (including a 12-minute song “Repangaea”). It’s all heavy as hell and Lenzig Leal still has a commanding presence (though he’s joined by a host of guest including Ross Dolan, Sherwood Webber and Travis Ryan ― which smells a bit desperate to me). But it simply doesn’t stand out in this day and age. Throwing a saxophone in a grindcore song isn’t as unique nor challenging as it once was.

Granted, the aforementioned “Repangaea”, “Cordyceps Humanisand”, and “Dimensional Modulation Transmography” seem to find Cephalic slumping into a more a bit with a languid /chaotic mixed cacophony from the bands past, though some will scoff at the extended stoner metal gait and variety of vocals. However, just for example the album’s first three cuts (“The Incorrigible Flame”, “Warbots A.M” and “Abraxas of Filth”) don’t stand out from any of the brutal/tech death I’ve heard in 2010 and that’s something you would never have said about the band’s first three albums.

Maybe this will grow on me, maybe I’ll start to do drugs and ‘get it’, I don’t know. But as it stands right now, Misled By Certainty will simply be buried in with countless other 2010-releases that I’ll enjoy as a cursory listen, but certainly it won’t be as revered as the band’s early groundbreaking albums.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
September 21st, 2010


  1. Commented by: faust666

    Finally, an HONEST opinion and review about this somewhat overhyped band (and album). The new album is good but I can think of atleast 5 other tech-death-grind-weirdness albums that’ve blown me away this year.

  2. Commented by: Mark

    agreed this album is good, but not great. I’ve always been kinda parcial to their doom influenced songs

  3. Commented by: elguerosinfe

    Maybe I’m just partial to them but I love this record. Its nothing earth-shattering, but it just “stuck” in that way that few releases do these days.

  4. Commented by: Dan

    Right on Erik. The first I heard from them was Xenosapien, and to be honest I did not understand the hype surrounding their “weird/spastic” take on the genre. It sounded to me like standard weedly tech death. Having checked out their earlier work, I can safely say that they were at one point worthy of the tag, but the recent songs I’ve heard do nothing for me. I will say, however, that they were fucking awesome live when I saw them at Summer Slaughter this year.

  5. Commented by: Jobby

    Spot on. Love your work.

  6. Commented by: Tyler

    Good review, but in all honesty, this is my album of the year so far. I would argue that it DOES push the envelope while having brutal, chaotic, and memorable songs.

  7. Commented by: ShaolinLambKiller

    I had such high hopes cause xeno was decent. much better than Anomalies(garbage), but nothing close to the greatness of anything before it. I think there was one riff that was kinda harkened back to those good times but then the rest of the song fell flat. I’d probably get this if I find it used for cheap other than that, meh.

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