Spectral Extravagance

First impressions of the debut from Greece’s  Cerebrum, Spectral Extravagance are mixed. Is it brutal death metal? Tech-death? Jazz-prog-death fusion? Something -core? To be honest, after repeat listens, it’s still a bit confusing. According to label Lacerated Enemy Records, Spectral Extravagance is “progressive tech death.” The overall gist comes through, but it seems necessary to tag this thing with genres because of the weird (and not entirely cohesive) amalgam of stuff heard throughout these 11 tracks.

Starting brutally, then veering off into progressive, groovy, and modern (read: deathcore) metal territory, this album is a doozy. And in this case, “doozy” means “conundrum.” Album opener “Fragments of Illusion” kicks off on a good note with some wicked growling, permeating bass thickness, and rapid-fire double kick courtesy of George Kollias from Nile. A pause that leads into some psychotic riffing changes the pace of things, and while they say variety is the spice of life, this variation doesn’t mix very well with what was just happening in the song not 10 seconds before. Things get stranger from there on out. “Pattern of Fear” is confusing, throwing all kinds of crap together vocally and musically that just doesn’t sit well in the gut. “Epiphysis Thrive” is wrong from the get-go, opening with a breakdown that eventually morphs into a Middle Eastern-inspired section (complete with awkward, chant-like vocals) that doesn’t fit.

True, it is written somewhere in the book of heavy metal that technical, progressive metal must be wonky (i.e. Spiral Architect, Psyopus), but Cerebrum don’t quite gel the wonkiness here. Piling brutal vocals and breakdowns onto Watchtower-esque solos and proggy groove just doesn’t seem quite right. And, for the record, chanting vocals have no place on an album like Spectral Extravagance, yet here they appear more than once. The whole album is a strange melting pot of parts that would sound much better on their own. Cerebrum is a talented band, but one that doesn’t seem to have found its footing quite yet. For more experienced examples of technically-minded music, check out Anata, Extol, Aghora and Blotted Science.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jodi Van Walleghem
October 21st, 2009


  1. Commented by: Reignman35

    Yeah I wanted to like this because Kollias is on drums, and that guys is a god… But so far it’s been a hard album to get into. Good review.

  2. Commented by: axiom

    Your review is right on, Jodi. Love the cover art though.

  3. Commented by: harker49

    i disagree…this is the worst review i read about this album..
    Totally out of the subject of the band, this girl didnt quite understood what she heard..the bands you mention madame jodi are totally irrelevant (apart from watchtower)..This band plays like Atheist, Gorguts, Morbid Angel, Pestilence..Give a good listen to this record and after some time you’ll understand it..sit down and read the lyrics also..this record is deep..

    but then maybe these stuff are not for everyone, hehe..
    you better stay with yours anata/extol/psyopus and leave these stuff for other people :)
    girls girls girls (with an opinion..)..what can u say…

  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    yeah I do hear Atheist here too – and the vocal patterns and delivery scream Schuldiner (but deeper and more one-dimensional). still, I gotta side with Jodi on this one – would much rather listen to Anata and (early) Extol than this.

  5. Commented by: tarantulas1156
  6. Commented by: Bloodbath Massacre

    Yeah, bad review..I liked this album alot!
    I found these on the band’s myspace, to whoever’s interested:


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