Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cerebral Bore - Maniacal Miscreation

Crazy gross accident?

I was initially drawn to this for probably the same reason most of you were... a band named after that fucking badass gun from Turok 2 has to be awesome, right?  I mean, that should be a law.  Perhaps it's the friendless child version of myself from grade school that my psyche never fully grew out of, but any videogame reference in a metal band instantly intrigues me.  It's the whole reason I initially checked out Jenovavirus and Crossbreed Gyarados.  If I ever came across a band named Agamo or Valus then you bet your cute little ass that I'll be on that like bees on honey.  And so, from the depths of my own psychoses stemmed my interest of Cerebral Bore, the Scottish brutal death metal band that seems to be garnering all of the attention imaginable.  This is significant because how many straight up brutal death metal bands really get that much coverage outside of their niche market?  Skinless?  Maybe Dying Fetus too if you ignore the hardcore and tech death influences, but that's about it.  What is it that makes Cerebral Bore so goddamn special?

My thought?  It's catchy.  Maniacal Miscreation is a rare example of a very accessible brutal death metal album.  It's not overly slammy to scare away the tech death fans like myself, it's not too slow or stupid to scare away the OSDM fans like myself, and it's not too flashy to scare away the BDM and slam fans like... well like slam fans (fuck slam).  The production is rather clean as well, which helps people relatively new to the style ease into it smoothly.  But if you take all of these things into account, you realize the album really isn't all that organic.  It feels very "manufactured", like all of these choices were made for the reasons I outlined above (attracting as many fans from as many places as possible) and less because this is just what the band loves to do.  What I'm trying to say is that you'll never find them signed to Sevared Records, Earache (the label I blame for ruining Diamond Plate's debut full length) is currently what they call home, and it makes complete sense.  Cerebral Bore is a very marketable band, based both on the clean accessibility of their music and for other reasons I'll get to later.  Therein lies both one of the reasons to their success and one of the reasons I'm pretty lukewarm about them on the whole.  It's just kinda phony feeling on the whole, like the passion is there to an extent but the band could be so much more if they just went off the deep end and dove head first into retarded brutality.  They try to please everybody and end up bland across the board, jack of all trades, ace of none.

One of the key components to what makes Maniacal Miscreation is the appeal towards the younger, asshole internet generation in the silly lyrics.  I'm not the biggest fan of them myself, but it was fun the first time my buddies and I were cranking this and had to ask ourselves if we heard it correctly when it was shouted "She'll seeeeeeeee, his evil pee-peeeeeee". I also find it irresistible to sing along with "Ee pee oppa pee pee / Ee pee oppa BURST HER CUNT IN" at the end of "Entombed in Butchered Bodies".  But what the stupid lyrics accomplish is that it makes the album memorable.  How many times have you heard brutal lyrics about superfluous gore and dismemberment?  Can you recite the lyrics to any given Ingested song?  Probably not.  Hell one of the reasons I became a fan of Skinless in the first place is because the samples from Pink Flamingos stood out to me on Foreshadowing our Demise.  Regardless of whether or not the lyrics work or if they fit with the dirty, brutal music, you're not going to remember a line like "Maggots fester through flesh / Witness of an evil night with a perverse morality to rape and kill" over a line like "I eat chicken when I pump her fud / I love chicken, yum yum nice".  In fact, if you can tell me what song that first line is from without cheating, I won't even give you a prize because I know you'd have to cheat to figure that out.  Therein lies my point, Cerebral Bore push the sick humor to the forefront, and that coupled with their accessibility really makes them visible to a casual fan of the genre.

Apart from the very middling songwriting and "hilarious" lyrics, why has Cerebral Bore become such a popular name from out of left field?  The answer is obvious for basically everybody, but it's no coincidence that their popularity spiked roughly around the time they introduced Simone Pluijmers as their new vocalist in 2010.  Yes, yes, a young attractive woman is behind these deep, bellowing roars and inhuman gurgles.  She was 19 years old when the album was recorded and she doesn't resemble a cave troll, can we just move past this already?  People seem to focus so much on the fact that she doesn't have a Y chromosome that they totally overlook the fact that she is a dead ringer for Mads Haarlov when she isn't squealing.  If you don't know who Mads Haarlov is, then for fuck's sake close this review and go pick up either Five Across the Eyes or Grime.  I like Cerebral Bore well enough but Iniquity is leagues ahead of them, get on that shit, kids.  Digression aside, that's my main point of comparison during the deep growls, but roughly 45% or more of the vocals are inhaled pig squeals, and they frankly get annoying.  I mean, they aren't bad, and they fit the music well enough, but they're better used as a flourish than as a base.  King Diamond is one of the only people who can manage to get away with taking a vocal technique best used sparingly (falsetto in his case) and using it all the fucking time and making it work.  The point is that Som is a good vocalist, and the fact that she's a woman is overhighlighted to the point where it's the defining feature of the band for a lot of people.  I promise you, after this sentence I will lead by example and never highlight the fact that ZOMG SHE'S PRETTY again, throughout any future reference or review of the band.

Put all of these points together and you get a good idea of what Maniacal Miscreation really is.  It's a bunch of popular elements from seemingly random corners of death metal thrown together in an overall successful package.  There are problems with the album, but really I can't deny that it's a fun listen.  There are very memorable songs like "The Bald Cadaver", "Entombed in Butchered Bodies", "Maniacal Miscreation", and "24 Year Party Dungeon", and the runtime is only 32 minutes (maybe it's just me, but I lose interest in this kind of music if it runs for over 35 minutes it seems), so it's a decent romp.  Regardless of whether or not it's for good reasons, the album does stick with you.  It's catchy and accessible and poppy in the most death metal sense of the word.  The music Cerebral Bore writes is not in any way dark and carries almost zero superfluous qualities that makes good music great, but it's a good meat and potatoes base that sits pretty firmly in the middle of the road.  You could do a fuckload worse, that's for sure.

RATING - 74%

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