There has to be something deeply satisfying about independently recording an album of seriously brutal death metal only to have it picked up and rereleased by Earache Records. Cerebral Bore originally**recorded* Maniacal Miscreation* in the summer of 2010 with producer Chris Fielding. After the album was self-released and sold on tour, it caught the attention of the label, who signed the band in December of the same year. It must have seemed like a bit of a dream come true for the Glasgow-based four-piece; Earache’s roster has included many bands who’ve exemplified the possibilities of sonic ferociousness—many of whom were the forefathers of death metal.
So, what led Earache to sign the band? Well, it’s all there in the opening gambit of “Epileptic Strobe Entrapment” and “The Bald Cadaver”. Pummeling blast beats from drummer Allan McDibet, an intense, precise and devastating riff-fest courtesy of guitarist Paul McGuire, some seriously thick and groove-laden bass work (which is fantastically audible) from Kyle Rutherford, and the remarkable vocals of Som Pluijmers.
While those first two songs don’t waste time dealing in subtleties, they do highlight one of Cerebral Bore’s key strengths—they know all about ensuring a song isn’t overwhelmed by technicality. As intense as those opening tracks are, the band still leave room for breakdowns and changes in tempo—an important element lost on a few of the more yawn-inducing tech outfits. You need that pause, especially on albums as unrelenting as this, if only to give you space to reflect on the musicality on offer. And that’s a crucial point, because Cerebral Bore are clearly talented individuals; you’re going to want to take note of that.
“Open Casket Priapism”, “Entombed in Butchered Bodies”, and “Mangled Post–Burial” are up next. As well as continuing the same unremitting aggressiveness, the tracks also reveal a band unafraid to mix things up style-wise, ensuring the songs don’t become one long frazzled blur. There are hints of familiar riffs from older and more recent outfits, but that’s no criticism of the band. They’re a young outfit; it would be peculiar if their work didn’t reflect what the members themselves have been listening to. The fact is that by the time you get to the final three tracks, “Flesh Reflects The Madness”, “Maniacal Miscreation” and “24 Year Party Dungeon” you’re not going to be worrying about any familiarities with other bands because this is an extremely powerful and enthusiastic debut.
Many technically proficient death metal bands get lost on their debuts, focusing on gymnastic fretwork rather than writing an actual tune. But listen to guitarist McGuire for proof of some real artistic restraint. Here is a young guy who has all the creativity and talent required to become a tech-metal guru, but already he has enough sense to contain himself where needed, allowing the songs to run for a bit on the excellent interplaying backline work of McDibet and Rutherford. And of course, the vocal work of Som must be mentioned. It’s always great to see a woman participating in such an extreme genre, and her work on the album is a clear reminder that gender should never be a barrier to one’s artistic endeavors. She growls with the best of them.
Cerebral Bore formed in late 2006—since then they’ve toured internationally with an admirable DIY ethos—and inviting Pluijmers to handle the vocals in 2010 was an astute move. *Maniacal Miscreation *may only be 32 minutes long, but that’s all you need to recognize that this is a band with a great future ahead of them. They’ve already learnt the difference between brutality and battery—laying out the hooks to ensure the album remains fresh in your memory. If you’re a fan of blast beats, breakdowns and crushing technical riffs, then Cerebral Bore might just be the new band you’re looking for. Well done Earache, you’re backing another winner.