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“Xenosapien”

Cephalic Carnage

Relapse Records

4 stars

Cephalic Carnage again advances its singular brand of hemp-induced smoke and mirrors with their latest mind-altering experience, “Xenosapien.”

These Denver progenitors of grind are still on a more straightforward track that started with 2005's “Anomalies.” “Xenosapien” is a riff-heavy massacre that mostly eschews the astral plains of previous works for simple brutal insanity, minus any distracting weirdness. It’s still music that takes many turns, though, muscled and finessed by guitars and drums that both pummel the head and puree the mind.

Cephalic Carnage essentially alternates between utter fury and extreme methodology. The guitars on “Divination & Volition” sound like a cassette being eaten by the tape deck. New bassist Nick Schendzielos exhibits a little funk fusion at the end of “The Omega Point,” while drummer John Merryman continues to play with seemingly impossible technique. One listen to the rolling quakes that open “Megacosm of the Aquaphobics” is all the proof you need.

With Lenzig’s gravel-voice patina and speaker-slaying blasts to the senses throughout, “Xenosapien” shows Cephalic Carnage is still a master of its cosmic, pile-driving domain.

 

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