An apt title if there ever was one, if CEPHALIC CARNAGE's twisted style of mind fucking grindcore and death metal isn't anomalous in a world of pretenders and imitators, then please restate your definition of the term. It will come as no surprise to anyone that has spent any time at all with "Lucid Interval" that the Colorado boys manage to stay within the death metal/grindcore ballpark, yet hardly feel obligated to remain inside its boundaries. Still, I wasn't as taken with "Lucid Interval" as I have been with "Anomalies", which doesn't necessarily mean that the former is an inferior album, only that the latter hit me right between the eyes (or perhaps more accurately, kicked me right in the nuts). In fact, I now find myself going back to "Lucid Interval" to spend the quality time with it that I passed up the first time around.
I'm all for experimentation and genre stretching, but still like death to be death and grind to be grind. Listening to "Anomalies", I never forget about those genre descriptors, regardless of the band's ADHD-inspired trips down winding side roads and dark alleys. The fact that there are plenty of opportunities to grind your head into the dirt and tickle your technical fancy helps remind one of the band's ability to create the sonic equivalent of involuntary facial reconstruction. Kicking off the album with "Scientific Remote Viewing", "Wraith", "Counting the Days", and the blast-and-breakdown lunacy of "The Will or the Way" makes the point in the most savage of ways. And yet I don't find the southern sludge groove of "Piecemaker" or the moments of melodic singing that somehow escape the frantic spasticore of "Dying will be the Death of Me" to be out of place in the least. The same can be said for the 10-minute album closer, "Ontogeny of Behavior", with its trance-like lava riff flow that's not far from what you might hear on an ISIS or even a PELICAN album, that is when the guerilla attacks recede back into the mix.
All of this insanity is sharpened to a fine point by Dave Otero's superb job of engineering, recording, mixing and mastering, once again creating a masterpiece of sound forged in the fires of Flatline Audio. Dave even contributes guest vocals on "Dying will be the Death of Me". Speaking of which, have I mentioned that Barney Greenway (NAPALM DEATH), John Gallagher (DYING FETUS), Corporate Death (MACABRE), Travis Ryan (CATTLE DECAPITATION), and Brian Hegman (BLACK LAMB) make guest appearances as well? The cast of characters seems about right for a CEPHALIC CARNAGE album, doesn't it?
"Anomalies" is experimental death metal and grindcore that works beyond the wildest of expectations. The more you listen, the harder it becomes to extract yourself from the madness of this record. It's plenty brutal for the grind heads and death maggots, but in the world of CEPHALIC CARNAGE, brutality alone is not enough to satisfy creative hunger.