I am being sent to much new music just now, I don’t know what to do it it. With a full-time job and my children to care for at the weekend, I can barely find time to listen to half of it. My only saving grace is that I work about an hour’s drive from home, so I get my SD card loaded up with new sounds, bung it into the car’s media slot and I get treated to a handful of new albums every day. It’s a good problem to have.
My current strategy is to only review the releases that I really like. I don’t like slagging off bands. I know the amount of skill it takes to play an instrument, let along write and record an album. If I don’t like a release then it’s because it doesn’t connect with me, it’s not that the music itself is bad.
This debut EP from Scotland’s Cerberon is fantastic. They hail from Bonnybridge, near Falkirk. That’s about 65 miles from where I live. The band are clearly gaming fans as at least two of the songs have gaming references and the band name itself seems to have been inspired by Quake II.
“Stroggified” (track 1) references a cyborg alien race known as the Strogg in Quake 4. The song is *&^%ing heavy! It is damn-near perfect: crushing, chugging riffs, growling vocals with just the right timbre and Charlie Rees’s drums provide both the underpinning rhythm but with enough off-beats to create tension and interest. There’s a progressive element to this song as it evolves from a stomping chug through a pared down middle eight to the blast-beat fueled conclusion.
Suddenly, with hardly a breath, “Operation Eisenfaust” (track 2) grinds into life. Another gaming reference, this time to Wolfenstein’s secret Nazi plan to create an army of undead mutant warriors. The song rides on the same riff—but what a riff! With about 45 seconds to go, the song slows to a walking pace before gradually building to a thrashing finish. I’m not entirely convinced that it was the best way to end such a strong song but it works.
I expect that “The monster” (track 3) is also about a game, but I haven’t worked out which. Together the first three songs feel like a suite. They complement one another perfectly. As well as X’s magnificently atmospheric vocals, the stand out performance on this track is Blair Macdonald’s rumbling bass that bounces along beneath the track, emerging occasionally like an exposed vein on a bloodied wound.
The closing track on the EP, “Blood on the mountain” (track 4), takes things in a completely different direction. It is melodic, atmospheric, rocky. It took me a good few listens to really begin to appreciate it for what it is rather than lament that track four wasn’t in the same ballpark as the first three tracks. That said, good song or no, in my opinion it doesn’t really fit.
For a debut and demo EP, I can’t fault it. The production is solid, the playing is sublime, vocals are just right, and the songwriting is mature. This is already a strong contender to make my top-10 albums of 2019 (even if it was released at the end of last year, I didn’t get a copy until this year).
If you like your metal heavy, I urge you to check this out. This is powerful stuff. More please…
Review score: 95%
Imperative PR contacted me inviting me to preview Cereborn’s recently released EP, which I was delighted about. I have no connections to either Imperative PR or Cereborn. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Imperative PR, and to Cereborn for creating some fresh, exciting music here in Scotland.