Label: Transcending Obscurity
Release date: 21 December 2018
Format reviewed: Digital Promo
Technical death metal is one of those subgenres I just can’t seem to get enough of. With a steady stream of new bands emerging from the underground, I was excited to see the deadly Greek quartet CEREBRUM announce a follow up to their massive sophomore release “COSMIC ENIGMA”, which featured none other than one of the genres early pioneers, George Kollias of NILE on drums. “IRIDIUM” comes five years since the bands last release, and while the lineup has changed slightly, the absence of Kollias is barely missed. “IRIDIUM” delivers a visceral and complex ride that effectively poises the band to cement themselves as serious players in the tech death field.
“Time Reversal” starts things off with a punishing barrage of drums behind a groovy and melody-heavy guitar section. Things start to mutate quickly however, offering up a mix of old school influenced riffs, brutal shreddage, and the technically dialed solo work we’ve come to expect from CEREBRUM. Things start to get interesting with “Face Unknown”, gifting a wonderfully placed Spanish guitar breakdown amongst the insanity, which couldn’t help but put a smile on my head banging face. “Memory Hoax” cranks things up a notch next, dropping some bone shatteringly funky bass riffs supported by a brutal yet complex song structure that doesn’t shy away from embracing different styles and progressive quirks.
I find that Tech Death is a genre that can easily lose listeners due to a lack of rhythm buried under the sheer overwhelming flood of technicality that bands try and prove their lot with. One of the things I enjoyed most about “IRIDIUM” was its ability to keep me engaged with a wide use of genre influences through a diversity of riffs. “Gods in Trance” delivers strong classic death metal structure like you’d expect from early era DEATH and up tempo OBITUARY, while the next few songs, ”Astral Oblivion”, and “Absorbed in Greed” (along with other songs on the album) feature more modern riffs along with intricate complex bass riffage akin to bands like BEYOND CREATION, OBSCURA, and GORGUTS. Keeping the best for last, “Escape To Bliss” ends the album in fantastic fashion, starting off with one hell of a filthy bass chord, paired with the usual cocktail of technical brutality. Full of diversified riffs, solo styles, and tempo changes, this song provides a satisfying apex before saying farewell with a groovy and entropic send off into the void.
It may seem as though CEREBRUM are fighting an uphill battle after the loss of some star power and a long break between releases, but “IRIDIUM” effectively smashes any sort of cognitive dissonance on the matter.“IRIDIUM” delivers an enjoyable mix of powerful and technically complex songs, full of interesting twists and turns along the way. My favourite moments included all the intricate and well paired bass progressions along with the dirty Spanish guitar breakdown, with “Escape to Bliss” getting my vote for favourite track on the album.
Although CEREBRUM do a great job in making each song unique, the vocals (although well delivered) seemed a bit dry when compared to their previous releases. That being said the album has great production quality and felt well polished while listening, with little things like string noise only adding to its charm. The bottom line is that “IRIDIUM” delivers an incredible repertoire of dynamic and technically complex death metal, while also embracing multiple progressive elements making for an interesting and worthwhile listen. 8.5/10 Metal Yeti
8.5/10 To Greatness and Glory!
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