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Cephalic Carnage Halls of Amenti

Cephalic Carnage - Halls of Amenti
1. Halls Of Amenti
2002 Willowtip Records

Reviewed by: Graham Landers   //   Published: 2/19/2003

Doom is a particularly difficult genre to get into and even describe. It makes you feel miserable and exudes an aura of decaying beauty. To make a long story short, you either love it or hate it. Bands such as Isis have opened the door for the likes of Knut, to gain a significant fanbase. Their primarily hardcore audience has allowed them to capture the hearts of more than a few, while still holding true to the sludge/doom genre. Being an avid Neurosis fan dating back to "Through Silver in Blood," it was almost a matter of fate that Isis and Knut would become instant music to my ears.

So, the almighty Cephalic Carnage decided to ditch the grind and pursue an all out doom attack on the senses. I must say, at first I was a bit weary of this experiment. Figuring it would be another failed attempt of tackling a genre just not meant to work without the band's required elements intact. But after hearing some advanced sound clips, my anticipation grew to the point where I was literally on the edge of my seat. Awaiting its imminent release wasn't an easy task, much like this record must have been to write. The term "easy" and Cephalic Carnage just don't mix in any sense of the word.

"Halls of Amenti" is the first in a three part series of doom inspired magnificence. Each release will be nicely packaged (as is this) with stunning artwork courtesy of the Riddick brothers (Harakiri fame). This first installment is a mere one song that reaches the 19 minute mark in no time flat. An epic of sorts, "Halls of Amenti" has all the rudiments in place to drive the average workingman to commit suicide. Low indecipherable vocals in an octave I wasn't aware existed, until Matti Way (Cinerary, Disgorge) burped his way into the hell in which all extreme music fans call home back in '95. I absolutely love the Evoken influence that reigns so prominently throughout the "Halls of Amenti." On that note, any fan of doom should checkout Evoken "Quietus" on Avantgarde Music, another brilliant piece of doom/sludge enjoyment. My favorite moment is around the 8-minute mark. The music slowly fades back in after its temporary cease, with a subtle acoustic and murky bass tone. Clean vocals appear out of the blue and not only improved this already solid moment, but it's truly one of the finest hours of this band's career.

Bottom Line: I strongly suggest everyone at least give this release a chance. It's not the best of the doom genre, but it's damn worth your time and money if just for the layout alone. "Halls of Amenti" is unique and its concept, to my knowledge, hasn't been successfully accomplished until now. Due to the lack of technicality on this release, the potential Cephalic Carnage fan will probably be disappointed. If you're expecting the over-the-top wackiness that has made the Dillinger Escape Plan fans fall in love with these basket cases, look elsewhere. If you are interested in hearing a stellar attempt at creating a doom-inspired release that puts most other bands of this genre to shame, look to "Halls of Amenti" to calm that flame that burns inside. It might just kill you in the process.

Track Listing:
1. Halls Of Amenti


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