Nov 062010

For the last week we’ve gone off the NCS rails, focusing on long songs with either no singing at all or nothing but clean singing, plus offerings of “bedroom djent” and post-rock/post-metal (whatever the hell that means). And we’re not through. We have at least one more band that’s out-of-the-NCS box to write about before we disappear on that non-blogging vacation we wrote about earlier this week.

(Speaking of which, don’t forget our open invitation to send us your own blog posts so we won’t have to let NCS go dark during the hiatus.  We’ve received three so far, plus promises that more will be coming — but don’t wait too much longer if you want to do this. Details are here.)

But, as much fun as we’ve had exploring metal that’s not our usual fare, we do miss the kind of metallic extremity that shoves egg-beaters through the skullbone and proceeds to whip the gray matter into a fluffy merengue. So, we decided to take a little break from our adventures outside of NCS land and come back home for a helping of mind-fuckery.

The devilish cooks we found are a band from Glasgow, Scotland called Cerebral Bore (apparently named after a weapon in a video game) and their recently released debut album, Maniacal Miscreation. Oh yes, this is just the kind of cerebral drill-job we were looking for. Our brains are now satisfying disassembled and chopped up into the consistency of dog food. Awesome.  (more after the jump, including a song and a video . . .)

Apparently, Cerebral Bore have been creating music since 2004, with a couple of demos to show for their efforts, and multiple line-up changes, before the October release of Maniacal Miscreation. As far as we’re concerned, they’ve now hit their stride.

The music is on the brutal side of death metal. It’s almost unrelentingly fast — which suits us just fine. The guitar riffing is adrenaline-charged, finger-fast, and reliably hammer-stroked with big slams. We particularly liked the start-stop attack of the drums and the quite audible bass rhythms that unerringly root down deep into the part of the brain that acts without thinking and sends irresistible electrical impulses into the buried pleasure centers.

Barreling along in an unconstrained rampage is plenty of fun for the listener, but the icing on the cake are the passages in the songs when Cerebral Bore skid into a completely irresistible beat. This is the kind of attention to groove that, in our Pavlovian world, separates the good brutal-death bands from the ones that just want to run like the bulls at Pamplona, with plenty of mayhem but not much direction.

There’s one more thing to mention about Cerebral Bore, apart from their Glaswegian heritage, their knack for songwriting, and their technical adeptness: They have a female singer.

You wouldn’t know it to hear the music. Seriously.

Perhaps one day the world of metal will reach a stage of evolution when the gender of the singer doesn’t provoke attention, but we’re not even close to that world yet. Today, most female vocalists draw attention because they’re so rare. Most of them seem to be stapled into the pages of the band because of their sexuality — metal being a predominantly male spectator sport.

Of course, going back to the advent of Elvis, and even before, plenty of male vocalists have drawn attention by selling their sexuality, too, though lots of male frontmen in the world of extreme metal have no beefcake to sell. So, we’re not suggesting that female vocalists are alone in trying to get a leg up based on their sexuality. The men would do it, too, if they could.

But Cerebral Bore is a different kind of animal. Simone “Som” Pluijmers dresses like a dude. She wears a ballcap pulled down low over her pretty face. On the strength of one video, our perception is that her stage posturing is also like a dude’s. And her singing — well, she growls, and grunts, and pig-squeals like her vocal chords have been marinated in the juices of Dying Fetus and Cannibal Corpse.

It’s a freak-of-nature kind of thing, because we haven’t heard another female vocalist that can do what she does. You may ask, why should that matter? If we want vocals like this, why should we pay attention to this band just because they’re voiced (amazingly) by a woman? Should that set Cerebral Bore apart from bands that provide vocals very similar to these through the use of a vocalist with testicles?

Well, you can rationalize that question all you want, but our answer is this: Fuck yes, it matters! Are you fucking retarded? Of course it matters!

There is a limit to how excited we will get over a female vocalist that can pull off what Som Pluijmers accomplishes. We really wouldn’t be writing about Maniacal Miscreation unless the rest of the music was hot shit — but it is. The debut album from Cerebral Bore is one giant, concussive Glasgow kiss — and if you don’t know what that is, check here. Also, check out this song:

Cerebral Bore: Epileptic Strobe Entrapment

And now, we have this video from Cerebral Bore, to boot. And we also have to thank our somewhat demented reader Phro, transplanted from the good ole’ U.S. of A. to some inbred backwater in Japan, for tipping us to Cerebral Bore.

We’ve looked for a way to get a legit copy of Maniacal Micreation, but haven’t succeeded. But you can listen to some additional cerebral borings at the band’s MySpace page. We also found some song lyrics, but they’re so fucking disturbed that we’re not going to reprint them here. But we will give you this link (check the August 30 entry) and this one, which provides the lyrics for the song in that video. No wonder Phro likes this band.

UPDATE: Following up on a discussion in the comments below — which raised some questions about whether Som Pluijmers is really the vocalist on the album — we’re adding this video that we just found by a Dutch metalhead named Ed Veter. I think it resolves the doubts pretty effectively. Among other things, it includes shots of the booklet inside the CD which includes Som’s photo and her thanks.

  28 Responses to “CEREBRAL BORE”

  1. I just ordered the CD…I have no idea when it will arrive, but I will send you a full review once I get it.

    (I may also have obtained a digital copy, but I decline to comment on that.)

    I never actually paid attention to the lyrics, so thanks for pointing that out!!!

    Though I’m torn on whether or not having a female vocalist matters. I don’t want to judge a singer on their gender, but I do want to praise her for breaking that stereotype and brutalizing my ears…

    But even more so, I feel like her story is really inspirational…she just practiced by herself for hours, posted videos online testifying to her ability and got a gig singing. I love the interwebs!!!

    • I didn’t know that story about how Som got this gig. Very cool. I still don’t understand how it’s possible for anyone to sound like this, much less a woman. Unless maybe you drink smoothies made out of pulverized glass and battery acid. For a few years.

      I may have obtained a digital copy of the album. I may have listened to it a few times. Or it may have entered my mind through the ether while I was sleeping.

      • I should say that that’s only my understanding of how Som got the job. Ummm…fact checking is required…

        I think it’s possible for ANYONE to sound like this…but I think it also requires careful, patient practice.
        But I’m not actually sure….

        There is a video series called the Zen of Screaming that purports to teach people how to do heavier vocals, but I’ not sure if it’s all it’s cracked up to be.


        • “WHY DON’T BANDS MAKE GODDAMN OFFICIAL DIGITAL DOWNLOADS AVAILABLE!?”: I really do not get it. This band is a classic example. I would have loved to provide a link where people could go download a legit copy of the album, but there is no such place. Platforms like Bandcamp and CDBaby are so easy for a band to use, and they’re set up so the band might actually make a few dollars in the process of exposing their music to a wider audience. So why doesn’t everyone do it? Fuck if I know.

  2. Oh, and…there are other women who can ALMOST do as good a job a Som…check out this (mostly) female grindcore band from Tokyo…Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation…they have more high pitched screams mixed in with the deep growls.

  3. I wonder what she’s capable of without the effects on top of her voice. If not for reading your writeup or seeing the video, I wouldn’t be able to tell whether it’s a man or woman through the processed vocals. Maybe that’s the point. Still, there are women in metal that don’t flaunt their sexuality, either individually or in the band as a whole. Sadly, it’s media and the knuckledraggers that haunt the blogs, forums and metal sites that end up doing a lot of the work instead.

    However, I am a bit confused. Who’s actually on the album?

    Looking at their blog at mySpace, they replaced their vocalist a little over a year ago, with mention of recording material with him. Nothing about adding Som to the lineup or replacing him. Plus, if you look at the live vids, Som isn’t the only one with a mic. There’s a dude with a thick accent up on stage with the band as well. Looking around on Facebook didn’t help. I don’t need to know who the band’s added as a friend, I’d like information.

    I just read the lyrics to “24 Year Party Dungeon”. Some interesting stuff, based on real life events. But how anyone can sing/grunt/howl such lyrics with a straight face is beyond me. Evil pee-pee indeed.

    • Looking at their myspace page, I can see that they don’t mention Som at all before they mention the CD recording…

      I’m curious as to who is actually on the album as well….
      I assumed since that’s her in the video, it would also be her on the CD…

      One thing though…processed vocals? Now, this is completely ignorance on my part, but how can you tell they are processed? Simply put, I can’t tell what is/isn’t processed… (I’m assuming you mean via computer manipulation…) It never occurred to me that they’re processed.

      I hope I haven’t mislead the NCS community. Goddamnit.

      • I’m not saying it’s all artificial and that the vocalist (talking any band here) isn’t doing anything to contribute. You couldn’t take a classical singer and apply the same effects and such to their voice and have it end up sounding the same – unless you get to the point of some of the most extreme vocals that go well beyond being recognizable as vocals.

        But seriously, how many vocalists can get these kinds of sounds from their throat, be smooth in the delivery (I know, sounds weird to say smooth with these vocals) and be consistent about it without some help? Maybe there are some that can pull it off as they are, but I’d be willing to bet that there are far more out there that do make use of something along with their own voice.

        Listen to Cerebral Bore. Now go listen to any number of other similar bands. The vocals are going to sound somewhat alike. What Cerebral Bore has done – at least in the couple songs I’ve listened to – is actually create a song instead of an aural clusterfuck with amplifiers behind gurgles, howls, pig squeals and the other vocal mainstays of the genre.

        In a live environment, the difference should be easier to hear and some bands might not bring out everything that they used in the studio. For a band that is playing live and not some one man “band” recording stuff for shiggles, there’s probably a balance between getting the right sound and making something that can be reproduced outside of the studio and/or using software and hardware to enhance the vocals.

        • I think I get you now. 😉

          I don’t go to many live shows (especially not right now), so this isn’t something I’ve ever thought
          about before…..I’ll have to pay more attention from now on…

          Still, I love the vocals that Som (hopefully) is producing, whether processed or not.

      • I think you’re cool bro. Check out the “Update” i just added to the post and the video from Ed Veter.

    • You said “evil pee-pee”. 🙂 (Actually, Cerebral Borings said evil pee-pee first.)
      I had the same question you did about whose vocals are on the album, and there really isn’t a definitive answer that I could find. I finally decided that it was probably Som because of the video — but that’s a fairly lame basis for reaching the conclusion since the soundtrack to the video is probably just the recorded song from the album.

      • I have to wonder if there’s anything off limits. The story of Joseph Fritzl and what he did isn’t something I’d expect to hear in a song (or see his face on band merch). Granted, I’m not really into the gore/grind scene, so I’m sure there’s a lot I am (thankfully) oblivious to. Yet, I enjoy GWAR and some of their stuff is out there – but absurd and fictional.

  4. Meh, I didn’t find anything too special. Except for the vocalist. Brutal.

    Lately I’ve been hooked on Black Sheep Wall…

  5. I play guitar fr Cerebral bore, soms vocals arent “processed”

  6. I’ve been on a slam kick lately and this band is one of the bands I’m obsessed with now. All their merch on bigcartel is sold out from what I can tell, cept for their guitar picks. I’ve seen a live vid with Som on the line up and it sounds a lot like the vid from what I remember, without the multi-tracking of course. I want the fuckin’ album badly, and I think there were only like 500 of them pressed, and I hope by Christmas that they aren’t all gone, I doubt that they’ll still have some from the same pressing based on how their merch has sold, but a guy can dream right? I’m still waiting for MetalSucks to find one of these CB posts and give their take on it.

    • Yeah, I went to the bigcartel page hoping to order the CD, and as you say, it’s sold out. Surely they’ll arrange to produce a replacement batch! But maybe not. I’m going to follow their news, and if I see something encouraging on this score I’ll add another comment and update the post.

      • If you’re still interested in buying the CD, I found an online store that has it here…

        • Nice. Thanks for finding that.

          • Wonder how long it’ll take to get more merch besides the CD tho. I really want a Cerebral Bore shirt. I was surprised to see that even the more expensive windbreaker was sold out. I want the Vomit Remnants one anyway (WHICH IS ANOTHER THING THAT PISSES ME OFF, CUZ THEY DON’T HAVE IT IN MY SIZE). Also, a somewhat unrelated question, does anyone know if Vomit Remnants is a more technical slam band, like Cerebral Bore or Parasitic Extirpation?

            • Based on one song I just heard on the Vomit Remnants Myspace player, they sound more like a cross between a straight brutal-death band and a Devourment-style slam band — not really in the same camp as Cerebral Bore. Since they’re from Tokyo, maybe Phro will have heard something about them (though this music may not be his cup of sake).

              • This is the first I’ve heard of them…..I’m just not that familiar with any scene.

                I’m listening to one of the songs on their myspace page. I’m not sure what slam is,
                but if this is it, I don’t mind it…….

                Just as soon as I get transferred to Tokyo, I’m gonna start plumbing the depths
                of the Japanese music scene, and try to get myself a bit more informed.

                • I’ve never read a definition of slam that made much sense. I know some of the bands whose music other people characterize as “slam”, and I listen to the music, and so I can tell when other bands have a similar sound. That’s about as far as I can go. Maybe one of these days I’ll attempt to describe what I *think* slam sounds like. But not today. 🙂

  7. The music is very generic…having a female vox that does brutal vocals did not help it make special.

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