It has been five years since US metallers Cerebellion gripped our attention with their excellent debut album Inalienable; a stretch of time which has not felt as long through many of the album’s tracks and subsequent 2013 single A Better Version, never being too far from our listening for pleasure playlists. Fair to say though and like for so many, there was healthy excitement when being sent their new EP Regeneration. It has proven to be an encounter rekindling an already rich appetite for the Californian quartet, and their compelling sound which has through the new offering shown itself to have grown and matured without losing the distinctive Cerebellion breath.
Formed in 2009, the Long Beach hailing foursome of vocalist Joe Arnold, guitarist John Arnold, bassist Marc Battung, and drummer Jimmy Schultz quickly earned a strong reputation for their inventive fusion of metal and heavy rock, a blend again fuelling the impressive Regeneration. It is an incitement which, as we suggested, has further blossomed, the songs within the EP more diverse within their provocative walls and embracing a sharper and fuller design of textures and flavours. The band has not lost or defused their aggressive snarl either, though it has been honed into a more skilfully provocative and rousing essence which only helps the band’s new release powerfully spark ears and imagination.
All Came to Light starts things off, an initially sultry and melancholic melody slipping from the strings of the guitar. Its potent coaxing is soon joined by a rawer but no less evocative lure of bass and darker guitar shadows, harmonies soon after also adding to the intrigue and emerging drama. With rhythms warming up until things are stirring nicely, they and every corner of song and band explode into a roar of heavy beats and rugged riffs around the dusty tones of Joe Arnold. As existing fans would expect, a spicy groove is soon in the midst of the engaging tempest too, the song a rigorous charge unafraid to slip into gentle melodic caresses with matching vocal persuasion. With a touch of Metallica to it alongside whispers of Alice in Chains, the song ebbs and flows in intensity, bellows and croons in aggression and attitude uniting to draw only a hungry attention for it and the whole release.
The following Cold similarly makes a gentle entrance, though this time there is a definite intimidating shadow behind the emerging sound and vocal tempting. Soon the track is into a muscular but reflective stroll, rhythms a dark texture against the lighter but no less sorrow laced enterprise of guitar and voice. Across it the rolling and imaginative beats of Schultz are pure magnetism, their anthemic lures matched by the throaty emotion cast by Battung’s bass and the gnawing riffs of John Arnold, the latter also casting some delicious acidic enticing within his solo and imagination. Arguably the track lacks the richer originality of others, at times providing something for expectations but every time thoughts like that do arise it is fair to say that something twists and turns in the songwriting and song to argue the point.
The variety within the release continues more strongly with both Savior and Nothing Left. The first of the two explores a heavier rock spiced canvas upon which the guitar spins a melodic and groove metal seeded web. As the voice of Joe spreads the narrative with emotive expression and energy, there is an air of bands like In Flames and Avenged Sevenfold to the track, but only spices honed into something, certainly taking longer to persuade than its predecessors, but brewing up an individual and long-term captivation. Its successor is similar in that it slowly burns into the passions and also leaves one of the deepest enjoyments. The song opens with a mesmeric kiss of Spanish guitar, their flamenco spawned melodies like kisses on the senses and a tonic for the imagination. The song is an acoustic seduction, its beauty tempering and complementing the melancholy oozing from every syllable and harmony, not forgetting the bewitching strings which emerge later in the song. Eventually though, the drama has to explode and the thrilling encounter erupts into a rousing intensive finale though with one last acoustic stroke for its last touch.
Cerebellion are back in voracious swing with Thin Ice next, the track from its first breath almost predatory with its scythes of sound and beats, all colluding to forge a prowling enticing and subsequently an adrenaline driven, thrash bred onslaught. Of course the band is never one to settle into one wind of persuasion and they seamlessly and skilfully infuse melodic and calmer swerves into that the at times almost rabid intensity. The track is as anthemic as it is creatively riveting, a song which alone tells you all you need to know about band and sound, and definitely the perfect gateway for new fans into Cerebellion.
Regeneration ends with Forsaken, a fascinating and creatively tempestuous encounter again revealing everything impressive about the band and music. From individual prowess to group imagination, songwriting maturity to lyrical and melodic incitement, song and release only and increasingly impress.
The hefty time between releases has only seen Cerebellion grow into a masterful metal/rock proposition, but you know whilst listening to Regeneration, you still get the feeling there is plenty more untapped inside the band’s creativity. Hopefully we will discover that a little more swiftly ahead.
The Regeneration EP is available now through most online stores and digitally and on CD @ https://cerebellion.bandcamp.com/album/regeneration