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Cephalic Carnage

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Cephalic Carnage
Lenzig Leal from the American band Cephalic Carnage, 2009.
Lenzig Leal from the American band Cephalic Carnage, 2009.
Background information
OriginDenver, Colorado, U.S.
GenresDeathgrind, technical death metal, avant-garde metal
Years active1992–present
LabelsRelapse, Headfucker
  • Lenzig Leal
  • John Merryman
  • Steve Goldberg
  • Nick Schendzielos
  • Brian Hopp
Past members

Cephalic Carnage is an American death metal band formed in Denver, Colorado in 1992. The band comprises vocalist Lenzig Leal, guitarists Steve Goldberg and Brian Hopp, drummer John Merryman and bassist Nick Schendzielos. Cephalic Carnage has released six studio albums and toured in North America, Europe and Japan.

Cephalic Carnage play a technically proficient deathgrind style, progressively experiment with other genres, and incorporate songs of joke nature into their albums, such as parodies of black metal or metalcore. They refer themselves as "rocky mountain hydro grind".[1]


Conforming to Abnormality, Exploiting Dysfunction (1992–2001)[edit]

Cephalic Carnage formed in Denver, Colorado, in 1992 by vocalist Lenzig Leal, former drummer Anthony Chavez, and guitarist Zac Joe. The trio recorded a demo EP titled Scrape My Lungs in 1993, but then took a break until 1996, when they recruited drummer John Merryman, guitarist Steve Goldberg and bassist Doug Williams.[2][3] Merryman also collaborated with Secret Chiefs 3.[4] Soon after the reformation, their second demo EP Fortuitous Oddity was released. During 1997, Cephalic Carnage financed its own tour across the United States.[2][3]

In 1998, the band caught the attention of Italian record label Headfucker Records, which released the band's debut album Conforming to Abnormality that year. Williams left in 1999 and joined Origin. He was replaced by Jawsh Mullen, and the band toured at the Milwaukee Metalfest in 1998, the Dallas Grindfest, the Ohio Deathfest and the Denver Hatefest in 1999.[2][3]

In 2000, Cephalic Carnage signed to the American heavy metal record label Relapse Records and released its second album Exploiting Dysfunction, which included a tour with Napalm Death and The Dillinger Escape Plan.[2][3]

Lucid Interval and Anomalies (2002–2006)[edit]

Lucid Interval, the band's third album, was recorded in early 2002 and released in August that year.[2][3] The band toured a month later in Canada[5] and subsequently in the U.S. with German thrash metal veterans Kreator and Destruction.[3][6] In May 2003, the band undertook the "North American Contamination" tour alongside Mastodon and others. That September, Cephalic Carnage and Madball supported Hatebreed on the North American "Rise of Brutality" tour.[3]

In September 2004, the band recorded its next album, Anomalies, with producer Dave Otero. Darren Doane directed a promotional music video for "Dying Will Be the Death of Me",[3] which premiered at MTV's Headbangers Ball.[7] The song parodies American metalcore with its music, lyrics and vocals.[8] In March 2005, Anomalies was released, and the band toured in North America once again.[3]

Mullen exited in January 2006 to prioritize his education and other acts,[3] and the band soon found replacement Nick Schendzielos.[9] In March, the band's recording studio was robbed.[10] They played several shows in the United States in April, and an extensive European tour followed in June[3] with Darkest Hour.[11]

Xenosapien (2007–2009)[edit]

The band recorded its next studio album between November and December 2006,[9] and its release was set for May 2007 under the title Xenosapien. In March 2007, the band supported Brujeria on U.S. dates[3] and subsequently embarked on "Xenosapien World Tour",[12] which started in continental Europe on May 4,[13] continued in United Kingdom and Ireland in May[3][13] and resumed in the "Summer Slaughter" trek (dubbed the "Summer's Laughter" by band members)[14] across the U.S. throughout June and July along with Decapitated among others.[3][12] The band also filmed a music video for the song "Endless Cycle of Violence".[12] On November 20, 2007, the band's van was robbed. Their "recent earnings from the tour (close to $4,000), a laptop with more than $2,000 in music-software programs loaded, an iPod and various personal items" were stolen.[15]

Cephalic Carnage reissued Conforming to Abnormality under Relapse Records on April 29, 2008. Cephalic Carnage participated in a "mini-tour" of Japan in May 2009, performing in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo.[3] In June 2009, Cephalic Carnage, along with Cattle Decapitation and Withered, pulled out of the Blackenedfest tour due to organization problems and said they were "getting on with writing the next full length, (...) as well as finishing construction of our late night poutine stand, where we will serve country-fried giraffe eggs and your favorite French-Canadian specialty."[16] In October 2009, the band released a music video for the song "Vaporized" while writing a new album and announced a planned concert DVD entitled Live at Your Mom's House.[17][18]

Misled by Certainty (2010–present)[edit]

Cephalic Carnage began recording their new album, Misled by Certainty, in May 2010. It was released August 31, 2010 by Relapse Records.[19] They also reissued Lucid Interval on September 13, 2011.

Musical style[edit]

AllMusic describes the style of Cephalic Carnage as "crazy concoction of truly experimental grindcore, death metal, and jazz".[2] Their music varies from death-grind,[20][21] technical death metal,[22] occasional surf rock,[23] instrumental, to flamenco interludes[24] or violin-and-sax ambient jams.[25] Their early style is typically progressive and technically proficient, with some comedic songs. Their later work developed into a more experimental,[26] complex direction.[24]

Cephalic Carnage is also known for its humorous songs. Popmatters points out some examples: "On past albums, the band has taken satirical swipes at the overtly image-oriented black metal ("Black Metal Sabbath") and the oversaturated, angst-ridden metalcore sound ("Dying Will Be the Death of Me"), and even in live settings, they're not above taking the odd spontaneous piss-take to bring some levity to a situation. One notorious YouTube clip has a fight starting in the pit at a Cephalic show in Toronto, and in an inspired moment, the band launches into a rousing excerpt from "Eye of the Tiger", to a raucous ovation from the kids."[22]





  1. ^ Parks, Andrew (April 2005). "Why Be Normal? Cephalic Carnage delivers another delicious dose of hydro-grind with Anomalies". Decibel Magazine.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Kevin Odle. "Cephalic Carnage Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved June 17, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Cephalic Carnage Biography". MusicMight. Archived from the original on June 17, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2009.
  4. ^ "John Merryman". Sick Drummer Magatine. Archived from the original on September 8, 2009. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
  5. ^ "December, Cephalic Carnage Lay Canada To Waste - Aug. 16, 2002". Archived from the original on March 18, 2007. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  6. ^ "Kreator To Embark on North American Tour - Aug. 8, 2002". Archived from the original on September 15, 2003. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  7. ^ "Cephalic Carnage: 'Dying Will Be The Death Of Me' Video To Receive 'Headbanger's Ball' Premiere - Aug. 26, 2005". Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  8. ^ Adrien Begrand. "Cephalic Carnage Xenosapien". PopMatters. Retrieved June 17, 2009.
  9. ^ a b "Cephalic Carnage To Record New Album in November/December - May 31, 2006". Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved June 17, 2009.
  10. ^ "Cephalic Carnage's Recording Studio Robbed, Reward Offered - Mar. 23, 2006". Retrieved July 20, 2009.[permanent dead link]
    "Cephalic Carnage: New Album Title Announced - Mar. 21, 2007". Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  11. ^ "Cephalic Carnage Announce European Tour with Darkest Hour, Dead To Fall - June 1, 2006". Archived from the original on September 12, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  12. ^ a b c "Cephalic Carnage Completes Work on New Video - May 16, 2007". Archived from the original on May 23, 2007. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  13. ^ a b "Cephalic Carnage: New Album Title Announced - Mar. 21, 2007". Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  14. ^ Stewart-Panko, Kevin (July 2009). "Summer Slaughter Tour, Inside the Carnage". Decibel Magazine.
  15. ^ "Cephalic Carnage Robbed in Tulsa - Nov. 23, 2007". Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  16. ^ "Exclusive: The Demise of Blackened Fest". Metal Injection. Retrieved June 17, 2009.
  17. ^ "New video for "Vaporized" on Youtube". MySpace. Archived from the original on July 7, 2012. Retrieved October 7, 2009.
  18. ^ "Cephalic Carnage: 'Vaporized' Video Released; New DVD In The Works - Oct. 8, 2009". Archived from the original on October 12, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2009.
  19. ^ Cephalic Carnage Begins Recording New Album - May 14, 2010 Archived May 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine,
  20. ^ Parks, Andrew (July 2007). "Cephalic Carnage Xenosaphien". Decibel Magazine.
  21. ^ Chris Cusack. "Metal Up Your Ass - February 2009". The Skinny. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
  22. ^ a b Adrien Begrand. "Cephalic Carnage Xenosapien". PopMatters. Retrieved June 17, 2009.
  23. ^ Lucid Interval review, Exclaim!
  24. ^ a b William York. "Lucid Interval". Allmusic. Retrieved June 17, 2008.
  25. ^ Clay Jarvis. "Lucid Interval". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on February 1, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2008.
  26. ^ Greg Pratt. "Cephalic Carnage Conforming to Abnormality". Exclaim!. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved June 17, 2008.

External links[edit]