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Cerebellion - "Inalienable" (CD)

Cerebellion - "Inalienable" CD cover image

"Inalienable" track listing:

1. Inalienable
2. Just Under The Surface
3. Embrace The Imperfection
4. Undeniable
5. In Memory
8. We Rise Again
9. Coexisting
10. Still Burning
11. Breach Of Security
12. This Won't Die

Reviewed by on July 29, 2010

"Cerebellion's 'Inalienable' is an indubitably great alt-metal disc, featuring expert musicianship and solid songwriting. If you're looking for a genre-bending experience, you'll love what you hear here."

I think one of the benefits of labeling yourself as an "alternative" rock band is that basically, you can play any damn thing you want. You can defy the rock and metal genre, adding in acoustic guitars, funky bass lines and orchestral sounds — provided you've got the playing and writing chops to back it all up.

On their first full-length album, "Inalienable," Cerebellion shows off those chops to incredible effect. It didn't come as much of a surprise to me that the band listed outfits like Tool and Led Zeppelin as their primary influences. It comes through in the tight-but-loose feel of every song, with the band never losing step, even as the tunes take all manner of unexpected twists and turns. It's also not surprising to hear that the tunes were essentially written during jam sessions, given their incredibly organic feel.

Guitarist John Arnold, bassist Marc Battung and drummer Jimmy Schultz are a well-oiled rocking machine on "Just Under The Surface," with its stuttering riffs and gorgeous instrumental breakdown that gives way to a creepy guitar solo. Schultz's drum fills on this track are some of the best I've heard in a long time.

Instrumentally, the album's best track is easily "Undeniable," a heavy rocker that morphs in and out of acoustic flamenco guitar pieces, with singer Joe Arnold delivering Alice In Chains-style vocals over the top of it all.

Joe Arnold's vocals — as the one element that largely sounds the same from song to song — are the glue that binds the album together. That's not to say that there isn't any variety there, as he delivers some convincing hardcore shouts in "Not The Final Destination" that contrast splendidly with the deep, melodic tones of "Coexisting."

There's not much negative to say about "Inalienable," save that tracks like "We Rise Again" and "If Only," which stretch out beyond the six-minute mark, probably could've had some of the fat trimmed. "We Rise Again," in particular, has a couple of long sections that don't really go anywhere.

The production on this disc, by Joe and John Arnold with Paul Miner, is superb, with a deep warm tone on the slower, acoustic sections. Battung's bass and Schultz's drums especially benefit from this approach.

Cerebellion's "Inalienable" is an indubitably great alt-metal disc, featuring expert musicianship and solid songwriting. If you're looking for a genre-bending experience, you'll love what you hear here.

Highs: "Just Under The Surface," "Not The Final Destination" and "Undeniable."

Lows: A couple of tracks go on too long.

Bottom line: An excellent alt-metal album that blends light and heavy sounds.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)