REVIEW: CERBERUS, DISPUTE THE TRUTH
Further proof that the best releases often arrive with the least amount of hype: Cerberus’ Dispute the Truth has been in stores for more than a month, receiving virtually no coverage from the metal press even though it’s surely one of the best releases of 2007 so far. These days, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of bands trying to pull of the same kind of deathrash this L.A. quintet plays, yet few of them manage to come anywhere close to displaying Cerberus’ talent. Everything here – from the songwriting to the muscianship to the production – is damn near close to perfect; perhaps even more amazing is that this is that rarest of albums where all the best material hasn’t been front loaded onto the album, making this offering a slow burn that only gets better as it goes along.
Listen: don’t listen to this album when not near a toilet or at least a bucket, because from the opening track, “Cancer,” right through to album closer “The Legion,” Dispute the Truth will rip you a new asshole – possibly two new assholes – and you don’t wanna get poop all over the place. Axe masters Lanny Perelman (rhythm) and Sean Olk (leads – check out that solo on “Lifetimes to Come!” AWESOME!) sometimes, as on “Forced Choice,” unleash a flurry of guitars that spiral endlessly while never devolving into chaos – the aural equivalent of an M.C. Escher sketch – and sometimes they fall back on more classical tropes (the usage of a wah pedal on “The Answer,” for example) – and they do both equally well. And if you’ve never been pummeled with a wrench, well, bassist Marcus Cohen and drummer Roger Watson are here to demonstrate for you how that might feel. Vocalist John Guettler tops things off with the expected vocals, which is to say, he sounds like he’s trying to force out a bowel movement the size of Tokyo and is, y’know, really unhappy about it. Which is to say, he’s an awesome singer for this kind of music.
The songwriting is top notch, too: “All I’m Able” and “In Contempt” are epics fit for a good jousting match, “The Light Burned Blind” is centered around an unforgettable riff before slowing down at the end to the most horrifying army-march ever, and “The Filthy Few” is an instant classic- it’s definately one of the most evil sounding tunes I’ve ever heard (and it’s chorus, “Cycle the power for the filthy few,” makes the song a harrowing political protest song – so, no, that eagle on the cover art is no coincidence).
The production by Zach Ohren (who also produced last year’s totally bitchin’ All Shalll Perish disc, The Price of Existence), meanwhile, perfectly compliments and illuminates the skill of this band. If there’s one quibble I have with the album, it’s that Cerberus don’t even seem like they’re trying to contribute anything original. Luckily, they do everything so much better than everyone else, it hardly seems to matter.
For fans (like myself) of super-heavy thrash who have been jonesin’ for a new fix since their ten millionth spin of Machine Head’s The Blackening and Chimaira’s Resurrection, have no fear: Cerberus’ Dispute the Truth will get you through the summer and beyond. Just go buy it already.
(four and a half out of five horns)
Visit Cerberus on MySpace.