We all know that Stalin killed more people, but this is the face that has launched a million anti-Bush and anti-Obama propaganda campaigns.
However, tucked underneath the grim facade of this horrible day lies something much more wavy gravy. Yes, it is most wavy gravy indeed. I'm talking, of course, about the national day that people smoke marijuanas and spliffs and joints and jeezies and everything else that is a slang term for "marijuana" or "marijuana cigarette" or "glass pipe with a little bowl area stuffed with marijuana for smoking." You get the drift.
4/20 reminds us what's important, like standing on buildings, and crying bald eagles. And Dimebag, obviously. Also weed.
In the spirit of this hallowed day that a surprisingly large percentage of people actually care about (I live in Austin, after all), I'm proud to bring you today's 4/20 Double Feature's inaugural installment, with the spotlight on my favorite stoner band, Colorado's Cephalic Carnage.
Looking at this album art probably makes it clear that they are a very stony band, am I right?
I first fell in love with Cephalic Carnage's crunchy, off-kilter brand of hydro-grind about four years ago while I was still slaving away at my beer distribution job in smoggy Bakersfield, California. During those days, I had lots and lots of disposable income and very few bills. I would take my slow days at work and spend some extra time browsing the metal section of our most legit music retailer, FYE (Bakersfield sucks. I'm sure you've seen this before if you've ever read anything else by me). One day I was feeling saucy and decided that I would pick up something by a band that I had never actually listened to, and this is the album that I picked out. My friend had one of their shirts, and I was jealous of how evil they were able to make Jesus look with a simple set of ram's horns, and I decided to see what all the hubbub was about. Turns out, Xenosapien would change things for me.
Before I had heard Xenosapien, I always assumed that tech-death was restricted to meandering songs that drip with chronic note diarrhea and inexplicable vocals. Turns out, as Xenosapien ably demonstrated, all they really need are inexplicable vocals. The songs can have hooks and instantly memorable riffs, and even clean singing.
Xenosapien is ripe with electricity that is hard to find in other albums. There's so much to enjoy, from "Endless Cycle of Violence"'s massive opening riff to the final notes of "Ov Vicissitude" (I don't think either of those things are actual words) and through the hidden track at the end. Oh how I love it! So much disjointed heaviness! Blastbeats abound!
It's heaven, really.
I waited patiently until 2010 for Cephalic's next effort, which came to me in the form of Misled by Certainty (which was, incidentally, my favorite album of 2010, through the eyes of one of my earliest writings). I love this album.
Holy shit, what a follow up. The effect of this album conjures images of Lenzig Leal and company riding giant, fire-spewing, motorized bongs through a post-apocalyptic wasteland and setting fire to whatever local wildlife was able to escape the holocaust, nuclear or otherwise, that led them to their current situation. Actually, to be fair, I really just like to picture Leal flying around on a giant bong, riding it as if it were some kind of speeder bike, like from the Star Wars movies.
Dude, you have to hit this shit. *Hits it* Have you seen Robocop?
He and the rest of Cephalic Carnage travel around solving mysteries in this scenario. At abandoned theme parks!
Misled by Certainty won my heart last year by virtue of the fact that it was such a powerful and decadently technical record that didn't sacrifice the songwriting for shreddy riffs and extended solo sections. In fact, Cephalic managed to keep the record sounding pretty unified and totally solid from beginning to end. I really love "A King and a Thief" because of the collapsing guitar riff that I've talked up before. There are other amazing parts in there, also, like totally appropriate and acceptable clean singing and saxophone noodling. Other hot cuts include "Abraxas of Filth," an intense sleigh ride through a landscape of bass tapping riffs and guitar noises that sound like Mario Brothers getting pulled into big green pipes on the NES, and "Ohrwurm," which has the most appallingly graphic and groaty music video I've ever seen. Here it is! But I warn you not to watch it for any reason, or else you'll be sorry.
I told you!
Didn't I just tell you not to watch it?
But seriously, the album is amazing. It makes me wish that I was a big conoisseur of the sticky-icky . Don't get me wrong, however; I think that weed should be perfectly legal. Whiskey costs a lot of money, and I have to drink a lot of it to get my sweet, sweet buzz on anymore! And weed is cool, because everybody knows that smoking is the single coolest activity that a human can participate in, and smoking weed is even cooler because it makes the Harold and Kumar movies tolerable and allows certain members of the population to listen to Bob Marley records without shooting themselves in the face. Interestingly, all of those people are white and have questionable haircuts.
So, this 4/20, I encourage you to have some fun without local law enforcement or your parents catching wind of it (Godspeed, 8===D!). And make sure that your activities for tonight aren't in any way Hitler related. People don't like things that are Hitler related.
Because fuck that guy.