Cerebral Cortex interview
Cerebral Cortex interview

Jamming the Brain With Noise: The Cerebral Cortex interview

Interview by Kenneth Gallant

I recently discovered Cerebral Cortex on Instagram. The album art to their latest release caught my attention and I am glad I decided to check out the music. If you don't know, these boys hail from Toledo, Ohio and they can rip it up big time. The music is a scatological blend of styles that will drill a hole in your brain and drive you absolutely insane!

HMS: I was looking at your bandcamp page and as part of the band's mission statement you say you are very experimental. What makes you experimental?

CC: I'd say we're experimental because we fuse all kinds of metal styles like Deathcore, progressive metal, death metal, Djent, hardcore, as well as genre styles outside of metal like fusion jazz, psychedelic rock, and circus music. We believe our unconventional chord progression usage and multiple key changes help our sounds stand out a lot. We like to use a lot of keyboard sounds and instruments that you wouldn't normally hear in metal music like a Shamison sound on the keyboard on 7th Sense, a Saxophone solo on Swarm The Earth, Organ sounds on most of the tracks on our latest album, and really anything that sounds good with the track that can make it sound more than an average metal song.

HMS: This will lead into my next question about your influences. Is it simply listening to other metal bands, or are there outside influences from different types of music?

CC: There's definitely a lot of music outside of metal that's influenced us like the multi genre band Mr. Bungle, Avenged Sevenfold (when and how their music blends with other genres besides metal) Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Dog Fashion Disco, Steve Vai, and Joe Satriani

HMS: What's it like playing music in Toledo? Is it an active music scene?

CC: Toledo is always really fun to play and we always draw a pretty large crowd playing here, it's not a big city like our neighbor up in Detroit or Chicago but the people here are great and has a really nice scene with a lot of talented bands and musicians.

HMS: When it came time to record Synthetic Plague, what was the approach with the songwriting? For example, who wrote the majority of the lyrics?

CC: Jeremy and our previous vocalist Richard actually wrote most of the lyrics on the album, but we had to fire him due to him being inconsistent and not able to record when we were trying to finish the album and we decided to keep those lyrics we wrote to save time and because we liked the lyrics a lot. Zion wrote all of the lyrics for Omission when he joined though, and John helped with a couple edits with the lyrics as well

HMS: The Vocals are killer. How does Zion approach the singing?

CC: I was really inspired by Dickie Allen from Infant Annihilator and his amazing monstrous screams. I learned a lot from him. When I approach screaming I like to always have in the back of my mind that people have short attention spans and to mix it up with vocal styles so people have more variety to listen to. Another thing is rhythm is very important and I like to form the lyrics to specific beats of the song to accentuate what the rest of the band is doing. – (Zion)

HMS: My favourite track is Synthetic Plague. What is the one song the band feels the most strongly about?

CC: My favorite songs from the record are Chicanery and Museum of Hatred – (John)

CC: I would say the song I feel most strongly about is Museum of Hatred. Having done a music video for that one. It really feels like we poured a lot into that song and that song means a lot to us as a band. – (Zion)

CC: It's tough for me to pick a single song, but I'd say Museum of Hatred and the Ringmaster they flow together beautifully on the album and they're two of the songs I had the most fun writing – (Jeremy)

CC: I don't know if there is any single song that the band feels the most strongly about. I would say that we enjoy the moment, and that is a variable which is always changing depending on our mood, energy, and how the crowd responds to the music. That live connection with our audience is what propels us to play better and enjoy ourselves more. – (Brandon)

"We're experimental because we fuse all kinds of metal styles...as well as genre styles outside of metal"

HMS: I love the band's name. Who came up with that?

CC: Thank you! I did back in 2018 when we first started the band. I thought it was a cool name because it's the part of the brain that controls most of your consciousness, thinking, memory and many other things. Also thought in general it'd be dope to make the logo shaped like a brain. – (Jeremy)

HMS: What are the band's plans for playing live? Are you getting gigs in the Ohio area?

CC: We're getting gigs but it's tough because we always want to play more especially outside of Toledo, but it's difficult because not a lot of people know about us yet. Our plan is to keep reaching out to promoters and get as many shows as possible to get as many people to hear of us and get put on tours while promoting our music digitally as best as we can.

HMS: The cover art by the great Tony Koehl is killer. How did you manage to snag him for the cover? Who came up with the concept?

CC: I messaged him on Instagram. I always loved his art style. The art he did for The Black Dahlia Murder's Deflorate especially stuck out to me and I knew he'd be a perfect fit to make the idea I had come to life. The concept was to have a synthetic creature (like a cyborg) stand in front of the scientist that created him along with his lesser creations that symbolize that he created a plague on his own. And he drew it out better than I could have imagined adding nuclear waste to symbolize the plague even more. – (Jeremy)

HMS: I was also curious about merch. Will the band be selling tees or have physical CD's of the album to buy?

CC: Yep! We have physical CDs, shirts, posters, and a couple banners of the album art. We've been working on an online store hopefully we'll be able to get that up and running soon

HMS: Obviously, Horror Metal Sounds covers the worlds of both horror and metal, so I have to ask about favourite horror movies. Do you have any?

CC: My favorite horror movie would have to be The Visit. It has the perfect combination of scary and funny! Also the grama Screaming YATZIEEEEE is priceless. – (Zion)

CC: My all time favourite would have to be the Saw series. It stands out to me because of the overall brutality and psychological torture it displays and the story is so great as well –(Jeremy)

CC: My overall favourite is either The Shining or Hellraiser. I love a lot of horror movies, so it's hard to pick. – (John)

CC: I think film and music complement each other very well, especially the genres of horror and metal. When you look at acts like The Misfits, Rob Zombie or Marylin Manson, that horror image almost precedes the music. I would say my favourite horror films are House of a 1000 Corpses, the original Night of The Living Dead, and From Dusk till Dawn. – (Brandon)

HMS: Before we wrap up, do you have any last thoughts to convey to people interested in the music?

CC: If you like to be unaware of what's to come while listening to music and consistently entertained with unique approaches to metal. Then I'd definitely say to check us out. We have a very different sound and love to keep the listeners on their toes – (Zion)

CC: I'd say to keep an open mind while listening to our songs we have a lot of layers to our music that you might miss if you only listen to it once – (Jeremy)

CC: Buy our shit lol – (John)

CC: If you are interested in our music, represent it and incorporate it into your daily life. There is no greater compliment to a musician than to know they are valued and can use their talent as a gateway to others' enjoyment. Let it cure your depression or fuel your rebellion and just saturate in the emotions our music can elicit. – (Brandon)

Kenneth Gallant, HMS

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About the artist(s):

Cerebral Cortex are a Toledo-based Experimental Metal Band. They strive to create a unique metal sound with a vast variety of influences to keep listeners on their toes. Their lyrics mostly depict the human psyche and what drives some of the most heinous of us to commit atrocities.

Social Media:

Music videos:

Read our review:

Cerebral Cortex: Synthetic Plague

About the author:

Kenneth Gallant is the creator and Editor-In-Chief of horrormetalsounds.com. Ken originated the webzine as a column (on another Heavy Metal webzine) that paid homage to horror films incorporating the theme, or a soundtrack, of heavy metal music. Horrormetalsounds.com embodies his passion for horror films, comics and heavy metal music.