Everyone is familiar with CEREBUS right? Well, in case you are not, take note that CEREBUS, apart from being the talking aardvark in the titular comic series, was one of the many heavy metal bands that popped up in the United States during the ’80s and their 1986 album “Too Late to Pray” is considered to be one of the classic ’80s obscurities known only to the die hards of the underground metal scene. Yes, I know, since the coming of the internet everyone is a die-hard and a dweller of the underground, but back in the day it wasn’t like this.
Anyway, while we enjoyed “Too Late to Pray” and “Regression – Progression” releases, Heaven and Hell Records looked into the most hidden vaults of the band and came up with this CD that contains a shitload of old, unreleased songs recorded during the ’80s.
The songs are divided in three different “categories”: the ones recorded in 1984, some that were recorded in 1985/1986 and songs that were recorded during 1987 – 1988. Unfortunately, I do not have information about the recordings so this is a personal assumption based on the songwriting and the sound of each set of songs. What do I mean by that? Well, songs that were recorded in 1984 sound closer to the hard and heavy bands of that era like early RIOT, SAXON, THE RODS etc., with some of them having a melodic approach. For example song “Goneaway” could easily be a radio hit similar to Q5‘s “Lonely Lady” or SHOK PARIS‘ “The Heat and The Fire”, along with song “Long Time Comin'” which is another fine example of catchy hard and heavy music. As the album progresses the songs become closer to the “Too Late to Pray” sound, which means they’re more into the U.S. heavy/power metal way of doing things, with speed outbreaks and misty obscurity that’s typical of the genre. Songs like “In the End” or “A Cry for Help” stand out from that era.
While most of the releases of this kind are shipped with leftovers, this one comes with true quality stuff. Listening to the songs one should admit that CEREBUS had lots of potential and they could had achieved something better if the had the chance. There are almost no fillers and, surprisingly, even though CEREBUS don’t deviate from the typical ’80s songwriting, their compositions are both quite memorable and have a tone of originality. If I had to pick one or two songs I’d say that “In the End”, “Come Rock the Night” and “Gone Away” are really worth giving a shot.
To wrap it up, this is a interesting release that will satisfy every friend of the band, and of course fans of ’80s US metal in general.