Release Date: Jul 26, 2011
Record label: Williams Street
Guess which half of their name the members of Cerebral Ballzy more closely align themselves? The golden era of offensive, submoronic hardcore band names (we miss you, Crucifucks and Fearless Iranians From Hell!) may be buried next to Ronald Reagan, but fortunately nobody told the dirtbags in Cerebral Ballzy, because their glorious debut is a breath of fresh air straight outta 1983. In fact, references to our 40th president and erstwhile hardcore whipping boy Reagan are the only signifier missing from CB’s take-no-prisoners album: frontman Honor Titus, bassist Mel Honore, guitarists Jason and Mason and drummer Crazy Abe rip through 12 songs in 19 minutes, addressing the all-important topics of girls (“Junky for Her”: “Then she’ll do me / Man, it’ll rule!”), drugs (“Drug Myself Dumb”), rebellion (“Sk8 All Day”, “Cutting Class”) and, of course, giving the finger to The Man (“On The Run”, “Don’t Tell Me What To Do”, “Don’t Look My Way”, with the brilliant lyric, “I’d be mad too if I wasn’t me”. ) Punishing, scuzzy, brutal, dirty and to the point, Cerebral Ballzy could not give less of a fuck about the last 18 years of so-called punk.
So, it turns out not everyone was thrilled by the rise of the kind of pop-punk favoured by [a]Blink-182[/a] and their many brethren. Or so it would seem listening to [a]Cerebral Ballzy[/a]’s self-titled debut album, an opening gambit that shreds the history of all those pretenders and turns the clock back to 1982, forcibly deleting the cargo-shorted from existence. Hurtling into our consciousness at the tail end of last year with a divisive name of the kind hated by journos but that fans love to see in print, the Brooklyn-raised skaters have since made it their mission to kick, spit and scream through a series of life-affirming and brutally energetic shows.
Cerebral Ballzy live for first impressions. Their entire fanbase is derived of people to whom the idea of naming a band after a debilitating mental illness is either high-larious or lame enough to ignore. Whichever your preference, this Brooklyn five-piece force you to commit to their distorted worldview from the moment you pick up their self-titled debut album.
There's a strong 80s streak about New York punk band Cerebral Ballzy. From their name – with its bad-taste echoes of such predecessors as Jerry's Kids – through the pen-and-ink artwork, to their music, they echo the east coast hardcore of nearly 30 years ago, when US punk started interbreeding with the roughest end of metal. There's no attempt at sophistication, just a brutal rush through 12 songs in under 20 minutes.
Punk rock has a long tradition of taking the counter-culture vibe that rock'n'roll cultivated back when hip-shaking was a crime against propriety and cranking up the volume to intentionally offend every possible denomination: the fans, the critics, the outcasts, the bigots, the sell-outs, the scenesters, and so on. Some bands had a well-reasoned method to their misanthropic madness, and some just wanted to piss people off (or, in special cases, actually piss on people). What's most 0ffensive about Cerebral Ballzy's attempts at "edgy" provocation isn't tastelessness or insensitivity-- it's the blandness.
Supercharged punk rock that’s like Minor Threat with an unlikely hangover. Mike Diver 2011 Brooklyn quintet Cerebral Ballzy trade in the kind of supercharged punk rock that sends kids into dizzy spins at branded festivals and stinking basements alike, but has slightly older observers in the ranks wondering what all the noise is about. On paper, titles like Don’t Tell Me What to Do and On the Run, combined with track durations that don’t leave attentions the slightest second to wander, recall Youth Crew outfits like Negative Approach and Minor Threat.
(Williams Street Records) “They wanna restrain me,” recites Honor Titus in the introduction to “On the Run,” the first track on the first album by the Brooklyn hardcore punk band Cerebral Ballzy. And then, over needling guitar and drums, this: They wanna punish and torture me,They wanna cleanse me of my so-called beliefI’m just a young kid but I know what I want!I don’t want to be like them. I refuse to be like them!I find myself constantly confronted with their failures! Perfect taunting, hyperventilating self-martyrdom.