Orange County, in Southern California, has a rich history for producing great music, from the West Coast explosion to multiple waves of metal. A new name to add to this list is Cerebellion, who offer up a fusion of titanic riffs with aggressive vocals in their intoxicating, heavy metal sound.
The quartet is formed of twins Joe (vocals) and John Arnold (guitars) and Marc Battung (bass) and Jimmy Schultz (drums) and they’re releasing six songs over six months in the build-up to their next album release.
Interestingly, the band’s upcoming third album, Beyond Our Failures, which is out on 11 November, offers up their heaviest yet most melodic music to date. From it, they sent us latest single Through Darkness, which was released a couple of weeks ago.
It opens up with an intriguing intro of heavy chords answered by a light lick, then dives into a heavier section of guitars. High-pitched vocals take over then intensify with heavier vocals and chugging guitar riffs, then builds up to a big melodic chorus.
Cool high guitars come in, with a bit of keyboard in the background, before more aggressive vocals come in over stabs of guitar. And that soon drops into a light melodic pause for breath, which feeds into another big chorus. Check it out in the lyric video below:
Also from the upcoming album is the superb Now or Never, which dives straight into some delicious heavy riffing and engaging heavy vocals. Check out the guys in action in the video below:
We had a chat with Joe to find out more about the band and get some insight into the upcoming album. Read on below…
GR: Who are Cerebellion?
JA: “Cerebellion is a metal band from Southern California, specifically Orange County – the county just south of Los Angeles County. The four of us (Joe, John, Marc, Jimmy) played together in another band called Project1 before Cerebellion so we’ve been playing together for years. We have a good chemistry musically and personally!
“John and I are twins and we met Marc through an ad and Jimmy from seeing each others’ bands in the live circuit.”
GR: You just released Through Darkness. What should people be expecting from the song?
JA: “With Through Darkness, people should expect a great song… We really love the song and hope others do too! It’s a pretty heavy song with some killer melody in the chorus and in different spots throughout.
“It kind of goes on a journey but without forgoing the plot. We really love the dynamics on this song! Also, it deals with an important topic for us – mental illness. We attempted to shed light on what an experience with a certain form of illness may feel like and then tried to present a light at the end of the tunnel. The video is a metaphor for that journey. It was really trying for us to get this song right. This may have been the hardest we’ve ever worked on one song.”
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
JA: “Our sound across all of our releases if fairly broad. It’s definitely metal but we’ve touched on different influences from more alternative metal to really brutal stuff. I’d say the main thing is we’re heavy and most of the time (but not all) get very metal but there’s almost always melody involved somehow or at least a hook.
“Also, people are pretty surprised by the vocals because they tend to expect more brutal vocals over the more brutal riffs and our vocals are usually really heavy and dirty but not brutal. And there is some clean singing but less than people think. A lot of the parts people think are sung clean are actually sung dirty. The chorus of Through Darkness is a good example of this.”
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
JA: “Things in our personal lives and things socially and politically that are happening when we write. This album Beyond Our Failures topically deals with a lot of personal changes and struggles in the lives of the band members and it was reacting to things happening in the US and the world.
“As a general theme, the band tends to be focused on the struggle for a better and more just world for everyone and we dig into ways of getting there in specific songs. However, often, the goal is that the listener will be able to relate to the lyrics on a personal level and not just on a more broad societal level so the lyrics are constructed in a way where it’s vague enough that it could be interpreted as a song about something personal or something more broad.”
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
JA: “The answer would be much different if you asked different members so I’ll attempt to cover some of all of our influences. The biggest influences currently are probably Gojira, Tesseract, Between The Buried And Me, Architects, Machine Head, Killswitch Engage, Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot, Primus, Intronaut, While She Sleeps. And Deftones. And A Perfect Circle.”
GR: What have you got coming up through 2020?
JA: “Our third single of six, Someone’s American Dream, from and ahead of our album release, Beyond Our Failures, is being released on 29 May. The whole album drops on 11/11/20 – National Metal Day!
“We’re in the middle of rolling out six singles, every six weeks. We released the first one, Now or Never or 6 March and Through Darkness, the second single, was just released. We had planned to do it this way before the Coronavirus shutdown and luckily the album had been wrapped just in time.
“Other than that, we’re promoting the singles, the album, and writing new music remotely for a future release. We had planned to do shows at the end of 2020 closer to the album release so we’ll see where we’re at with the social distancing measures at that point.”
GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about Cerebellion?
JA: “We just hope people stay safe and sane. This is an interesting time, something none of us have ever experienced. We just hope people are taking care of themselves and their loved ones out there. Lastly, if anyone is interested in knowing more, check our website. We have two free downloads and early access to the upcoming single releases by singing up to our email list.”