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A SCENE IN RETROSPECT: CiliCe – “Deranged Headtrip”

Goedendag, everybody, and welcome to the sixteenth episode of A Scene In Retrospect! I hope you’re ready for some heavy nostalgia, because this time around, our PR/social media manager Inter and our staff writer Pete will talk about Dutch math metal/djent forerunners CiliCe and their 2009 début (and to this day only) album Deranged Headtrip. Enjoy!

 

Pete Overell

Deranged Headtrip takes me back to my early days of prog metal, where I LOVED the groove and didn’t get the artsy side of prog. This psychotically-paced album has it in abundance, with each song constantly launching the listener into the thick of it, the spasmodic vocals sending one deeper into this rabbit hole. I was fairly late to the party hearing it in 2012, but this album certainly stood out from the rest of the other bands emerging during the glory years of modern  progressive metal. The opening track “God of Lies” tears into you like a raging bull; the ferocity appears wild at first, but as the song (and indeed the album) progresses, you realise how calculated and succinct this album is.

The album is this filthy mash-up of influences such as Meshuggah and The Dillinger Escape Plan, with the former contributing the groove and the latter the psychotic, scatty switches and frenetic changes throughout the record. CiliCe segue from groove to groove, interspersing this madness with brilliant clean vocal hooks, which are thankfully neither under- nor overproduced, the latter of which you hear with bands like Periphery nowadays. “Left/Right Hemisphere” is a true example of this prowess, and it’s really interesting listening back how epic the mix is on the vocals too. The harsh vocals come from all directions later on in the song, creating the disturbing ambience which the band was going for. In the background, Protest The Hero sweeps are noticeable, showing there’s more to the band’s pallet of sound than just the pummeling groove. It’s little wonder Daniel De Jongh was recruited by Textures in 2010 either.

One of the most distinct tracks from the album is the chuggy, dark and punishing song “Drone”. This titan of a track is incredibly unique in the prog metal genre I feel. The industrial chugs play off well against the simple yet effective drums, and you can really feel how experimental the band felt whilst making this song. Deranged Headtrip makes a perfect loop too, which is always a fun feature to have.

Final track “Psychotic Mindwarp” rolls straight back into “God Of Lies”, allowing you to loop this fairly short album over and over again, to give yourself a truly ‘deranged headtrip’. It’s a damned shame they called it quits after the first album, but losing the vocalist is always hard for a band whose music was made so perfect through that medium. This album is one that should be on every prog noob’s list and should go down in history as one of the best albums of the virgin years of djent.

Inter

Back in 2009, djent was this upcoming internet phenomenon full of life and energy, long before perpetual repetition and uninspired interpretation sucked every excitement out of it. A young band from Amsterdam, Netherlands released their debut album around this time. Welcome to CiliCe‘s only album, Deranged Headtrip.

Deranged Headtrip is an extremely well-written and fascinating piece of music, drawing inspiration from Meshuggah, Nine Inch Nails, Fear Factory, Gojira, Mnemic, Textures, and more. The production is bit rough around the edges, but to a charming degree, so it sounds way more organic and warm than many modern ‘djenty’ productions. If you are one of the poeple who never heard of this band, you might find that the vocals sound oddly familiar. The guy behind the mic is no one else than Daniël de Jongh, who left CiliCe in 2010 to join, you guessed it, the mighty Textures. So you can bet your eye on it, the vocals are one of the biggest selling points of this record.

To get more into detail about what to expect from this record and why we highlight it within A Scene In Retrospect, you have to talk about the symbiosis of great songwriting, energy and the amazing vocal performance. De Jongh’s ability to jump between punchy screams and powerful clean sining extol each and every song, and I can’t praise his performance enough. Besides that, the band managed to arrange compelling grooves, interesting soundscapes and fascinating melodies, while giving each song a distinct and uniqe identity, culminating in a diverse but homogenous character for Deranged Headtrip.

This album will always be an insider’s tip, an ‘under-the-radar’ record, so if you haven’t had the chance to check it out yet, I’m desperately recommending it to you.

That’s all for now! What are your thoughts on Deranged Headtrip? Also, are there any records in particular that you think deserve a spot on this feature? Let us know in the comments! See you back here in fourteen days for another long overdue review! Until then, stay safe, and as always…

…thanks for reading!

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