Cerebral Fix flew beneath the radar in the wider metal world, but those who happened to discover this band still talk of them fondly. Their sound was uncompromisingly heavy, coming from the same school of hard knocks as the better known Bolt Thrower and Benediction, throwing a big dose of UKHC attitude into a death/doom mix. Many bands played fast because that’s what was expected of them, and as a result, the music suffered. Often, the musicians simply weren’t nimble enough to play at high velocity. Whether Cerebral Fix played slower than other bands due to lack of skill or because that’s the way they always intended to play matters little. What it did mean was that the music pounded hard and heavy. With Cerebral Fix, you’re not going to get songs about titties n’ beer, and the music matches the thought provoking lyrics. There is somewhat of a political slant here, although not near as radical as the likes of Extreme Noise Terror. Fantasy also features strongly, but then issues like environmental damage and drug addiction are also tackled. Most disturbing is ‘Ritual Abuse’, with the lyrics on ritualised child abuse enough to make your spine tingle. Lead off track ‘Bastards’ plays similar to Bolt Thrower’s ‘Through the Ages’, in that it is basically an instrumental with a spoken word list recited under it. The bastards are us. While the doom/death sound was never heavier, the Fix’s punk roots were showing. The last quarter of the album is made up of an early song re-recorded and a couple of covers. ‘Maimed to Beg’ came from Cerebral Fix’s first hard-to-find album, and has more of a hardcore feel than the rest of the album. It still grinds like a motherfucker though. GBH’s ‘No Survivors’ has a different feel again. The almost straight forward cover of The Damned’s ‘Smash It Up’ features Wolfsbane’s pre-Maiden Blaze Bayley on vocals, fucking about for all he was worth. For anyone who has never quite understood where bands like Cerebral Fix or Bolt Thrower evolved from, this little threesome highlights the steps along the way. There’s some heavy stuff here, both physically and emotionally, but there is also a bit of fun. It’s a microcosm of life. OK, so things can be serious and shitty at times, but there always has to be a bit of space to blow off steam. ‘Bastards’ is a buried treasure to be savoured.