CD REVIEW Cattle Decapitation

Band: Cattle Decapitation
Title: Monolith Of Inhumanity
Label: Metal Blade Records
Distribution: Rough Trade Benelux – Tone Entertainment
Release date: 04/05/2012
Review: CD

Album # 7 by Californian quartet Cattle Decapitation. With a new bass player (Derek Engemann). Produced by Dave Otero (think many ‘c-acts’: Catheter, Clinging To The Trees Of A Forest Fire, Cephalic Carnage, Cobalt).
Goes on where The Harvest Floor left off. Meaning: more diversified and experimental than ‘back then’, and at the same time somewhat catchier and not that intensively brutalised. Eleven tracks, nicely balancing in between three and five minutes each (forty three minutes in totality).
Duration: forty three terrifying minutes…

When I read about this band, and reviewers doing a review, I can differentiate three opposites: those who liked the earliest years, those who were crazy about the band’s mid-2000’s era, and those who like the band as from their latest work on. Even though I am not completely allergic to the first two options, I am for sure a ‘fan’ (bah, I do detest this word) of Cattle Decapitated’s 2009-release The Harvest Floor. Why? In comparison to the past, there was more structural magnificence and less senseless chaos. When it comes to this successor of The Harvest Floor, one cannot but admit: this album is some perfectionisation of the trodden path. And this goes for several aspects.

When it comes to the sound, well, the production is just superb. This kind of primal Grindcore / grinding Blast-Death Metal needs both intensity and distortion, and that’s exactly what the production is like. All details (read: every single instrument) is perfectly balanced, and each member’s contribution comes in ideal equilibration. Respect for Dave Otero! And then, the musical (= instrumental + vocal /// performance + song writing) description… As mentioned, Monolith Of Humanity goes on in the vein of its predecessor, rather than any other effort. Of course, but that was the case as well with the former full length, Cattle Decapitation do not ‘betray’ their roots, by still combining blood-dripping and torturous Death Metal with festering and pyroclastic Grind-eruptions, and by a subtle yet ingeniously lyrical continuation (!). But the ‘song’ structures are operated with accrued craftsmanship for sure. I wanted to give a short description of each song individually, but it’s no use, it’s superfluous; the whole package stands as a monolith. …even though it gets better towards the end. The main speed is, of course, balancing in between lightning-fast and blasting, yet more than ones the band decelerates into mid- to slow-tempo parts, yet without lacking energy or dynamism. The variation, or whatever you will call it, has grown too. The vocal lines have always been diverse, but Travis Ryan has almost never been this distinctive in vocal timbres. The same goes for several other aspects: slower moments, melodic leads, or groovy rhythms, to name but a handful or possibilities. It’s less disgusting, yet more weird than the first efforts, and one might like that enormously. I, for sure, do.

Pre-finally this: Cattle Decapitation do work with several guests on their recordings. In this album’s case it is not different. What to think about a contribution by the complete Cephalic Carnage-crew (on opener The Carbon Stampede) or Devourment’s Mike Majewski?

And definitely finally: hungry for some fresh piece of red meat too?...


Ivan Tibos.