If four dudes who hated me decided to start a band that embodied as many things I dislike about death metal as possible, that band would probably bear a strong resemblance to Cattle Decapitation. Breakdowns? Check. Pig squeal vocals? Yup. Masturbatory “technical” guitar parts? Those too. And don’t even get me started on the pushy, militant veganism. To say that clashes with my personal lifestyle would be an understatement. But whether I like it or not, Cattle Decapitation is back with their 7th full-length, Monolith of Humanity. [I feel like you’re not being very objective, FAG. – AMG]
As much as I enjoy me some death metal, bands like Cattle Decapitation remind me of hot sauce. Not the kind that adds flavor and spice, but the stuff with names like “Burning Colon” or “Death Sentence” and a picture of a fiery skull on the bottle. People may be eating that stuff, but they’re doing it to prove a point, not to make their food taste good. I get the impression that most Cattle Decap fans are in it for the vegan message and the perceived heaviness, not because it’s musically interesting or because it has a lot of replay value.
Seven albums in, and the band is still doing what they do, bringing the death-grind metal fury while telling you how gross slaughterhouses are (clearly, these guys have never seen how soy is made). However, there’s some minor changes this time around. New bassist Derek Engemann can certainly play, and he slaps the shit out of that bass to make sure you know it. I think he even busts out part of the Seinfeld theme in one of these tracks. Vocalist Travis Ryan sounds as br00tal as ever, but also experiments with some clean vocals on this album. I wouldn’t say his singing voice sounds ‘good’—it’s digitally enhanced to the point where he sort of sounds like a children’s choir from hell—but it at least keeps things interesting.
For the most part, this album is 40 straight minutes of wall-to-wall chaos, with few exceptions. “Monolith” is a sort of slow ambient/spoken word piece towards the end of the record, and “Your Disposal” flirts with an almost-melodic intro. A few riffs and sections stand out from the pack (notably “Gristle Licker” and “Lifestalker”), but it’s mostly a blur. Oh, and “Forced Gender Reassignment” is a fucking great name for a song.
What else can I possibly tell you about this album? That it’s “a non-stop brutal assault that doesn’t let up?” Because that’s the truth, for better or for worse. It’s fucking Cattle Decapitation. If you’ve ever heard them before, you pretty much know what you’re getting here. I can’t really give this album a bad rating – it is exactly what it was intended to be, and I can’t be pissed off because it doesn’t sound like Testament or whatever. It is what it is. This will make a great soundtrack for bros beating each other’s asses in the pit, all while denying themselves the taste of delicious animal products.