Cattle Decapitation is about as extreme as extreme metal gets for better or worse. With the sharp, raspy vocal stylings of Travis Ryan to the progressive-type guitar licks from Josh Elmore to the pounding drumwork of Dave McGraw, they have all of the elements of what makes an extreme metal band pretty awesome.
The down side to this review is that I am not a fan of Cattle Decapitation though. While I appreciate the technicality of their work, I am not a fan of the vocals, nor am I a fan of their in-your-face, holier than thou veganism stance. Hey, I am fine with someone being a vegan. I, myself, go vegetarian every once in a while for one reason or another, but I would never think of preaching my views to anyone. Cattle Decapitation does not seem to mind though. With all of that being said, how can you really write 7 albums on how evil meateaters are? Somehow, they managed to find a way.
Yes, Monolith of Inhumanity is the seventh release from San Diego extreme metal band Cattle Decapitation, who at every turn, push the envelope of extreme with practically every song. Boundaries mean nothing to Cattle Decapitation and they break them down every chance they get. Like I said before, they are technically sound and tight as hell.
Overall, fans of Cattle Decapitation will no doubt love Monolith of Inhumanity as it is not much different than much of their catalog, but of course, that means that they are still pushing the same boundaries that they have already done 6 times. Love them or hate them, Cattle Decapitation is back.
Cattle Decapitation Lineup:
Travis Ryan – vocals
Josh Elmore – guitar
Dave McGraw – drums
Derek Engemann – bass
You donâ€™t name your band CATTLE DECAPITATION if youâ€™re looking to subtly insinuate your way into the consciousness of the masses. Equally, unleashing some of the most intense, horrifying, and extreme metal known to mankind will not ingratiate you with those of a sensitive nature, for the San Dieganâ€™s boundary-pushing music is designed to turn heads and snap necks, and not necessarily in that order. Returning with their seventh full-length, the devastating Monolith Of Inhumanity, the band have never sounded more focused, more aggressive, or more determined to get in the faces of those who erroneously believe they have already experienced the band at their extreme best. â€œOne of the main things this band has done since the very beginning was to try to break tradition and break the mold of whatâ€™s acceptable, in any given genre weâ€™re working in,â€ states vocalist Travis Ryan. â€œIâ€™m really happy that with this record weâ€™ve been able to successfully push those boundaries further than we ever have, and without going into the â€˜suckâ€™ realm or sounding contrived. Weâ€™ve gone so far out on a limb on this one, and Iâ€™m just ecstatic that weâ€™ve pulled off what we were trying to achieve.â€
This achievement stands as one of the most volatile, ambitious, and impossible to aptly categorize records you will hear in 2012. Dragging their ever-evolving deathgrind sound kicking and screaming into the epic territory inhabited by the likes of Dimmu Borgir and Anaal Nathrakh, the quartet redefine all perceptions of what CATTLE DECAPITATION is. â€œThe mindset of this band has always been abrasive and balls to the wall, and like a car accident where thereâ€™s no fucking stopping it. Throwing melodic vocals or guitar work â€“ or dare we say catchy elements â€“ into that is tantalizing,â€ says Ryan. That such elements have been woven sparingly into their turbulent racket does not mean the band have in any way diminished the sheer visceral impact they are known for. â€œThere can be hooks and catchiness without compromising what the band â€“ or any individual in the band â€“ is all about,â€ asserts guitarist Josh Elmore. â€œHaving these elements at our disposal is just another tool with which we can build the best songs that we can. It was great also having input from Derek (Engemann, bass, who makes his writing and recording debut with this album), who added some new dynamics to some of the songs. We also spent a lot of time thinking about structure on this record, wanting every moment to count, no matter what the tone of it was.â€ After one exposure to Monolith Of Inhumanity itâ€™s evident that these more melodic elements truly enhance the power of the tracks, and make for a more diverse and involving collection. On â€œA Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meatâ€ the band unleash a chorus that manages to be hideous and infectious at the same time, while the towering â€œYour Disposalâ€ and â€œLifestalkerâ€ wield sweeping, dramatic sections tinged with apocalyptic fury, which are all the more gripping for the inclusion of Ryanâ€™s melodic shrieking. â€œI was waiting for the guys to write parts I could use that kind of melody on, and as soon as they played me â€œYour Disposalâ€ I dropped the song I was working on and just went for it,â€ enthuses Ryan. â€œThis is the first record where I really listened to what the fans were saying they wanted, and many of them wanted a lot more of those weird, epic, melodic parts that crept into The Harvest Floor (2009), and Iâ€™m like okay, done, because luckily I agree with you this time!â€
As with all of the bandâ€™s releases, Monolith Of Inhumanity revolves around a central concept, building upon Ryanâ€™s potent distaste for contemporary civilization and the damage wrought in the name of progress. â€œWhereas The Harvest Floor focused on sort of rounding up the populace and getting rid of them, this record is about what would happen had we let them go. Itâ€™s about where humanity will end up if it continues the course itâ€™s on,â€ the vocalist explains. This concept, inspired in part by 2001: A Space Odyssey, is once again captured in the cover art by longtime collaborator Wes Benscoter, depicting a bleak apocalyptic future and the regression of mankind into apes. â€œThe monolith really represents technology, and the coverâ€™s this trash heap with the monolith atop it and humans scavenging all around it, because thatâ€™s all theyâ€™re able to do any more. Itâ€™s where weâ€™re headed on the course weâ€™re on, and yeah, a lot of kids will say thatâ€™s a really negative, shitty attitude to have, but is it not correct?â€
In realizing the record, the quartet â€“ rounded out by drummer Dave McGraw â€“ travelled to Denver, Colorado to collaborate with producer Dave Otero (Allegaeon, Cephalic Carnage). â€œDave brought really good performances out of everybody, and he gave the record a lot of clarity while the heaviness is still there,â€ states Elmore, though it was the producerâ€™s suggestions on how to better flesh out the songs that made the most profound difference in the guitaristâ€™s eyes. â€œThe guy really knows what heâ€™s doing. I do a lot of layering after the basic rhythm track, and if I came to a point where I wasnâ€™t sure about something someone would always pipe up and say you realize everything Dave has suggested so far has worked? Try it!â€ he laughs. That the record is as accomplished as it is also belies the fact that the schedules of the members made it difficult for them to focus on writing it over the year they had allotted. â€œAs it turns out we work really well under pressure,â€ Ryan says with a wry smile. â€œBut we were all so busy itâ€™s literally a wonder that we got it done at all in that year, let alone what we came out with. It makes me feel like weâ€™re capable of anything, and thatâ€™s really a new development.â€
The visual aspect of their output having always been important to them, the band are enthused to have the album released as a gatefold vinyl, and to have Tom Bunk, creator of The Garbage Pail Kids collectors cards from the 1980s, design cards for the individual members of the band, which will be available with pre-orders. â€œCollecting those cards was one of my favorite things when I was a kid, and our friend and ex-manager is a complete nerd about it and has known Tom Bunk for years, and put us in touch with him. This is an older guy that doesnâ€™t have to be fucking around with some deathgrind band who isnâ€™t going to push him to new heights, but he thought it sounded like a fun project and he was very cool about everything. It still hasnâ€™t really hit me that we quite literally have our own Garbage Pail Kid cards!â€ Ryan grins. â€œThe funny thing is that it also inadvertently ties right into the theme of the record, which has so much focus on garbage and waste. It didnâ€™t even occur to me until months later, but thatâ€™s the beauty of this band, things happen for a reason. For instance, for the first time, going into this record I didnâ€™t have the whole concept worked out in my head. Usually I have it in mind as much as a few years before we get around to making the record, and I need that, it has to make sense to me or itâ€™s just not going to work. I was so scared it just wasnâ€™t going to come, but one day it literally just hit me. The title, the concept, the cover, all of it, and suddenly everything fell into place, and now itâ€™s done I think this is the first time weâ€™ve all been one hundred percent proud of what weâ€™ve created â€“ and for good reason.â€
Bio by Dan Slessor