I've never really paid close attention to Cattle Decapitation before, even though they're a long-running deathgrind outfit with quite a few albums under their belts. Sure, I always commended them for their social message - their songs mostly speak against the consumption of animals and environmental and animal abuse - even though I don't share their eating habits (all the band's members are vegetarian, so they really practice what they preach). But I didn't really have my radar on for their music, so it all passed right by me, except for a few songs off The Harvest Floor.
Their 2012 record, however, entitled Monolith of Inhumanity, has been gathering quite a bit of hype prior to launch, with the band slowly trickling away songs from the album and various studio reports covering the recording process. Like every good sheep, I also fell prey to the buzz - hence these lines of text.
Things are different on Monolith of Inhumanity, though, starting with the cover art, which no longer depicts cows and slaughterhouses, but a wonderfully gruesome pack of cannibalistic apes, with a disfigured half-man half-primate up front and a 2011: A Space Odyssey-style monolith in the background. It's an artwork that instantly draws the eye and compels you to check out the music. And boy, you're in for a treat! From start to finish, this album is an extreme crash course in everything great deathgrind should be. All the songs are varied, well-structured, insane hurricanes of chainsaw guitar riffs, super tight drumming and some of the best vocals in the biz, courtesy of vocalist Travis Ryan. This guy really is the icing on this cake, as his vocals run the whole range from ultra low gutturals to pissed off, thrash metal barks to high-pitched, spine-chilling shrieks. There's a definite catchiness on this album too, as the band chose to incorporate lots of sing-along choruses on songs like The Carbon Stampede and A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat. Also worth mentioning are the artist cameos, as the album features guest vocals by Devourment's Mike Majewski, Cephalic Carnage vocalist Lenard Leal and the Cephalic Carnage Community Men's Choir.
I haven't really had a chance to listen to Monolith of Inhumanity as much as I would have liked, but I'm already digging it a lot and it'll probably make its way to my 2012 best-of list. There's just so much to be excited about here. Cattle Decapitation have really outdone themselves on their latest album and have proven that they can easily break the mold and present us with something new and different. And I love it. If you don't love it, you should feel bad because you're a bad person.
Also, Travis Ryan seems like a pretty sweet dude.