Cattle Decapitation: Monolith of Inhumanity

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Cattle Decapitation: Monolith of Inhumanity
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Cattle Decapitation: Monolith of Inhumanity
Grindcore, Progressive Death Metal
Metal Blade Records
May 8th, 2012
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Cattle Decapitation return with their latest Metal Blade Records licensed album, Monolith of Inhumanity. This marks the group’s fifth full-length since 2002’s To Serve Man. After a strong burst of feedback from fans to their lead single, “A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat,” it was obvious that this was something each dedicated member of their fanbase would pick up come day one. But, is it really worth rushing out to buy?

The production of Monolith of Inhumanity is a bit too high in pitch while sporting a decent modern edge. Right off the bat you notice how fantastic the drums are. The bass kicks have a loud click to them that resonates over everything else in the mix, matching the tighter hollow output of the snares and the crashing cymbals that hold a great impact on the listener with the entire recording. The often chaotic guitars have a nice heaviness to them with a mid-range quality that is enhanced because of the higher sound of the release, but it does hurt things a bit as a deeper tone would greatly benefit these songs. The bass is also pretty apparent, really trying its best to keep this offering grounded, which it does well enough. The vocals are a mid-range guttural for the most part, almost matching the pitch of the guitars, and often go into a background wailing that comes off like the squeeling of pigs that suits the atmosphere.

While the music doesn’t quite have the deeper, ominous bite that you would hope, it does still have a bit of a grotesque and sinister tone thanks to some of the Progressive elements and the production giving things more of a yellowed toxic mental picture. Right from the start, Cattle Decapitation hits the listeners with intense, fast paced Grindcore fused Death Metal, but not always executing the shifts in style and speed well enough to maintain the flow. “A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat” is the perfect example, really hammering this approach into the listener the second it starts with machine gun-like bass kicks, chaotic guitar chords, and equally fast snares and cymbol crashes. The chorus slows down the madness for a more traditional Death Metal performance with the haunting squeeling yet harmonized vocals in the background. “The Carbon Stampede” also goes off in this sort of manner, but it finds more Progressive influences at play outside the high speed fury of some sections. There are plenty of areas, as well as in the chorus, that go into an infectious groove with a mid-tempo pace that makes headbanging a mandate, closing with a breakdown that chugs away at the guitars with layered growls that kicks right into the Grindcore-heavy “Dead Set on Suicide.”

While the start of this release introduces itself as having little to no break between songs, it isn’t something that holds up, which is sad given how good it sounds when a new track opens with a faster introduction, or a blast beat fueled one. “Gristle Licker” is the perfect example, but there’s some hestitation at the start. The rest of the song doesn’t really stick with the blasting foundation established early on, and in fact carries more of a mid-pace groove to it with Death Metal chords that really hook the listener, and slower passages with Progressive Metal chords that end up introducing an atmosphere that feels like it’s taking your hand for some kind of Space Rock journey. Instead, it crashes down with the dismal, slower pace that seems to want to tread back into breakdown territory, but doesn’t quite. This is also one of the longest tracks, clocking in just over five minutes, and admittedly half way through you get the point and would have been happy had it ended. “Your Disposal” is a whole other beast, perfectly blending in blast beast and crushing Death Metal with better transitions than the first half of the album, but “Kingdom of Tyrants” finds the same problems “Gristle Licker” had, except with a slow introduction track setting it up right before.

It’s actually the Death Metal driven tracks that really stand out the most. Yes, the fast and furious grinding throughout is simply awe-inspiring at the levels it can reach, but the madness never really seems to add anything to the atmosphere that the Progressive elements give off, or even transition well enough to keep the listener attentive. “Projectile Ovulation” and “Lifestalker” are easily two of the best found on the entire recording, and it’s largely due to how well it all flows together. These utilize pulse pounding Death Metal, but also has some well timed grinding sections, all making head banging madatory once more, something that was lacking in other tracks that tried to push the more creative elements of songs like “Gristle Licker” a little too far. “Do Not Resuscitate” and “Your Disposal” also hit the listener hard with some extra blasting utilized, but again the shifting between the two extremes feels more natural to the song than just randomly jerking from one terrain to another. These are just songs that go straight for the juggular with heavy, balls-out Metal. “Lifestalker,” however, has a much slower piece that uses the distorted, distant vocals mentioned in other spots to it’s advantage and really brings in an emotionally jerking and haunting piece while higher rasps come into play in other passages, mixing with the deeper gutterals and command, aggressive chords, leaving a memorable imprint on the listener that rivals “A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat.”

Monoth of Inhumanity is good, but from “Project Ovulation” until “Your Disposel,” it’s great. These four songs make you wish Cattle Decapitation would drop the insane Progressive knee-jerk changes between blast beats and groovey Death Metal, and just stick with the latter and focus on seemless transitions between it and the Grindcore influences. This effort ends up being way too chaotic and cluttered at times to really enjoy what’s going on, but the speed that the band reaches, especially the drummer, is definitely something to marvel at. If you’re a fan of the band, you’re not going to pass this one up, but chances are good you might be a little put off thanks to that lighter pitch in the audio, the lack of flow in many songs, and just how little the sinister or haunting tones of the material actually is utilized. But, with that said, there’s still plenty of replay value here, but still worth sampling before hand since some songs will grow tiring after a little while. Although drummers, or fans of what that instrument brings to the table, will definitely find enough reasons to come back despite that flaw.

Overall Score: 7/10

01. The Carbon Stampede – 3:44
02. Dead Set on Suicide – 3:23
03. A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat – 3:03
04. Forced Gender Reassignment – 4:00
05. Gristle Licker – 5:02
06. Projectile Ovulation – 3:36
07. Lifestalker – 4:22
08. Do Not Resuscitate – 3:23
09. Your Disposal – 4:55
10. The Monolith – 3:44
11. Kingdom of Tyrants – 4:58



Digital review copy of this release provided by Metal Blade Records.