Returning with their fifth album for Metal Blade Records are the mighty Cattle Decapitation. As the name implies, this music is beyond brutal. Blastbeats, disgusting vocals, and filthy riffs were all over their last release, and their new album continues that trend. As brutal as this style of music is, I’ve always felt that is its major flaw. The best death metal bands were able to write things that were both memorable and heavy. Unfortunately, way too much modern death metal is excessively technical and lacks the songwriting of their influences. On “Monolith of Inhumanity”, the band straddles the line between being monotonous and having a lasting impact.
The album kicks off with “The Carbon Stampede”, which features a number of guest vocalists. There’s no doubt that there are others singing, but Travis Ryan’s normal vocals are so insane and demented that it’s pretty difficult to discern which vocalist is really screaming at any one time. Speaking of Ryan’s vocals, he’s added a lot of clean singing this time. Maybe clean isn’t the best word for it; it’s somewhat nasally (think Mark Shelton from Manilla Road). It’s exactly what you would expect would happen when a death metal vocalist tries to sing. This melodicism is no more apparent than on the lead single, “A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat”. This tune is far and away the best of the album. Another standout is the epic “Your Disposal”. The opening riff of this song is one of the more atmospheric moments of the album, and is a reminder of part of “The Gardeners of Eden” from the last album. It is the combination of epic riffing and clean vocals that make this album worth coming back to. There is definitely a lot brutality, and I have nothing against that, but it helps to mix things up once in a while. Cattle Decapitation seems to have found a good balance, and the aforementioned tracks are the best examples. Once again, the band used the title track as a proverbial “calm before the storm”. It’s pretty atmospheric but does an excellent job at setting up the closer, “Kingdom of Tyrants”.
While I did enjoy this album, I can’t help but feel that this band has a lot more potential. Some fans may feel shafted by the introduction of newer vocals, but those help to keep this album from being one giant blur. Still, old fans should enjoy this; the band didn’t take things easy at all, they just added a new element to their already potent formula. There’s still plenty of double bass, blastbeats, chugging, tremolo picking, and of course, the completely ridiculous and backwards styles of vocals that Travis Ryan somehow emits.
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“A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat”
3.75/5 or 75%
Written by Scott