Cattle Decapitation - _Karma Bloody Karma_
(Metal Blade, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (7.5 out of 10)
Calling themselves something as flagrantly cartoonish as Cattle Decapitation was never going to endear this Stateside quartet to the underground's more cynical element. Yet for all the sceptics writing the band off as another gore-grind also-ran, their previous outing undoubtedly had a certain edge, and it wasn't just the somewhat controversial cover art either. Cattle Decapitation, for all the inevitable comparisons to Carcass and Cannibal Corpse that have dogged them since their inception, revealed a knack for layering dense, complicated melodies over a typically brutal death metal maelstrom on _Humanure_ that made them that extra bit more interesting than the average blood 'n' guts outfit.

This unorthodox assonance has been retained to varying degrees on _Karma Bloody Karma_, but the real focal point here is the headlong return to the unhinged bludgeoning of Cattle Decapitation's early releases. Whether this is the result of natural progression (or regression, as the case may be) or a conscious decision on the band's part to ramp up the metallic savagery is anyone's guess, but for duration of the first half of the record at least, constantly changing rhythms and a sustained aural bulldozing dominates proceedings almost entirely. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; the breakdown on "Success Is... (Hanging by the Neck)" and the off-beat chugging that closes "Suspended in Coprolite" are just two of the record's numerous highpoints. The album's puzzling and oddly disturbing finale equally demonstrates ably that the band have certainly not decided to shrink away from experimentation altogether.

By no stretch of the imagination is this is a perfect album: there are far too many instances where it seems as though the band are playing heavy purely for the sake of being so, and on more than one occasion the songs seem to blast along aimlessly. What remains more certain than ever though is that Cattle Decapitation -- firing on all cylinders -- can be a massively intriguing prospect, and were they to produce a record of more consistency, they'd be coasting the upper echelons of death metal before you can say "necroticism".


(article published 31/5/2006)

8/13/2012 J Carbon 8.5 Cattle Decapitation - Monolith of Inhumanity
8/11/2004 J Smit 7.5 Cattle Decapitation - Humanure
5/27/2003 J Smit 6.5 Cattle Decapitation - To Serve Man
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