Cattle Decapitation - _Monolith of Inhumanity_
(Metal Blade Records, 2012)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (8.5 out of 10)
I do not think I would have listened to Cattle Decapitation's newest record if it were not for the insistence of one friend. Deathgrind, for me, has never been a first choice listening experience. While I am sure the style has had its share of paramount releases, I have never been able to breach its noisy chaotic exterior. This is, of course, except for the occasional releases which have gained prominence as a crossover success. Cephalic Carnage's _Lucid Interval_ and Pig Destroyer's _Phantom Limb_ entered into the sub-mainstream lexicon for their ability to not only experiment but bring a wild tenacity to people not familiar with deathgrind. I think the same thing could be said about the new Cattle Decapitation record. While I may only listen to deathgrind like I attend family reunions, for that moment I am excited to have my face peeled away from its muscle and bone.

I at least know that the members of Cattle Decapitation are militant vegetarians who incorporate those lifestyle views within the whirlwind of glass which are passed as records. An interesting angle on gore and violence is the depiction of humans in place of animals in slaughterhouses and testing facilities. This leads to a career built on gross song titles and even grosser album covers. If they are not gross, they are just silly. Perhaps this is why I was hesitant about the band's eighth record _Monolith of Inhumanity_. While the cover is leagues better than _Karma, Bloody Karma_ or _To Serve Man_, it still retains an air of juvenile fantasy. This preconception contributed to my ultimate surprise, as the band's newest record is not only one of the best in their career, it also makes a strong run for best album of the year.

Much like _Phantom Limb_ and _ Lucid Interval_, _Monolith of Inhumanity_ works best because of its dynamic nature. While there are certainly moments of pure noise terror, the tempo and pressure fluctuate, allowing the listener to be enjoy the carnage which unfolds. A considerable addition to Cattle Decapitation's sound is Travis Ryan's vocal variation. Toggling between shrieks, growls and throaty singing, the diversity in the voice is perhaps one of the most engaging aspects of the record. This of course is helped when the music follows closely in tow.

_Monolith of Inhumanity_ strikes the balance between unrelenting chaos and organized structure. It also never allows any part to run for too long. The wailing chorus in "Your Disposal" works so well because it is used sparingly. Cattle Decapitation have proved themselves to be a band with enough material for a varied and surprising record. With hidden moments of remarkable horror, _Monolith of Inhumanity_ quickly rises to the top of the discarded bone pile. I'll even take the silly album cover for the win.

Perhaps I am being too optimistic in calling this a pop record. I didn't even say that. Stop speaking for me. "A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat" and "Kingdom of Tyrants" were certainly advertised as singles and have the potential to intrigue and bade listeners into buying the record, yet I am unsure whether or not they posses pop sensibilities. They are catchy in their own way, and most of all memorable. I really shouldn't be reviewing records because I do not know what everyone else likes. Are POGs still popular? I think I have burned out fuses in my aesthetics and this is what passes for accessible. Fuck it. I wouldn't want it any other way.

(article published 13/8/2012)


ALBUMS
5/31/2006 J Smit 7.5 Cattle Decapitation - Karma Bloody Karma
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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