Cattle Decapitation

Monolith of Inhumanity

01. The Carbon Stampede
02. Dead Set On Suicide
03. A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat
04. Gristle Licker
05. Forced Gender Reassignment
06. Projectile Ovulation
07. Lifestalker
08. Do Not Resuscitate
09. Your Disposal
10. The Monolith
11. Kingdom of Tyrants

[05/08/12]
[Metal Blade Records]

We’ve been saying it for the last couple of months; 2012 is the year of death metal in its many varied forms. Many highly anticipated titles on the horizon were met with either pleasant surprise or completely fulfilled hype. There was some uncertainty for the pending release of Cattle Decapitation‘s latest offering Monolith of Inhumanity, however. 2009′s The Harvest Floor failed to ruffle any feathers in this listener in the long term, which isn’t a shock coming from someone who wasn’t a fan of death metal at the time, let alone the grizzly theatrics of this particular San Diego-based deathgrind act. Tastes have since changed and bands have since evolved, culminating in Monolith of Inhumanity ultimately becoming a must listen and a favorite around these parts. This is truly an album to behold.

Monolith of Inhumanity, the band’s seventh studio album, sees the return and continuance of the lyrical themes that have been present throughout Cattle Decapitation’s career in their contempt for the meat industry and consumption of flesh. Cattle Decapitated have always been aware enough to avoid crossing the line between having a respectable political and moral stance and being overly preachy about it, something that is a bit of a no-no in death metal. As always, it’s used to their advantage with a clear and present concept, brutal lyrics and subject matter, and disgusting imagery. No less should be expected.

This record does step forward in some aspects when considering overall accessibility, melodic delivery, and progression. Make no mistake, despite the glossy sound of Monolith of Inhumanity and a greater number of hooks, this record is as disgusting as its cover forebodes. With production that absolutely blows The Harvest Floor out of the water, Cattle Decapitation managed making brutal deathgrind into something strangely accessible and listenable in a primal cathartic sort of way. The bursts of violence and aggression throughout Monolith of Inhumanity are absolutely exhilarating. This is known right out of the gate with opener ‘The Carbon Stampede’; the chaos of technical guitars and blasting drums are performed with razor-like precision and produced with absolute clarity. It’s nice when the music can be performed with such speed and brutality and avoid being lost is a mess of muddy distortion.

Songs like ‘A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat‘ and ‘Lifestalker’ feature the oddly delivered snarling vocal hooks from Travis Ryan, who gives an absurdly varied and diverse performance, with the latter track boasting a soaring and melodic guitar solo, which is a bit of an oddity. Sure, Monolith of Inhumanity captures the utmost brutality and challenging extremities of metal, but Cattle Decapitation aren’t just confrontational for the sake of it; there’s the aforementioned lyrical grounds as well as a real musical standpoint. Grindcore is often the antithesis of musical composition in both songwriting and philosophy, but Cattle Decapitation focuses their many influences into something much more constructive and mature. They even have bouts of prog shine through, notably in ‘Gristle Licker‘ and ‘Do Not Resuscitate.’ They’re not quite as out there with the prog as their contemporaries in Cephalic Carnage, but it’s starting to show. Yes, progressive deathgrind is starting to become an actual thing.

Cattle Decapitation manages to get better with every album in their career, and Monolith of Inhumanity is no exception. In fact, Monolith of Inhumanity sees the band at their peak performance, no doubt their opus at this point in their careers. They’ve captured such a broad scope as well, managing to be both brutally challenging and strangely accessible, something that really is hard to capture in this genre. Those that have previously written off Cattle Decapitation based on their earlier works may need to give Monolith of Inhumanity a chance, because this record is easily one of the best death metal records you’ll hear all year.

Cattle Decapitation – Monolith of Inhumanity gets…

4.5/5

- JR