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Cattle Decapitation
August 2004
Released: 2004, Metal Blade
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

Alas, being a fan of all things containing meat, the members of Cattle Decapitation would most likely want to pummel me (or at the very least show me all sorts of nasty pictures and PETA pamphlets). The band are devout vegans (no animal products of ANY sort) and their lyrics reflect those beliefs. On their second Metal Blade release, HUMANURE, Cattle Decapitation has continued on the tradition of preaching the evils of meat consumption and giving a bit of a physiology lesson at the same time. Their death/gore/grind aural attack is not for everyone and while they maintain a level of humor, the monothematic lyrics and lecturing can get a bit old. The cover art of a cow standing over a fresh pile of shit filled with human faces, hands and skulls caused the Germans to ban the CD outright, but lyrics like “The human, so may uses, once drained of its juices, perfect for home, boat or office” will surely tickle your funny bone. If you are a headbanger who is disgusted at the thought of wearing leather or eating a juicy burger, Cattle Decapitation must be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but for the rest of us, HUMANURE can (pardon the pun) leave a bad taste in your mouth. That aside, the musicianship is excellent, with Josh Elmore’s stellar guitar riffs and solos encompassing each track. New drummer Michael Laughlin beats out some thunderous double bass and Travis Ryan’s vocals are double tracked for maximum guttural fortitude. For long-time fans, former guitarist Gabe Serbian and original vocalist/guitarist Scott Miller make guest appearances on HUMANURE, too.

“Reduced To Paste” is a myriad of frantic drumming, squealing guitars and gurgling vocals but it also boasts a cool groove at times. The hilariously titled “Bukkake Tsunami” continues the offensive but the most nauseating read has to be the lyrics of “Cloacula: The Anthropophagic Copromantik,” which puts a whole new spin on the term “shit eating grin.” The song is relentless but for the love of God…shit eating?!?!? Much of Cattle Decapitation’s lyrics seem to chastise humans for one thing or another, but “The Earthling” and “Lips & Assholes” are the most overt in their criticisms. Openly condemning blind faith whenever we open a package from the butcher and ripe social commentary are the order of the day here. This is extreme stuff and certainly one-sided but the most horrific statement the band makes is on the last track. At nearly ten minutes in length, “Men Before Swine” is an exercise in patience as the entire track consists of white noise that is occasionally interrupted by the sound of pigs squealing. Even at less than half its length, this would have sufficed but there is nothing new or extra after three minutes.

Cattle Decapitation has secured their own niche in the death metal scene and their live shows are reportedly something of legend. On HUMANURE, they have stepped things up a notch over 2002’s TO SERVE MAN, with better production and far better songwriting. I am curious to see what Cattle Decapitation can do next because these guys do more than just hammer out 35 minutes of metal. They have a message—one that I don’t necessarily agree with—and if they can change a few people’s opinions and save an animal from the BBQ, so be it.

KILLER KUTS: “Reduced To Paste,” “The Earthling,” “Lips & Assholes”
Track Listing

1. Scatology Domine (Intro)
2. Humanure
3. Reduced To Paste
4. Bukkake Tsunami
5. Cloacula: The Anthropophagic Copromantik
6. Chummified
7. Applied Human Defragmentation
8. The Earthling
9. Polyps
10. Lips & Assholes
11. Men Before Swine (Outro)


Travis Ryan—Vocals
Josh Elmore—Guitar
Troy Oftedal—Bass
Michael Laughlin—Drums

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