August 11, 2006 | , | 4.5

Cattle Decapitation, Karma. Bloody. Karma

What goes around, comes around — delivered in the form of death metal and grindcore fueled chaos. On previous releases, Cattle Decapitation‘s message was one dimensional as was the band’s delivery. Humans are shit and worth less than the tastey meat we slaughter for food. After seeing a good deal of progression with their last effort, Humanure, the band takes it another step further.

Both the lyrical message and delivery show a more refined and mature chaotic attack on the senses. Vocalist Travis Ryan has added a few new tricks to his delivery, incorporating higher end screams to accompany his primary deeep, guttural growls. The band’s song writing has evolved as well, focusing more on the self-destruction of the human race more so than a vegan lifestyle and revenge-of-the-cow material that was found on previous releases.

Musically the band has added a great deal to their sound, setting them that much more from the rest of the genre. Keyboards and other electronic noise are compliments of Joey Karam (Locust), who also contributes a few backing vocals here and there, and John Weise (Sunn0)))). The additional efforts make for a deeper, more dynamic sound that allows you to notice new things you may have missed the previous time around the disc. Add to the guest vocals and accompaniment the rich production of Billy Anderson, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a ride down the (human) slaughter house drain.

The album starts off with 18 seconds of fade into the first song on the album, “Unintelligent Design”.

Unintelligent Design
An onslaught of chaotic drumming and riffing get the blood stirring before Ryan’s vocals kick in. You will find insanely quick blasts of grind peppered with doses of thick death metal throughout most of the album, but it’s quite prevolent on this first song. The dual vocal styling on Ryan’s part is a great touch. The whispered ending is a bit creepy but cool as hell.

Success Is…(Hanging By The Neck)
The intense attack starts right back up with huge growls and screams before the band hits some technical timing and crunching riffs. The band even slows it down for a moment to quietly play a black metal riff while Ryan spews forth his message with deep, deliberate growls.

One Thousand Times Decapitation
After the staggered ending to “Success Is…(Hanging By The Neck)” the band comes right back to a death/grind hybrid with a unique riff from guitarist Josh Elmore. Elmore is all over the place on this short track — hitting technical picking as well as crusty, crunching riffs.

The Carcass Derrick
I love the way this one starts off, like the quiet before a storm. The band utilizes their timed mosh/growl delivery quite effectively on this one. There’s plenty of variety on this track that’s sure to keep you fully entertained.

Total Gore
“Total Gore” has a bit more traditional death metal approach than the previous tracks. We hear Karam’s guest vocals used effectively with Ryan’s deeper delivery. The slow driving bass at the 1:45 mark is a brief respit from the sludging crawl that shifts quickly into a huge solo and rapid drumming.

A noisey, chaotic delivery is the method of choice for this short track. The song is a controlled mess, with sludgey vocals, shifting pace and massive doomy riffs. I love it.

Suspended In Coprolite
After 10 seconds of static, the band jumps right back into the groove with a cacophy of grind and noise. Man, these guys are yet again all over the musical map. Elmore’s guitar work is just insane and the bass/drum combination of Laughlin (drums) and Oftedal (bass) make the track that much more brutal.

Alone At The Landfill
Weighing in at 7:37 in length, “Alone At The Landfill” is quite the epic. Even for it’s length, you don’t find yourself wanting to hit the next track button too often. From the soaring solo riffing of the opener to even the last 3 minutes of droning noise, there is plenty of variation and time changes to keep you interested.

Karma Bloody Karma
The title track on the album starts off with frenetic blasts from both the drums and guitar. After the near momentum killer of the last track the band wakes you from the dead with a car battery attached to your temples. Massive growls and soaring solos pepper this track.

The New Dawn
The second longest track on the album starts off a bit subdued, with slighly muted soloing. The quiet solo continues as Ryan screams at the :48 mark on the song. The crunchy bass accompanying the soloing is a nice touch. The rest of the band kicks into gear at about the 1:30 tick.

Of Human Pride & Flatulence
After a journey through the sewers of hell and witnessing the decline of humanity first hand, the band brings it all to an end with “Of Human Pride & Flatulence.” Just like the previous track, it starts off slowly with ambient noise and keyboards. Indecipherable screams from a few of the guests and band members create an atmosphere of despair. It really does sound as though civilization has ended and we all are rotting in our own fieces in some dark pit of hell. Welcome to the end.

~ ~ ~

Karma.Bloody.Karma is a huge step forward for Cattle Decapitation, both lyrically and musically. The added noise and electronic guest spots are a great addition to their death/grind hybrid base. I have recommended this album to just about everyone I know that listens to any form of heavy music. I suggest you pick it up as well.

Favorite Tracks:
One Thousand Times Decapitation
The Carcass Derrick
Karma Bloody Karma

Additional Notes: