Cattle Decaptitation was a band that, a good time ago, I didn't care at all about. Albums like "Human
Jerky", "Homovore", and "To Serve Man" were pretty pointless grindcore albums with extremely short songs devoid of melody or memorable riffing. The only reason people listened to this band, it seemed, was the animal-loving, pro-vegan lyrics and misanthropic views on the human race as a whole. Then something different happened. Cattle Decapitation
must have started listening to some Cannibal Corpse
or something, because 2004's "Humanure" started CD's inclusion of death elements. And
that alone made it more worthwhile a listen than all their other albums combined. Next
, in 2006, "Karma
. Bloody. Karma
." switched from grindcore with death metal influence to death metal with grindcore influence, and the progression continued. Finally, this year's album, "The Harvest Floor
", continues in the vein of "Karma
. Bloody. Karma
." which I think is a good thing for the band. The best part about it is that it's better than that album in just about every way imaginable.
The first song, "The Gardeners of Eden
", is one of the most memorable songs, starting off with the lovely sounds of a cow being killed. It then proceeds to explode into insane arpeggios and supremely fast drumming for about three seconds before stopping altogether to make way for a low, gurgling bass riff that is really just a gateway for the insanity about to unfold. The best part about the track is the ridiculously high and strangely melodic vocals of Travis Ryan, who also can do extremely low vox.
One of the strange things about this album is how it can use reasonably clean guitars at times while remaining intense and heavy. I don't want to use "The Gardeners of Eden
" as an example, but it fits the description. We have other new sounds for the band in the form of clean female vocals on the title track, which is an intro for the closer, "Regret and the Grave". "Regret and the Grave" is the best song on the album, starting off with medium-paced double bass accompanied by cello. Yes, Cattle Decaptiation uses cello on this album.
Some other highlights on the album are "Tooth Enamel and Concrete
" and "A Body Farm", both of which are flawlessly executed (pun intended) slices of brutality meant to pulverize listeners.
One note about this album: it isn't immediate. It took a good few listens for me to fully grasp this album and love it. I originally rated it a 17/20, but I was too quick to judge; it is deserving of a 19/20. This is a challenging listen, and to show what I mean, i'll put it into Cattle Decapitation
terms: if their past albums were like cows being slaughtered by sledgehammers, "The Harvest Floor
" is like using the thing from "No Country for Old
Men." It's still brutal, but more precise and not as sloppy. This is a fantastic album, boys--but I still like steak.