With a name like Cattle Decapitation, you have to know you’re probably not getting smooth jazz. Monolith of Inhumanity is the San Diego “deathgrind” outfit’s seventh full length release and it is a blistering, grisly blast of metal malice.
Relentless in its brutality and caustic in its lack of respect for humanity, this record is not for the queasy. Songs are punctuated by gruesome sound effects and jacked up by “vocalist” Travis Ryan’s flexible cache of barks, yelps, shouts, rumbles, and hellacious noises. The band certainly boasts a technical prowess to go with the evil presence it unleashes through the headphones, however, and that proves to make Cattle Decapitation worth checking out.
The band was actually formed in California in 1996. Ryan is the only remaining member out of the original line-up, with guitarist Josh Elmore (guitars), Dave McGraw (drums) and Derek Engemann (bass) closing ranks.
Monolith of Inhumanity carries out the band’s misanthropy, as expected, and finds Ryan scowling and screaming about where humanity is heading on its current path to destruction. Themes of waste and wastefulness saturate the disc, with the vocalist’s vegetarianism sometimes taking centre stage. Song titles like “Gristle Licker” and “A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat” leave little to the imagination.
With respect to sticking to the themes, Cattle Decapitation does very well. Monolith of Inhumanity flows sublimely as a deathgrind and metal record, piling on the violent destruction through tracks like “Dead Set on Suicide” and the devilish “Forced Gender Reassignment.”
It’s when the album hits its climax that Cattle Decapitation really stretches out artistically. “The Monolith” is an impressive and haunting “intro” piece that sets up some strikingly melodic vocals before kicking into the bombardment of blasts and growls that is “Kingdom of Tyrants.” This carefully-placed duo really concludes the daunting and sometimes repetitive record on an exciting note.
Cattle Decapitation doesn’t make pleasant music, but they are armed with a purpose and stick to their cynical guns. They are the real deal. Monolith of Inhumanity continues the bludgeoning, with an angrily introspective series of gruelling tracks for serious fans of all things heavy. It’s a challenging record, but fans of this sort of thing should find it well worth the punishment.