”Ah, yes…Success. It’s hanging by the neck”
If there is any band that would make both PETA and Peter Jackson smile to themselves, it would be Cattle Decapitation, a group whose “graphic” use of violent lyrics and subject matter to communicate pro-animal, anti-humanism ideals has unfortunately been the attention grabbing aspect of their existence to many. But what their 5th full length album, Karma.Bloody.Karma
has accomplished is far more than that. With this album, Cattle Decapitation have set themselves apart from the herd of young, up and coming death metal artists.
Fusing death metal and grind together to form the aptly dubbed fake genre of “deathgrind” and be an iffy style of music to play. As shown by many, many artists in the genre, keeping a balance of both of the aforementioned is a tough feat. Rarely does an album appear with a true equilibrium of the two genres. Karma.Bloody.Karma
, though taking steps in the right direction, cannot achieve the goal either. The album is heavily weighted by the death metal aspect, making some of the clear cut grind tracks sound a bit out of place. On the other hand, songs that do hold true to the natural death metal sound fresh and flow nicely. There is still a noticeable difference, though, between more of a standard death metal sound and the tracks off of the album. The tinge of grind that can’t convert the album gives a nice, original touch to the tempos and some of the riffs, which is where I find that the album is taking a stride towards getting to that perfect balance of both grind and death metal. There is no doubt about it, though. Karma.Bloody.Karma
when looked at inside the death metal genre is almost groundbreaking. More so than either of their last two full lengths, and more so than many of the exhausted technical death metal albums appearing out of nowhere as of late.
A feature of all Cattle Decapitation albums that seems to push people’s buttons is the subpar vocal performance. Personally, I think the vocals fit the music quite well. Quirky vocals for quirky music. But for argument’s sake, I will go into detail. Travis Ryan isn’t exactly known for his fantastic range or even quality of vocals or lyrics. In all seriousness, he really sounds like he’s shouting in a low voice for most of the time, other times snarling in a kind of poor interpretation of a black metal rasp. If vocally poor musicians bother you, put down this artist and never examine them again, because if you do come across some of their material, and are conscious of that aspect, you will be sadly disappointed. But the upside of his vocal style is found in this question: does anyone even remotely sound like him?
Musically and riff wise, Karma.Bloody.Karma
is by far Cattle Decapitation’s best effort yet. Though technicality rarely equals quality, in this case, it sure comes close. Despite having a single guitarist, the riffs all around sound great and in abundance. For a nearly absent bass, the music is surprisingly dense, and if you listen hard enough, you can barely make out the distorted runs of bassist Troy Oftedal. Diminished chords and speedy licks that actually have substance come basically one after another on the album, and the songwriting that made the last album stale and a little boring has kicked into overdrive and done its work here. Since Humanure
, the songwriting has matured to an overall high for the band. The album flows amazingly, even with two noise break tracks set into the package. The smaller dainty parts that were totally absent from Humanure
are put in at precisely the right times, adding to the already angry atmosphere, giving it an air of passiveness.
is nothing like I have ever experienced before. Not from this band before now, and not from any band since. Although it was one of my favorite albums when it first came out, it still has a part in my play rotation at some point. That’s more than I can say for almost all the other music I was listening to at the time. I highly recommend this to anyone open to it. If from this review it sounds like something you would probably avoid, than by all means, do so. If you think it may bug or annoy you by one of the above mentioned points, chances are, it will.