Review Summary: Cattle Decapitation swings by to help you clean up all those bodies, only to create an even gorier mess.
Sputnikmusic, my friends, let me tell you; disposing of bodies can be a tiresome task. This single fact means that you need someone there to help you out after you pump up the slaughterhouse, right?
, my favourite goregrind band ever, is here to save the day! Well, sort of.... "The Harvest Floor" is a very solid record that takes the improvements and evolutions that the band went through with "Karma.Bloody.Karma" and gestates them into something... wonderful. Travis Ryan's vocals bear the carnal might of a thousand of the most ferocious dinosaurs, and while dinos have nothing to do with the album's theme or meaning, they sure do sound like Travis Ryan. The drumwork features gravity blasts and a general air of creepiness that really suits the band's style. The guitarwork is asynchronous at times, but these choices are stylistic and only serve to further the band's well-crafted atmosphere as they take listeners on a journey through animalistic human behaviour and cruelty. Whether or not "The Harvest Floor" is a thematic album is up in the air, but a definitive inspiration to the lyrics of the songs within is human corruption and religion. Although this seems to be a big centre that many death metal bands revolve around (see Whitechapel
, Dying Fetus
), Cattle Decapitation's take on it is interesting, if only because they sound more refined and more brutal than past attempts. This isn't an album you're likely to forget.
The opening track, "The Gardeners of Eden", is five minutes and thirty-nine seconds of atmospheric brutality. After the mood-setting introduction, the track digresses into a shrieking fury as Travis bellows over the raging guitars. This all may sound like a wall of noise at first, but it quickly takes form and shows off Cattle Decapitation's more polished side of things. "A Body Farm", the second track, is bound to give you those creeping-up-your-back feelings that you get when you witness something totally awesome. This song clearly shows that Cattle Decapitation is a no-holds-barred band, opening with a rage more furious than the introductory track. Side note: I'd recommend watching the full music video for this song, because it's awesome.
If human corruption wasn't apparent by now, the third song makes it apparent in the track title; "We Are Horrible People". This is also a notable track - though perhaps not worthy of highlight status - because up until now, the vocal style heard before their 2007 entry "Karma.Bloody.Karma" has been unused, or used very rarely. The next few tracks use it quite frequently, and it sounds better than ever with the industrial and spooky atmosphere created in "The Harvest Floor". It all comes together, and although the band has made significant improvements, nothing really radical happens until track nine - the title track - which is a pseudo-instrumental and features the chorus voice of a woman with underlayed screaming occasionally thrown in. While it's not an intensely fast or grinding instrumental, it is invoking of feelings and conveys despair and hopelessness, perhaps better than the traditional Cattle Decapitation formulae. This is probably the reason they decided to include it, and finale track "Regret and the Grave" builds straight off of the instrumental's ending. This last track is incredibly thought-provoking, especially when you look up the lyrics, and the atmospheric guitar and drumwork make it the most depressing Cattle Decapitation song to date. The last two tracks really showed me that the band wasn't afraid of breaking the mold they'd created. They're still very much intent on creating a listenable and incredible sound to help convey their points of view, and they aren't afraid of taking risks with their instrumental or vocal chemistry to do so.
All in all, I'm impressed by what Cattle Decapitation brought to the table with this record (and I'm not solely referring to the dead bodies, either), and I recommend this to all who enjoy death metal in its goriest and purest form.
1.) The Gardeners of Eden
2.) A Body Farm
9.) The Harvest Floor
10.) Regret and the Grave