Cattle Decapitation
To Serve Man


3.0
good

Review

by Jared Floryan USER (7 Reviews)
September 18th, 2014 | 13 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: To Serve Man is quite an enjoyable release, though listening to the album in full might leave a bitter taste in the mouth.

They're ever so willing to devour your skin as much as they have the desire of starting up their own monolith of inhumanity. From the bastardized lands of San Diego, California are a band who pride themselves as deathgrind musicians known for their outspoken views in regards to the smorgasbord of ways that animal cruelty is performed. This is a quartet self-aware of the statement about their message being about as harsh and blunt as the group's own style of music. Called the self-evident name Cattle Decapitation, Travis Ryan and his followers initially formed in 1996, speaking against those who have wronged the specimens without remorse via terrifyingly delicious metal. Surely an act such as Cattle would make more than just a simple impression - and you could say that they already did - with six studio albums and two EP releases.

On July 30, 2002, the band issued their (technically speaking) second studio album entitled To Serve Man. Released under Metal Blade Records, the album features a gross and torturous volume of 13 songs which sport a blatant, if amusing goregrind influence which would all but deteriorate during the band's subsequent offerings. Throughout the majority of the effort, be inclined to witness fiendish gurgles and - whilst necessary for Cattle and their contemporaries - a couple medically-related track titles that almost instantly unveil the very nature of the band itself. Listeners will take note of the barbaric riffage and heavy-hitting drum work, and even the downright unnerving cover artwork as well.

However, at the moment you get to finishing at least the first four or five tracks, To Serve Man's content begins to feel pretty tedious. Unsurprisingly (given the album's nigh-35-minute running time) the songs themselves - particularly "I Eat Your Skin," "Land of the Severed Meatus," and "Everyone Deserves to Die" - are fast-paced and fun, yet they won't receive any other reactions aside from indifference. Guitarist and bassist Josh Elmore and Troy Oftedal respectively seem to repeat specific notes and chords that feed off of adequate savagery; while not entirely colorless, the two bandmates' skills never take aim. Occasionally, though, a well-time solo arrives (e.g. "Testicular Manslaughter") to soften these average blows. Dave Astor - who has contributed to material with The Locust and Pathology - is this album's star player. His crashes onto the cymbals are deadly and, even though he suffers from a lack of percussive variation, his utilization of fills are handy on the relentless "Writhe in Putrescence." Travis Ryan has preserved his spot in Cattle Decapitation since Day One, and the man has shown great improvement over the years. On To Serve Man, he finds himself confined to low gurgles that can be considered menacing. Throughout the second record's number of tracks, he will make an attempt to expand upon his arsenal with hoarse shrieks, yet seeing as how they go practically nowhere, their presence sort of comes across as annoying. Travis is undoubtedly the weakest link on the album, but his vocal performance in the main is still passable and somewhat terrorizing.

Juan Urteaga's production for To Serve Man manages to give the instrumentation a threatening vibe as displayed, yet it's nothing too special. One shouldn't be too astonished that not even he bothers to be a real game-changer, what with him never going the extra mile to enhance any of the vocal effects or much of the guitar work. Urteaga neither hinders nor augments this album's chances of becoming better than it should've been, though the guy tries his damnedest to 'leave the slaughterhouse.'

In conclusion, To Serve Man is largely hampered by some monotony embellishing the guitar job and weak song structures. On the other side of the spectrum, fortunately, the album itself will want you craving for more Cattle Decapitation and - if somebody takes the release at face value - can be rather delightful to hear if you aren't looking for innovation or cheap techniques. The band had an overall nice record at their disposal, but you should start expecting these gentlemen to step their grind game up next time.



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user ratings (105)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Angelboros
September 18th 2014


219 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Constructive criticism is appreciated, as usual.

Gameofmetal
September 18th 2014


2137 Comments


I'd say it's a pretty good review. Some of your descriptions and flashier sentences seem a bit too try hard to try and get a specific vibe. I would've just been fairly straight about my points but not too bad.

Angelboros
September 18th 2014


219 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Gameofmetal I suppose that would've been the more accurate way to go about it. Don't wanna exhaust the folks, know what I mean?

Gameofmetal
September 18th 2014


2137 Comments


It's solid in its own right. I'm just not overly fond of the parts where you try to link it back to the band and their ideas. Doesn't damage anything much though.

erizen826
September 18th 2014


594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album is so under-appreciated. Good review btw.

Angelboros
September 18th 2014


219 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The last two Cattle albums fucking slay!

Gameofmetal
September 18th 2014


2137 Comments


I mostly jam the newer two. Monolith is hard 4.5 for me. The early albums are cool but I prefer their more death metal heavy sound on later records than the grindier stuff.

Angelboros
September 18th 2014


219 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Funny... I slightly prefer The Harvest Floor. The melody incorporated into the band's newest record is commendable, though Monolith didn't wow me as much as its precursor.

Gameofmetal
September 18th 2014


2137 Comments


It was also the first album of theirs I actually really listened to. Heard a song or two off the Harvest Floor and thought it was cool but Monolith still does it for me more than any of their other material.

Gameofmetal
September 18th 2014


2137 Comments


Heard a song or two when I first found the band that is. I jammed it again and liked it more.

Angelboros
September 18th 2014


219 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"A Body Farm" was admittedly my very first song. Travis' vocals during the chorus are just beastly!

Gameofmetal
September 18th 2014


2137 Comments


Yeah that one's a jam. The breakdown from Gristle Licker comes to mind as one of my favorite heavy parts along with all of Forced Gender Reassignment.

danielito19
September 18th 2014


6123 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

lol this band

Digging: Self Defense Family - Indoor Wind Chimes b/w Cottaging



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