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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Review: Cattle Decapitation - The Harvest Floor (2009)

Metal Blade Records
January 20th, 2009
Cattle Decapitation - The Harvest Floor

Want a pretty tasty slab of pseudo-progressive grindcore from a band who's been around long enough to know what they're doing? Look no further than Cattle Decapitation's blistering release “The Harvest Floor”. It's not their best album, but close to it. Better than the album before it, “The Harvest Floor” will have you banging your head one minute and then trying to figure out how the band members keep the insane technicality in check while maintaining the ridiculous speed. And there are a few surprises that we haven't heard from Cattle before.

The first thing I thought of upon hearing this album was about how much more progressive this album is compared to their other releases. No longer just straight-forwad goregrind/death metal, Cattle uses several time-signature changes and interesting use of their instruments to create a mind-numblingly complex tornado of musical ability. This is most apparent on the song “The Ripe Beneath The Rind” with it's killswitched guitars sounding off behind Travis Ryan's inhuman vocals or the almost prog-quality solo included about halfway through the song, although you can find it in just about every song. Think of this album's incarnation of Cattle Decapitation as metal's version of The Dillinger Escape Plan but can also hold it's own against death metal stalwarts as well.

It should be stated and re-stated that this band has some serious musicians in it. First and foremost, Travis Ryan's performance all but solidifies his place in extreme metal as one of the best current vocalists out there. He about hits the lower and upper boundaries of his vocal range in almost every song and comes off as a deranged madman throughout it all. Absolutely splended. The drummer, David McGraw, makes use of the hyperblast on several songs (see the beginning of The Gardeners Of Eden) and pulls it off quite well. Not up to par with John Lengstreth, but close. The bass player and guitar player are fantastic as well, but they pretty much have always been solid.

There's really only one flaw to this album: If you're not paying too much attention, it's really easy to miss the transition to another song and still think you're on the previous. It's not that the songs themselves aren't memorable, but some of them segue into eachother without a huge change in style. However, the lyrics themselves are above Cattle Decapitation's standards and are a delight to read through. “Into The Public Baths” might be the sickest song ever written.

This album will satisfy long-term fans of the band and is a great starting point for new fans. Things are looking very bright for the future of these misanthropes.

Highlights: A Body Farm, The Ripe Beneath The Rind, Tooth Enamel And Concrete, Into The Public Bath


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