“Monolith of Inhumanity”

 by Thor

San Diego, CA’s Cattle Decapitation is back with “Monolith of Inhumanity”, a pulverizing album that’s everything death metal fans could want, plus some. This band’s animal ethics and liberation concept has always resonated with me despite my hypocritical penchant for consuming a variety of creatures, big and small.  I’m as complex as most people are when you look closely enough and though I love violent music, I also love animals and the environment we share with them.  So, this niche does exist.  Nile’s got ancient Egypt, Deicide’s got blasphemy, and Mortician’s got horror flicks.  Like those bands, Cattle Decapitation is doing death metal with all the horror and disturbing imagery one could possibly want, but in a brilliant twist, their macabre music actually delivers a substantive message and it does so in a way that can’t be ignored.  Their preferred method of delivery?  They lay waste to your senses.

So, how does “Monolith of Inhumanity” stack up?  Pretty damn well for the most part.  I first heard this band upon its Metal Blade debut, “To Serve Man” (2002).  That album was good, if not super exciting.  The songs were a little homogenous and by the end of the album monotony rears its boring head.  “Monolith of Inhumanity” is almost the perfect opposite.  This album is a collection of some of the most ambitious and jaw-dropping songs ever committed to CD, even if at times that ambition outstrips my musical sensibilities.

The band has incorporated several extreme metal tropes from beyond the bounds of death metal, utilizing elements of grind, thrash, and experimental metal.  By doing so, “Monolith of Inhumanity” is a little overwhelming, even unfocussed at times.  Every song is an amalgam of all strains of extreme metal and each track features passages that absolutely fucking destroy.  The unfortunate flipside to that coin is that several songs also feature elements that I’m not fond of.  And at times Cattle Decapitation pays short shrift to killer riffs in favor of this “schizophrenic metal cacophony” approach.

While the song compositions are a little scatter shot, the musicianship and execution of “Monolith of Inhumanity” is amazing.  Dynamic vocals, mind bending guitar work, and blistering drums wreak havoc on every second of this album.  A few of the more devastating tunes include “The Carbon Stampede”, A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat”, “Gristle Licker”, and “Kingdom of Tyrants”. 

The bottom line is that while Cattle Decapitation’s everything-including-the-kitchen-sink approach this time around can be a little off putting, their ambition and the successful execution of it is nothing short of amazing.  “Monolith of Inhumanity” features outstanding gory artwork, a unique message, and A-level musicianship all of which make this album a must-have for all you depraved vegetarians out there.