By ArnoldPlaysGuitar

The years are stretching a bit longer between new releases from this band. One can be forgiven for getting concerned. We as fans so rarely remember that life just gets in the way sometimes and we also take for granted that the band really does know what they are doing. This can be applied to practically any band out there, but if there's one thing that CATTLEhas proven on it's last several albums it's that they are consistent, but not content to stay in their current state, whatever that might be. They are not afraid to push the needle just enough to keep things interesting for themselves, while still giving their a spine-tingling journey every new release. So where does this new record stand? Well...

A current favorite cut indicative of an increasingly-present element is the mindblowing "Scourge of the Offspring," which sees the band invoking a melodic sensibility that is on another level. Even for a band like this that hasn't really been shy about incorporating these elements in MANY years, this is about as flat-out catchy as they have ever been. For a band that clearly was rooted in about as filthy death/grind as it got back in the day, they've managed to creep ever closer into a sort of symphonic black metal territory with these little bridge sections. Arpeggios, orchestration, and the kind of hooks you can't deny the power of. And these elements honestly creep up all over the record and are never ineffective. As for the rest of the riffage, Josh in recent years has become something of a master of the simple-yet-effective riffs. You listen to a lot of this stuff and as a guitarist you feel that this is easily attainable with a bit of practice to make everything precise. Precision picking, power chords, inversions, and little flicks of atmosphere from well-placed arpeggios, octaves, and what-have-you. And the fact that he and second-guitarist Belisario are in absolute lockstep is even more impressive!

Sonically, there's just something special about each new CATTLE DECAP record with Dave Otero at the helm. I think at this point, I can't really imagine this band recording with anyone else as he just creates this MASSIVE wall of sound that is kinda unique to this band, really! I mean, big rock chords just fill the space completely, and yet those drums and the melody lines just cut through! You really wouldn't think there'd be any way for it to happen, and yet Dave manages to carve this out just perfectly for everything to have its own space. Travis vocals are all over the place, so in that alone you would think Dave has his work cut out for him. But every grunt, growl, squeal, higher squeal, and higher-still squeal - and that cool, Bowie-esque bridge in album closer "Just Another Body" - takes center-stage even amidst the massive amount of EVERYTHING. It's literally a perfect mix!

To be perfectly fair, one doesn't go into a CATTLE DECAPITATION record expecting your garden variety death and grind. This band is evolving in a way we wish other bands would. It totally sounds like a  CATTLE DECAPITATION record every single time, and yet with something different about it. Even more so for those of us who have been along for the ride for a while now. What we have here is another step forward for a band that is doing it right, and for that we thank them.