Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: Cattle Decapitation - Humanure

Cattle Decapitation's second full-length release is memorable to most by its repulsive cover art, which caused so many complaints that the band had the cow and human fecal matter removed so that stores would stop refusing to carry it. Having been generally overlooked in the past due to their bland, unoriginal material, there was much skepticism surrounding Humanure at the time of release. This album also marks the departure of drummer Dave Astor, the only founding member left, and in his place the debut of Michael Laughlin.

Genre: Progressive Death Metal/Grindcore
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date: June 1st, 2004

  1. Scatology Domine (Intro)
  2. Humanure
  3. Reduced to Paste
  4. Bukkake Tsunami
  5. Cloacula: The Anthropophagic Copromantik
  6. Chummified
  7. Applied Human Defragmentation
  8. The Earthling
  9. Polyps
  10. Lips & Assholes
  11. Men Before Swine (Outro)
Total Playtime: 47 minutes, 32 seconds


                 Official Website


Rating: 7.0/10





Cattle Decapitation's second full-length release is memorable to most by its repulsive cover art, which caused so many complaints that the band had the cow and human fecal matter removed so that stores would stop refusing to carry it. Having been generally overlooked in the past due to their bland, unoriginal material, there was much skepticism surrounding Humanure at the time of release. This album also marks the departure of drummer Dave Astor, the only founding member left, and in his place the debut of Michael Laughlin.

The first noticeable trait on this material that makes it unlike anything previously released is the use of completely instrumental intro and outro tracks. "Scatology Domine" comes in with a heavy, overshadowing bass atmosphere and then sets into a haunting piano melody and helps set the desolate mood for the rest of the material, lasting a mere minute. On the other hand, "Men Before Swine" is a near ten minute track consisting of the same style of cinematic bass, accompanied with sounds from the slaughter house which include a squealing pig, clanking metal, and human dialogue. However, for a large latter portion of the song the most that is heard is the same droning bass with some distorted grunge influenced guitar. This outro could have ended much earlier, but instead keeps drawing the material out and hurting its own quality in the process.

The material here knows how to breathe, and isn't anywhere near as cluttered and untidy in comparison to anything heard previously, which is a solid improvement. Each song is a stampede of fast guitar riffs, frantic drumming, and monstrous vocals, but within most of the compositions are sections that are slowed down that provide a small break, before the song ramps up again. Title track "Humanure" and "Cloacula: The Anthropophagic Copromantik" are a couple of songs that demonstrate the aforementioned attributes greatly.

   

There is an abundance of improvement when calling audio quality and production into question, eliminating the problem of losing the vocal tracks within the instruments. This also allows the guitars to be heard clearly for the first time, getting rid of all unwanted noise and distortion. Josh Elmore takes great advantage of this and demonstrates much improved talent and ability within the material, showcasing frenzied sweeps, lightning fast tremolo picking, and technicality. Michael Laughlin gives an entirely different drumming experience, and long gone are the use of two or three beats only that center around the snare drum. In its place is found a variety of beats, techniques and uses for the bass drum and hi-hat which were nearly non-existent before.

The lyrical and vocal contributions of Travis Ryan in this release show a more mature, refined purpose. Lyrically, the album centers around a bovine perspective if cows were able to gain enough intelligence and consciousness to realize what they have been put through for years, and as a result exact their revenge upon their oppressors. What doesn't center around bovine supremacy then talks about the ingestion of excrement and disgusting diseases such as "Polyps", which dedicates itself to the deadly cancerous illness. "Reduced to Paste" is a great glimpse of the use of bestial grunts and growls, as well as lyrical structure that takes on a more poetic format and includes the use of dark humor.

"The human
So many uses
Once drained of its juices
Perfect for home, boat or office..."


There is nothing incredibly spectacular presented in the material on Humanure, nor is there anything particularly awful either, making it an average and mediocre release but a large improvement for Cattle Decapitation as a whole and gives the impression that the band are ready to commit to their quality and style. 

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