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I discovered Cattle Decapitation when I was at the age of first discovering really heavy bands. 15 years old was the age when I saw a music video of this band that was played on VH1. I was very interested in their early rights and ideas they had as people. I may not be a vegetarian (and in some cases, I hate what people do or say just to convert into being one) but along the lines the members of this goregrind 4-piece, I respected their views due to showing some considerable reason and understanding for the beliefs they have for strict animal rights. Anyway, Human Jerky is one of Decap's first releases at the ripe time of their outing. The record (unlike the band's '97 demo) focuses on grindcore with incorporating some death metal characteristics instead of low-tone grind that could be done by a thousand other bands. It's also the first to see Travis Ryan on vocals.
This album starts with a movie sample from the first Ghostbusters before the ravaging grind riffs and blast beat drums come in. Nearly all of the songs on the album are 40 seconds long at average (typical grindcore song lengths) with only like 4 of these 18 songs exceeding little over a minute. Every song basically blasts the shit out of your ears, the best they can in bite-size doses whether it be slow groove sections or fast utilizing riff combos all packing it into under a minute a piece. Now about the vocals, this album, I would definitely say is Ryan at his best. His voice is very impressive on this release. His death metal growls and grindcore screams are usually layered atop one another with this overtone deep pig squeal included along the lines of these vocal takes. The vocals must have been the main focus and feature with this album considering how much work was put into the takes and layers of them rather than the other instruments.
Now as for standout tracks, this is something I must talk about because a lot of the songs tend to blend into one another; even after you give this record a few spins. The biggest ones I enjoyed the most would probably be "Constipation Camp", considering the big groove the guitars have in the intro backed by Ryan's vocals that sound like three monsters hacking up human beings. Another one that caught my attention is the 3-second long song entitled "The Decapitation of Cattle", which is at such a ridiculous short length that one couldn't deny that it's possibly an homage to "You Suffer" by Napalm Death. And lastly, the most memorable track by my means would have to be "Intro to Carnage" because it has a very juicy and interesting ending to it thanks to the vocals of Ryan. He does this choking sound backed by a really long vocal squeal and the sound of water dripping (or flowing) goes behind all of this. I don't know what this sound he does with his voice is supposed to represent but every time I hear it, my mouth gets very watery, not even kidding.
Human Jerky is a very interesting record, it isn't bad, but isn't groundbreaking either. It's just very weird, but fun opus of extreme music from the late '90s. If you're interested in hearing some of the fresh beginnings of Cattle Decapitation, starting with this album would be your best choice as you'll soon discover the grind roots found about in Cattle D's very beginnings long before their death metal evolution.