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This is some of the best prog/death there is! Cattle Decapitation’s third full length shows their most mature compositions, and even if it’s not their best album it is the new reference in quality for the band’s new acquired sound. Composition wise it isn’t very different from its predecessor, but somehow it is more inspired and memorable, like the couple of albums that follow. The splatter/gore atmosphere they had from their beginnings is still there, but more refined. It shares the spotlight with a wider sense of melody and composition skills that grew from average to genius with the years. The progressive side of the band is very dark and gloomy, as their savage and minimalist grindcore roots; resulting in a very experimental yet extremely heavy and brutal style of music.
Their dynamic song structures drift among riffs and melodies that combine all kind of different feelings, but they are always committed to the dismal and the decadence; this constancy in the character of the music is not to be confused with monotony in any way, because there are drastic tempo changes everywhere, strings play more technical riffs but they don’t abuse from the tapping, sweep picking and those alternative techniques. They are used to bedizen the nasty gore soaked riffing very efficiently. The inclusion of varied textures without leaving the splatter/gore atmosphere from which they build their sounds is unique, this band is fucking awesome. I would even recommend it to fans of old school death metal, it won’t let you down if you seek heaviness because this shit is noisy, down tuned as fuck and violent; with a twist.
The drums are played with an exquisite technique, the drummer stepped up his abilities a little from the past album to this one, and the recording process was done much better too. They don’t sound triggered but the drummer plays so fucking accurate that it sounds mechanic. Bass drum’s strikes go even one after another, off beats are nailed perfectly and every hit is stroke with the same strength. The fills are very creative and syncopated, and the fast blast beating parts are relentless. The cymbal work sounds crystal clear and it’s pure class too. Guitars distortion is very solid and surrounding, perfect for the band’s music. It isn't very acid neither it does have a lot of reverb; it’s more compressed and controlled but still very electric. Lots of arrangements are made to the riffs; I think this is the main difference this album has from its predecessor, very similar in riffing and song structures. Solos on instrumental parts and some eerie melodies give the riffs another essence, more haunting but still heavy. Bass guitar is distorted half the way, you can’t feel the organic tone of regular bass but the gain still lets you hear the sound strings make when they hit the fret board, so you can hear it individually even when it’s playing exactly the same thing the guitar does. There are some arrangements composed from the low end that add a lot to Cattle Decapitation’s mature form. Vocals vary from deep growls to black metal shrieks depending on the situation, but every style is performed up to the highest standards.
This music is so memorable, weird and heavy at the same time it makes it one of the most unique forms of death metal. Sophisticated in its simplicity –because there isn't an abuse of the decorative elements of the music, there’s an emphasis on the dense and obscure core of extreme metal- it kind of reinvents once again a genre where everything seems to be already invented.
After a rough start in the scene, California originated grindcore vegetarians Cattle Decapitation were finally able to pull off an impressive collection of material entitled "Humanure", which brought the band a bigger following and soon they were booked into various festivals and tours around the world. Karma. Bloody. Karma. marks their third full-length installment, can it raise the bar even higher?
The majority of Karma. Bloody. Karma. feels like nothing more than an off-brand reproduction of Humanure that leaves out all of the attributes that made it a good and somewhat unique album. There is an ambient introductory track, which is a short and sweet 0:19 seconds long, and the material that follows is dishearteningly uninteresting and lackluster. The musical compositions stay at the same tempo, rarely varying from track to track. In the longer songs, such as "Suspended in Coprolite" and "The New Dawn", there are bridges that allow the songs to gradually slow down before speeding up again, but once more the band forgot how to let their material breathe. However, this quality is not what suffocates the material the most, but rather another re-occurrence of bad production and mixing that ended up with the drum track being louder than everything else.
There is one needle to be found in this fecal filled haystack, and that track is "Alone at the Landfill". Opening with a melodic beginning and closing with a grim ending, everything that is packed in between consists of the most skillful, unique, well constructed material of the entire album.
Unfortunately we see this album decline in terms of lyrical structure, and the once vile, gory content is toned down so tremendously that it comes off feeling commercialized. There is no trademark bovine perspective, nor overwhelming detestation of humanity, and not much that catches the ear.
As mentioned earlier, the drumming is once again at the top of the mix, and although tight and stylish, this causes its repetitive sound to stand out and also drown out the other instruments. The bass guitar is lost in the chaos, but returns powerfully for about twenty seconds in one track which is quite alarming and unexpected, as there is no reason or need for it to have happened which leaves one wondering if it's an audio glitch. The guitar, at times, is a little sloppy and off but remains fluid and creative, rarely staying on the same riff for an extended period of time. Josh Elmore also incorporates some sweep picking maneuvers, and keeps his trademark whammy squeals composed into the content.
Despite the material being adequate, there is no improvement from Humanure, and there has been an unfortunate dumbing down of the vocal and lyrical content. In truth, much of the whole of Karma. Bloody. Karma comes off stale and repackaged since it has been done before, and better than what is heard here. Due to this, the content gets old, fast, and doesn't leave a lasting impression or any truly memorable qualities.
- Villi Thorne
I feel that Cattle Decapitation have always been an enjoyable listen. In their early years they created effective, if a little unimaginative, goregrind and with 2003’s ‘To Serve Man’ they crossed over to deathgrind of a similar nature. Often enjoyable but still unoriginal and lacking the ideas to really put them on the map.
So Cattle Decapitation looked doomed to follow in the path of hundreds of deathgrind bands before them and ultimately end up releasing the same album over and over. That was until ‘Karma Bloody Karma’ was released and we were shown the extent of their new found creativity and originality.
In equal parts grind and death this album is a progressive and interestingly macabre state of affairs. The songs now have a much more defined focus on structure than their early work with enough deviation to keep the music entertaining and at times even atmospheric. What continues to impress me most about the album is its unflinching switches between death metal’s brutality, grinds erratic style and slower more haunting interludes. Alone at the Landfill is a perfect example of this as it blends genres seamlessly with an almost sludge metal intro followed by visceral deathgrind and ending in what resembles a twisted acoustic black metal end made all the more memorable by Travis Ryan’s astounding, and I do not use that word lightly, vocal work. It is one of the single most spine chilling pieces of extreme metal I have heard it truly bizarre when I think who it is coming from.
This has to be the only deathgrind I have heard with capability of being both brutal and atmospheric in equal measure. This album harbours all the amusement of listening to a full throttle no frills death metal band but with a strange juxtaposition of also hearing something going beyond the restraints of the genre. It is progressive, it is interesting and most importantly it is memorable. The main negatives from past albums seem almost like bad dreams as they simply are not here anymore. The problem with their early attempts was a lack imagination but now we can see the bands new ideas and luckily for the extreme metal fans among us their imagination is twisted, sick and misanthropic to the very core.
I could go on to list the technical reasons for why this album is such an improvement on previous efforts. For example the production is spot on by not sterilizing the music by being too clean whilst also not being too muddy to make the music flat and ineffective. I could write for hours on the improvements to both the vocals and lyrics along with the musicianship. But I won’t. Because if you just listen to the album in full by the time the rather sinister end track rolls by I think you may have enjoyed yourself too much to care about these reasons. You may, like me, just want to find the repeat button.
I have had random run-ins with goregrind and just the grindcore genre in general. Its generally not my typically cup of tea and really only listen to it when it collides with death metal. I've listened to old school Carcass, Gorerotted, Napalm Death, and Circle of Dead Children repeatedly with the listening sessions last a day or two before I get bored. I respect the style and in the infrequent times I listen to it I enjoy it. Cattle Decapitation has opened my ears to goregrind.
Granted Karma.Bloody.Karma (KBK) has a greater brutal death/tech death tone than Humanure and To Serve Man, but the lyrics and general aesthetic of the band is still goregrind. Everything on KBK is solid, the production clear enough for definition but gritty enough to not forget its death/goregrind. The drumming of David McGraw is insane, even to note when I saw them recently the crowd called for a drum solo. The guitars have a furious, faster sound to them not present on Humanure which makes it all the more brutal. My favorite thing about KBK is Travis Ryan's vocals. From the howling roar he does in the earlier seconds of "Unintelligent Design" you know right off that this guy is a beast. His growls and occasional screeches are on point and are perfect for their lyrical content and atmosphere.
What has drawn me to Cattle Decapitation is their lyrics and just sheer anti-human demeanor. I, personally, have a great deal of misanthropic qualities and I enjoy music that shares this sentiment. While I'm not a vegetarian, a fact that sometimes overshadows Cattle Decapitation's music, I can fully enjoy their hatred for the human race.
Karma.Bloody.Karma is one of Cattle Decapitation's most solid releases, on par with the seminal Humanure. A masterpiece of death/goregrind, I highly recommend to those who like misanthropic sonic carnage.
Karma.Bloody.Karma isn’t as good as Humanure...but it is damn close! This album is great for many reasons. It is fast, brutal, and technical. It resurrects the old Cattle Decapitation sound, and redefines it on this new album. The songs are overall heavier and faster.
There are two shorter songs that bring back the older Cattle Decapitation sound and style. They are under two minutes long, but they are powerful and will not let down. Travis Ryan never fails to deliver. The vocals are excellent on this album. They aren’t the typical grind vocals where are all you hear is ‘Breee! Breee!’ and some random gargles. They are a steady middle tone for the most part, soaring into a high scream at times. The guitar work is good on this album. There are more breakdowns than there was in Humanure, which is a good thing. For, breakdowns make a song more likable. Bereavement stands out as the song with the best breakdown in it. It is something you could break your neck to, if you bang your head too hard.
Unintelligent Design is the second song on the album, and is probably the best. It starts out in a very traditional death metal way. About a minute into the song, it goes into a more melodic side of Cattle Decapitation. It’s a nice change. The songs have more of a melody to them than the typical Cattle Decapitation song. The guitar is more technical than past albums, too. It reminds me of the band Aborted at times. The sound quality of KBK is far better than any other Cattle Decapitation release. No death metal album is great without an excellent album cover that represents what you’re buying. This one is beyond perfect for this album.
Songs that stick out are:
Unintelligent Design , Bereavement, and The New Dawn.
My goodness is this some horrible and poorly delivered death metal. The bands sound hasn’t changed that much prior to their last two albums, but the gore-ish vocals and guitar solos were totally abandoned here. The only guitar solo that I recall hearing (or that at least was memorable) was on track ‘Total Gore?’ at the very end. But the vocals on this album are absolutely fucking boring – utilizing a range of timid growls w/pussy high shrieks that completely lack balls! But the real disaster of this album occurs when the band decides to unite the highs and the lows way too frequently, and this is found in all eleven tracks (excluding the outro track ‘Of Human Pride & Flatulence’). The high shrieks can get so annoying and unbearably irritating as well... just go forward to track ‘The New Dawn’.
This album is a disaster from start to finish, but this primarily applies to the first half of the album, starting with annoying and pointless displays of “technical” riffing which absolutely fails to make a tenacious first impression like its suppose to. Everything seriously sounds out of place and disjointed, even the drumming sounds phony and soulless. The riffing completely sounds like it’s out of place – so you’re pretty much treated with full guitar wankery that appears to go nowhere, followed by constant mediocre fills on behalf of the drummer. The band also has terrible ideas as far as conjuring or defining the mood of the song. Skip to track ‘Unintelligent Design’ and starting at 1:57 through 2:18 and you will totally not make any sense out of it. Out of the first 6 tracks of this album, I only recommend checking out track ‘The Carcass Derrick’. Here the band seems far more focused on their game, leaving you hungry for more.
The second half of the album isn’t as bad as the first half, but it is still completely mundane. This is where the band tries to sound more “technical” just for the sake to sound technical, and frankly fails miserably. Not even one guitar line or tune was memorable, and there are no redeeming aspects on any of the instruments whatsoever. Nothing is memorable and nothing is worth listening to... it is just a total waste of your time.
With ‘Karma. Bloody. Karma’ I think the band has managed to release one of the most boring commercialized death metal albums ever. I don’t see why people praise this band so much, nor do I understand why all these myspace hardcore zealots are patronizing this band now after their apparent appeasement for this record. This is the most poorly executed album that I have heard in a very long time, and my best recommendation is to steer clear from this inexperienced and incoherent "technical" bullshit and pretend it never existed.
Ever since 2004's Humanure album, all eyes have been on Cattle Decapitation, waiting to see if the band could record a follow-up record that would meets the new, extremely high standard the band had set for itself. Humanure was a masterpiece of Goregrind; and exciting and original album that pulled Cattle Decapitation out of their early record rut, and made them a household name amongst Goregrind and Gore Metal fans.
Karma.Bloody.Karma is the bands latest release, and with one listen, any worries fans may have had will be crushed. Karma.Bloody.Karma is a more than fitting follow-up to Humanure, and although its not quite as good.
Karma.Bloody.Karma pretty much takes the sound of Humanure and gives it a much cleaner production, more mature lyrics, and more adventerous song-writing. Fans may be surprised by what they hear on Karma.Bloody.Karma. A little bit of melody, more epic guitars, some doomy stuff: Karma.Bloody.Karma has a lot more to it.
But older fans need not worry, as Cattle Decapiation still do Goregrind-era Carcass better than many of their peers.
Musically, Karma.Bloody.Karma is easily Cattle Decapitation most adventerous and experimental albums. Guitarist Josh Elmore grows more and more impressive with each album, and the riffs on Karma.Bloody.Karma prove to be some of his best. Tracks such as "Suspended In Coprolite" and "Unintelligent Desgin" have some surprising moments, and show that Elmore is not just another Goregrind guitarist doing his best impression of Necrotisim Carcass. Technical and heavy, the guitars on Karma.Bloody.Karma are now much more apart of the music. Bassist Troy Oftedal and new drummer J.R. "Kid Gnarly" Daniels still provide the brutal rhythm section, and, like Elmore, are being more adventerous. Oftedal slams his bass with great skill, providing low and thick bass lines(the cleaner production helps the bass a lot) that go from molassas slow to lightnig fast, and Daniels grinds and blasts with incredible speed. And of course, vocalist Travis Ryan delivers on all levels. Ryan is easily one of Extreme Metals most terrifying and talented vox.(he uses no vocal effects of any kind, and uses and outward, not a inhale, making his vocal attack all the more impressive). Ryan's bowel shaking gutturals and vicious screechs are just plain awesome, and put to shame many of his peers, and on tracks such as "Alone At The Landfill," Ryan shows us a bit more range than we are used to.
One thing listeners will notice about Karma.Bloody.Karma is the much cleaner production, which can be viewed as a good or a bad thing. For some, this is a major improvment, as the guitars do sound much clearer, and the vocals louder. Personally, I liked the less polished production of Humanure, as it gave the album a more brutal edge. For some, however, the cleaner production is an improvment
One area I'm glad to see improve greatly are the lyrics. Its the same Vegan ideals, but instead of relying so much on gore and gross, Ryan makes serious points about how man is destroying the Earth, and how our carelessness will lead to our downfall. Like on "Sucess is...(Hanging by the Neck), when Ryan sings; What do you think makes a man take his own life with/his own hands/When tomorrow ends today, what a glorious day it’ll/be…/Man has succeeded in mass destruction/Man has exceeded its capacity here on earth" we see jsut how poetic and refreshingly meaningful
Karma.Bloody.Karma's lyrics are, and how improtant they are to enjoying the album. Ryan is becoming a real poet, a much needed comodity in Death Metal, where lyrics always seem to take a back seat to everything else.
The negatives of Karma.Bloody.Karma are few, but they are there. The cleaner production may bother some. Some of the bands expirmentations with other forms of Death Metal don't com off right, but I'm sure with more practice, Cattle Decapiation could become a real shape-shifter in the Goregrind scene(whcih may be tough for them, considering the reaction their peers in Aborted got from some fans for progessing their sound). These really are the only weaknesses Karma.Bloody.Karma has. The boys of Cattle Decapitation have done one hell of a job.
Karma.Bloody.Karma is easily one of the best albums of the year(in a year filled with a shitload of great releases), and solidifies Cattle Decapiation as a major player in the Goregrind scene. It may not be quite as good as Humanure, but it more than meets the same standard. Karma.Bloody.Karma is a must have for any Goregrind or Gore Metal fan, and with Karma.Bloody.Karma, Cattle Decapiation may be able to attract more progressive Death Metal fans. Check this record out. You wont regret it.