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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.