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No Improvement - 50%

VilliThorne, July 4th, 2012

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