Monolith Of Inhumanity is an elaborate project of dynamic shifts and experiments in areas that were previously untouchable. Songs veer off into unsettling ambiance, where the usually-vicious nature is toned down for a slower, methodical assault. Songs like “A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat” have choruses that could be deemed “catchy,” which seemed like a curse of death for the band a few years ago.
All these songs are still the furthest thing away from being accessible. The band still crushes the dreams of little children with steel-toe boots. There’s nothing welcoming about the bile slathered on in big portions, and even the occasional finger-snapping melody does not dilute the straight hatred these guys have for the human race. If song titles can speak volumes, “Dead Set On Suicide” and “Gristle Licker” should do the job.
Present on the album is no-frills death metal, like the seedy “Projectile Ovulation” and masterful pace of “The Carbon Stampede.” Then there are the songs where the band stretches out with tempos that go all over the board. “Lifestalker” is one of the more aggressive cuts starting out, before transitioning into a bass-led break that redefines the meaning of “heavy.” “The Monolith” is a four-minute build-up that poses a question of enlightenment; “If we were promised heaven, why put them through hell?” “Kingdom of Tyrants” answers that in an ill-tempered manner.
It’s not one part of Cattle Decapitation that makes them so untouchable, but what each member has to give. Guitarist Josh Elmore comes off like a wild man with his spiraling riffs and hard-to-top solos. Bassist Derek Engemann makes the most out of his first studio recording with the band. The over-powering drumming of David McGraw leaves a headache behind (that could be because he is a little too loud in the mix). Travis Ryan steals the album yet again, with a range that most death metal vocalists would beg to possess. He even employs clean-styled rasps and growls, lending a tuneful swagger when used.
Cattle Decapitation have merged into an intoxicating death metal group, doing what is necessary to slam faces into the wall, but doing so in a tender and passionate manner. Monolith Of Inhumanity has been an album that has gotten its share of buzz over the past few months, and all of it is warranted. This is going to be a tough death metal album to beat this year, and it’s all because of the band defying any chances to confine to their old standards or fall back on well-practiced tricks.
(released May 8, 2012 on Metal Blade Records)