It's relatively rare to find a competent metal band with any sort of sense of humor. Cattle Decapitation's reign as extreme metal's leading gimmick band was cemented with the release of 2002's "To Serve Man." As often as the anti-human lyrics kept that record entertaining for me though, the relatively mundane musical approach made me wish that they could stretch just a little farther. Two years and a few line-up changes later, Cattle Decapitation has released "Humanure," their best record to date. Rather than rely too heavily on their radically pro-animal gimmick, the band has chosen to focus their efforts on making a genuinely brutal metal record. Fans of the band's last two albums should know what to expect: straight-forward gore-grind, complete with deep gurgling vocals, ranting on about the destruction of mankind. They haven't really changed the formula at all, they've just written much better songs. Minus the intro and outro, this disc consists of nine tracks and about 37 minutes of solid sonic dementia. The guitar work has definitely stepped up a notch and the incorporation of more thrashy parts has helped keep the disc moving along where the band's previous efforts tended to lose a bit of their luster as the disc progressed. The addition of Creation is Crucifixion's Michael Laughlin on drums also gives them just that little extra depth in the rhythm department to push them into the elite circle of gore-grind bands. What has begun to set Cattle Decapitation aside from other bands in their genre is their devotion to their schtick. I can't help but believe that in the event of an animal uprising, these guys would not fight on our side. For the third time, their militant vegetarian artwork has rivaled anything disgusting Cannibal Corpse ever had on the cover of their record. The lyrics are yet again gloriously disturbing. The fact that Metal Blade is behind this really helps both by adding credibility and in the production values. Bill Metoyer (Slayer, Six Feet Under) keeps it simple, yet makes "Humanure" infinitely clearer than their last two records. Bottom Line: While I appreciated Cattle Decapitation's first two albums, "Humanure" sets a new standard for these immensely capable metal monsters. This record takes the band's sick sense of humor and couples it with a matured song-writing talent. Fans of gore-grind, death metal or veggie burgers can't help but like this record.
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