02. Unintelligent Design
03. Success Is...(Hanging By The Neck)
04. One Thousand Times Decapitation
05. The Carcass Derrick
06. Total Gore
08. Suspended In Coprolite
09. Alone At The Landfill
10. Karma Bloody Karma
11. The New Dawn
12. Of Human Pride & Flatulence
2006 Metal Blade Records
In 2004, a new, stronger Cattle Decapitation lineup emerged from the ashes of the novelty grind act and released Humanure, a mature and well-executed grind/death record. After two years of consistent touring, frequently upstaging the acts whom they were supporting, the band proved they were legit and finally began earning the respect they deserved. Karma.Bloody.Karma is the next step in the band's evolution, a slab of grind/death metal that might not blow everyone away but certainly shouldn't be ignored. This time out, the songs have a tendency towards the epic death metal stylings of Cannibal Corpse or Cryptopsy, while still including a healthy dose of Carcass-era goregrind for good measure.
The first thing most fans of the band's previous material will notice is the production. While the legendary Bill Metoyer did an admirable job on Humanure, the equally legendary Billy Anderson really kicks everything up a notch. Things get a bit messy here and there, but for the most part this record sounds amazing, thick and thunderous. Cattle Decapitation also get a little help from their friends this time around in the shape of keyboardist Joey Karam (oddly, the only Locust member NOT to appear on Humanure) and Sunn0))) collaborator John Weise.
The songs themselves supply a surprising variety of style while maintaining a consistent quality throughout. "Suspended In Coprolite" is an obvious standout to me, blasting its way through four riff-packed often nearly melodic minutes before the album's most interesting composition, "Alone At The Landfill," a track that ventures from slow-building double leads into blistering death metal and stoner thrash before ending up in a doomy atmospheric dirge with some beautifully raspy black metal style vocals to boot alongside some guest backups from producer Anderson who is also a vocalist in Blessing The Hogs.
The conciseness of most of the disc's tracks lend to their effectiveness in my mind as well. With a couple running barely over a minute and most at around three, the songs never wear out their welcome and keep your attention with strong riffs, or even occasionally clever production, as is the case with the disc's title track. Much like last time, the band has chosen to close the disc with a mildly disturbing ambient track, this time mercifully leaving out the slaughterhouse sounds.
One final note: Fans of previous Cattle Decapitation should be blown away by the increasing maturity of Travis Ryan's lyrics. Another key contributing factor to their novelty act status was the band's lyrics which focused on a pro-animal, anti-human agenda. On Karma.Bloody.Karma, the old ideals are still there but examined through a more intelligent light. While man's destructive and irresponsible nature have always been at the core of Cattle Decapitation's anti-human sentiments, they have never been expressed this clearly and eloquently.
Bottom Line: With more and more bands embracing death metal again, it's nice to see some familiar faces return stronger than ever. I would say that alongside Cannibal Corpse's amazing comeback with Kill, Karma.Bloody.Karma is one of the strongest releases the genre has produced this year. It's creative enough to merit frequent repeat listening and substantial enough to stand up to some pretty tough scrutiny. It should be enough to finally silence the naysayers and end the unfortunate continued branding of Cattle Decapitation as a joke band.