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Cattle Decapitation Talk the Environmentally Friendly ‘Monolith of Inhumanity’
San Diego death-grind masters Cattle Decapitation have returned after a three-year break with their latest album, Monolith of Inhumanity, their follow-up to 2009’s The Harvest Floor. The album continues Cattle Decapitation’s socially conscious lyrical themes that feature pro-animal/anti-human sentiments; however, the record’s concept is much more environmentally focussed than the band’s previous releases, frontman Travis Ryan tells Exclaim! in a recent interview.
“It’s not like there’s songs about staying green or anything like that, but it more so deals with where we’re headed as a society,” Ryan says. “That’s the same thing, I guess, that a lot of socio-political bands would talk about, but we just use a slightly different angle, a very misanthropic angle. It’s depressing and kind of one-sided and cruel and unfair. I don’t have the answers, I can only propose the problems.”
Although Cattle Decapitation’s lyrics can be viewed as advocating animal rights, which has been a theme the band have maintained throughout their seven-album career, Ryan explains that the concept is not that simple.
“To me it’s almost like animals don’t have rights. There are laws that are put in place to protect animals, but with us being a dominating species, animals don’t have rights, not as long as there’s fur trade and not as long as there’s factory farming.
“It’s just how it is, there are laws that try to protect them, that are very rarely enforced, but that’s it. That finds its way into the lyrics of our band a lot because we deal with a lot of environmental topics and social topics, stuff that doesn’t really get talked about a lot in metal, or death metal for sure.”
Cattle Decapitation’s misanthropic views complement their ever-evolving aggressive sound that combines grindcore’s fast, frenzied guitar work and machinegun drumming with death metal’s intense grooves and grotesque, guttural vocals. Monolith of Inhumanity is also their most musically diverse album, with many different elements coming together to form a cohesive sound.
“[We’ve spent] years touring and honing our sound into what we want, but maintaining the Cattle Decapitation vibe that we’ve had since the very beginning; that really intense, sort of frantic, sort of uncomfortable vibe that we’ve tried to keep,” Ryan says.
“We’ve just added little flavours and gone, ‘Let’s try this’ a lot. It’s a very experimental band when it comes to that. We do a lot of going out on a limb and seeing if something will work and pushing the boundaries a little further each time, partly out of curiosity and partly it’s just us trying to do what we want to hear.”