Cattle Decapitation – Monolith of Humanity


Review by Jason Guest

While living in Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II, Picasso underwent much harassment from the Gestapo. Allegedly, upon seeing a photo of Guernica in his apartment, one officer asked him, “Did you do that?” Picasso responded, “No, you did.” Were humanity to ask the same of Monolith of Humanity, it’d get the same answer. Face it, we are fucked. If musical form is to be appropriate to the intended impact of the message of its creators, Cattle Decapitation’s ever-evolving progressive deathgrind is wrong, just wrong. With such an ugly existence, Ryan et al should have chosen a genre that’s, well, much prettier. Imagine the finalists of [insert your country’s name here]‘s Got Talent putting their heart and soul (should they possess either of these, of course) into an earnest performance of a pop version of any of the gruesome tracks here. With such a vast audience penned in by their willing submission to a false consciousness, maybe, just maybe that message would be heard and the cloud of indifference and apathy that sits over humanity’s very being would evaporate and such grotesque artefacts such as Monolith of Humanity wouldn’t need to be created. But it has, and it’s a fucking beauty.

The trademarks of the genre underpin the album and the band continually demonstrate their development as a band and as musicians. Ryan’s vocals are gut-wrenching, his phrasing remarkable; Elmore’s riffs and lead breaks are as twisted as ever but more developed; Engemann’s bass – for it can be heard! – sharpens the low end alongside McGraw’s incredible drumming. With riffs, rhythms, and structures more complex than before, Monolith of Humanity bears more than a few surprises. The deathgrind of ‘Lifestalker’ is primed with a brief punk intro and the melodic middle section – lead guitar and vocals, no less; ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ has a funky groove thrown in to the barbarism; ‘The Monolith’ is an atmosperic, ambient piece, a wasteland tainted with tortured vocals that stretches out until the deathgrind returns full fury for the majesty of ‘Kingdom of Tyrants’; and there’s a chorus – a catchy one, at that! – in ‘A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat’. Maybe this is the song that’ll be making its appearance on prime time TV…

Since their inception as a good but largely generic deathgrind band in 1996, Cattle Decapitation’s sound has been constantly evolving, but Monolith of Humanity shifts them to a whole new level. It’d be easy to say that this is their best work to date but that would make it sound as if this just “their next album”, a logical and maybe predictable step in their evolution. 2009’s The Harvest Floor was – and still is – a solid album. But this! This is incredible! Where they last left us with Harvest… gave no indication of what this would be like. This is gonna be very difficult to top…

9.5 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. The Carbon Stampede
  2. Dead Set On Suicide
  3. A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat
  4. Forced Gender Reassignment
  5. Gristle Licker
  6. Projectile Ovulation
  7. Lifestalker
  8. Do Not Resuscitate
  9. Your Disposal
  10. The Monolith
  11. Kingdom Of Tyrants

 And you can read Jason’s interview with drummer Dave McGraw here


  1. I hear that ‘A Living Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat’ will be the X Factor single at Christmas this year.
    ps. why hold back the half mark? The alliterative band name?

Comments are closed.