Cattle Decapitation - The Harvest Floor
Metal Blade
Technical Death/Grind
10 songs (37:31)
Release year: 2009
Cattle Decapitation, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Goat

Ah, Cattle Decapitation, the Death/Grind playing-vegans, beloved as much by animal rights activists as fans of discordant yet technical blasting extremity. Album number four follows pretty much the same paths as 2006’s Karma. Bloody. Karma but has a couple of diversions, not least a guest appearance from the all-around awesome former Swans vocalist Jarboe. As ever the lyrical themes revolve around you, you bastard humans, and how you destroy nature and eat animals along with the rest of man’kind’. Taking that classic slogan ‘Meat Is Murder’ to its natural conclusion, the marriage of Death Metal imagery and hardcore animal rights themes works well, and of course it helps that the band has skilled musicians in the line-up, from Josh Elmore on guitar to blastbeater extraordinaire David McGraw. Past members have been involved in significant projects like Angelcorpse, The Locust, Dying Fetus and Hate Eternal amongst others, placing Cattle Decapitation with the Death Metal glitterati.

As for the music itself, this is mostly fast and technical Death/Grind that isn’t afraid to dip its feet into the grime with guitar tone and a lot of furious grunts and growls from Travis Ryan. The variety on offer is what keeps The Harvest Floor from falling into the usual dull trap; opener The Gardeners Of Eden simply rages forth, audible bass twanging and a stop/start dynamic marking this out as individual before a surprisingly melodic section arises from the leftfield. It’s a very complex song, and like most of the tracks here will take a good couple of listens before you really get to grips with it, although the kickass elements are obvious from the get-go. Follow-up A Body Farm swings awesome riffs around its perverse little head like a rotten spinal chord, whilst there’s a foreboding, almost Doomy atmosphere to We Are Horrible People, without cutting down on the lightning-fast blasts and riffs at all.

Despite the ‘technical’ tag Cattle Decapitation don’t go particularly out of their way to feature any Jazzy bits or pieces, although they do pop up here and there, The Ripe Beneath The Rind one example. The band seemingly prefers to slip a particularly hard-to-play riff in beneath an especially frantic blastbeat, but don’t expect an easy ride, as mentioned. It’s fairly obvious that the standout track is the instrumental title track, but for the wrong reason; it’s here that they decided to place Jarboe’s amazing wails, which is a bit of a waste, really, as the music itself is slow and dull, your typical ‘atmospheric’ sort of track that bands think makes them artsy but in reality just makes people wish they hadn’t bothered. I was hoping to hear a real epic moment, a duet with Ryan whilst the band ground away underneath like a spasticated Cryptopsy, say, but clearly the Death Metal world still isn’t ready for female vocals in a Death Metal song, or so the band thinks. An annoying disappointment; but one partially made up for by the fact that the rest of the songs are uniformly of high quality, especially finale Regret And The Grave, a twisty-turny plate of kicked ass, with added cello from Amber Asylum’s Jackie. If 2009 has more Death Metal as good as this awaiting, then it’ll be a great year indeed.

Killing Songs :
The Gardeners of Eden, We Are Horrible People, The Ripe Beneath The Rind, The Product Alive, In Axetasy, Regret And The Grave
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Cattle Decapitation that we have reviewed:
Cattle Decapitation - Death Atlas reviewed by Goat and quoted 70 / 100
Cattle Decapitation - The Anthropocene Extinction reviewed by Goat and quoted 82 / 100
Cattle Decapitation - Monolith Of Inhumanity reviewed by Goat and quoted 91 / 100
Cattle Decapitation - Humanure reviewed by Crash and quoted 84 / 100
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