Cattle Decapitation has gore-grind roots, but over time the band has added sonic variety and song length to the point that it’s basically playing technical death metal (Cephalic Carnage falls into the same “über technical grind” camp). 2004’s Humanure experimented with varied tempos and ambient bits; Karma. Bloody. Karma (on Metal Blade) takes that three steps further.
This album is so over-the-top technical that it takes a while to digest. Humanure sounds positively simple in comparison. But once you acclimate to riffs and odd meters attacking from all angles, you’re in for one scary ride. This is partly due to Travis Ryan’s arsenal of growls and shrieks; when he couples the latter with knuckle-scraping ambience, the results are terrifying. The riffs have a serious case of ADD, with almost zero repetition. As per Josh Elmore’s style, there’s tons of tremolo picking, pinch harmonics, and atonal pick sweeps.
Lyrically, the album has little of the militant veganism for which the band is infamous. Instead, it’s mostly straight-up misanthropy:
This is what you made, this is what you helped create
Craftsman of hell on earth, how can you live with yourself?
Begin voluntary human extinction
No better time than now
Whether due to politics or sound, Cattle Decapitation tends to polarize people. But if you’ve pegged the band as “vegan grinders,” this album is enough of a departure to warrant checking out