The Harvest Floor review by Cattle Decapitation

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  • Released: Jan 20, 2009
  • Sound: 7
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.2 (38 votes)
Cattle Decapitation: The Harvest Floor
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Sound — 7
Death metal and grindcore enthusiasts are undoubtedly already familiar with Cattle Decapitation. The San Diego band was founded in the mid 90's and they've released several critically acclaimed albums throughout that time. The Harvest Floor is the group's newest effort and instead of slowing their frenzied pace down, they've only gotten sicker with age! Obviously out to prove his might, new drummer David McGraw checks in with a breakneck performance. He attacks his snare drum with bloodthirsty abandon on tracks like on the relentless opener, The Gardeners of Eden. His work here easily puts in the same class as guys like Dan Wilding (Aborted) and Brian Harvey (Pig Destroyer). Producer Billy Anderson (Brutal Truth, Sick of it All) highlights the separate players and performances enough to have them stand out but he never loses grasp of the fine songwriting the band have obviously honed over the last couple of releases. Anderson also doesn't overdo things leaving enough thickness in the guitars to set the album apart from the endless flock of synthetic sounding metal albums coming out these days. The only drawback, sonically speaking, is the clicky bass drum sound but McGraw's expert playing more than makes up for it.

Lyrics — 8
Cattle Decapitation is made up of four vegetarians and their lyrics have always reflected that. If anything, their views towards humanity's consumption of animals have been nothing short of vitriolic. They still manage to often inject some humor into their songs but with music so harsh and intense in nature, it would be easy to miss it if you didn't have a lyric sheet in front of you. On The Harvest Floor humans are victimized in some truly ghastly acts of violence. On Tooth Enamel & Concrete vocalist Travis Ryan growls, pain like you've never felt before/your face instantly grated and scraped along the sidewalk/chiseled up, filed down and a concrete crown. Ryan's performances are pure unadulterated brutality here yet he somehow still squeezes out a few decipherable lines here and there. Not only does he possess one of the most guttural vocal styles around, he also unleashes a higher pitched, demonic voice in specific spots that jump out of the speakers like ravenous dogs. His approach on We Are Horrible People is proof alone that the singer will stop at nothing to get the band's message across. No matter what the consequences of his singing methods have on his throat in the long run.

Overall Impression — 8
Josh Elmore flexes his veteran chops throughout The Harvest Floor. He shreds like no one's business but more importantly, his command of riffing and rhythm in general is superb. The way he chops up the main refrains on Into the Public Bath will leave listeners breathless. Elmore is the ideal match for McGraw's thunderous drumming because his picking hand seems to know no boundaries. Having been around the underground metal circuit for quite some time now, Cattle Decapitation are part of a large family of bands keeping the scene fresh and thriving. To mix things up a bit, the band have invited some outside guests to contribute to the recordings. The most compelling has to be avant-garde artist Jarboe (ex-Swans) who lends her bewitching voice to the epic title track. These are the kind of left-field ideas more death metal groups should have the guts to try. In the end, The Harvest Floor is the sound of an assured act firing on all creative cylinders. Even though it's still so early in the year, this one will probably make the best-of lists come December.

61 comments sorted by best / new / date

    J.A.M
    ilikebass wrote: I really don't think I could listen to this band simply because of the name and the album cover...
    They want to shock you out of eating meat, I think.
    GuitarHero0715
    This isn't Grindcore, its just Death metal. Although I guess some Grind elements could be pointed out, I'd rather just call them Death metal.
    bafonikolas
    i dont really like the lyrical theme of cattle decapitation i have to admit this album is awesome...it is also quite complex and technical...
    Hybrid_Xer0
    I agree this band is more death metal, rather than grindcore, but has a lot of grind influence. Love this band, they have great guitar work and vocals never get bland.
    eNdofthELinE9
    ilikebass wrote: I really don't think I could listen to this band simply because of the name and the album cover...
    they're actually vegans.
    Lukeydoodly
    Grindcore isnt really my thing but I still gave it a listen. Some real nice riffs in The Gardeners Of Eden though.
    botched-eros
    The album cover is a great role reversal for the innocence being slaughtered to feed obese capitalists.
    metal4life592
    Haunt3dAng3l wrote: metalvinny wrote: This band is incredible. If you can't at least appreciate what bands like this do, you shouldn't call yourself a musician. Far from true, just because we call ourselves musicians does not mean we have to love every band and their style of music. I have nothing against this band or people that like this so called "grindcore" stuff. But honest to god, how is this shit music? There isn't any real rhythm or melody in bands like Cattle Decapitation's music. They call this Death Metal? HARDLY! Chuck would be so pissed to hear this. But you see, that's just my opinion, and we're all able to have one. We don't have to "appreciate" this band's music if we honestly don't like it.
    No rhythm or melody? Have you even listened to Cattle Decapitation before?
    742627000017
    pooflinger069 wrote: now I know they're makin up sub-genres now...what the **** is grindcore....is that even a word...just call it METAL!!!!!
    So : Iron Maiden - Metal Dick and ball torture - Metal Alice Cooper - Metal Cannibal Corpse - Metal Black Sabath - Metal Torso Fuck - Metal "I listen to metal" would that make sense?
    Nashrakh
    Cattle Decapitation rule. Especially BECAUSE of the message they try to get across. There should be more of that, but sadly, Veggie Death/grinders are rare (I'm one of them, btw)
    World_War_Z13
    wait, their name is cattle decapitation?? wow.. people have a hard time coming up with good names these days huh?
    the agony scene
    **** can people just stay away from the comments section if your I.q is considerably low. LIKE THE BAND COME HERE COMMENT ! great DONT LIKE THE BAND FAIR ENOUGH JUST SAY "NOT MY THING "IF YOU NEED TO COMMENT SO BADLY.
    BlackSymphony6
    withgunstoglory wrote: I wanna start a Death/Grind band featuring songs about how tasty steak is
    Im in. We can call it Carnivore Rampage or something. Im not massively up on my Grindcore but i reckon this band are a bit over rated. Decent, but nothing mindblowing.
    keeganC
    cattle decap are one of my favorite bands this album is my favorite out of all of them **** meat, metal forever
    The Warmaster
    Piovesan121 wrote: Cilla Black wrote: I respect their views and everything, but the music is disgusting. I don't need to hear someone growling. Can you even call that music?
    Hah, I used to think like that, until I actually decided to actually sit down and give extreme metal a try, and not just dismiss it as talentless noise. And, believe it or not, I actually liked what I heard! So, I'm quite certain that music can be pretty much anything, really. As for whether you like it, though... that's your decision.
    Jondy
    pooflinger069 wrote: now I know they're makin up sub-genres now...what the **** is grindcore....is that even a word...just call it METAL!!!!!
    hey you're right. hell, why even bother with band names? it's all metal right? pfft screw that, just call everything music. it's all music right? "what kind of music do you like?" "the music kind of music!" hell yeah.
    VRattleheadDeth
    TyrsFromAbove37 wrote: Open-mindedness only goes so far, and even for people who think Metal (in general) is the best style of music (again subjective, but a more general term...) like myself, Grindcore style music is a bit extreme. I don't doubt for a second the talent that these guys have as musicians, but their compositional talent is a bit lacking. So, if you give their music credit solely because you think you're hardcore for liking them or because you only agree with what they have to say, you like them for the wrong reasons. (I say this because I find it hard to stomach how you can call grindcore music....it's more like the rap of metal...the poster-child that makes everybody hate anything associated with it...) -TFA
    Reading these comments, I realized how much I've grown musically. I've been one of the people to comment and say "This shit sucks, it's not music", then I became one of those who defended the music merely to impose the image of a badass upon myself, and now I've reached a much more objective and broad view of music. The first mistake you people make (granted the band is fully aware that they are leaving themselves open to this) is taking the cover art or band name as your impression of the band. The band is a vegan band, and their cover art is just an ironic piece of humor, you know a "what if?" sort of situation... Next is the stereotyping of grindcore. Cattle Decapitation is by far one of the most talented groups that I've listened to, and those of you who say their material is compositionaly lacking have probably not taken the time to listen to the album. The band is a large departure from the 30-second long songs/Reek of Putrefaction era Carcass grindcore scene. They even have 4 songs nearing or longer than 4 minutes which is very uncharacteristic of the general idea of Grindcore/goregrind. And the idea that the album is not melodic need to listen again... Every song has a VERY memorable and original melody somewhere within it. I find myself humming the tunes or having the melodies stuck in my head after listening to the album. Hell, the title track is even a choral piece with a haunting melody and a beautifully ominous vocal track. I've never listened to any other Cattle Decapitation album, but I find this one to be a very great and different piece of music. Now mistake me for some extreme metal fanboy not. I'm far from one too afraid to admit that I listen to anything but pure GRRR RAHHHHH music all the time. While I do love Arsis, Death, Machine Head, Cynic Meshuggah, In Flames, and Soilwork, I listen equally to bands most metalheads would either be ashamed to have on their iPods or whose existence would go unknown to the typical headbanger such as dredg, King's X, Counting Crows, Progress In Color, Linkin Park, New Found Glory, and the late, great Warren Zevon. I believe that ruling out an entire genre of music due to an expectation for a "metalhead" to uphold is ludicrous, and the idea that so many of you dismiss the album because of the opening seconds, the title, or, even worse, what you expect of a "grindcore" band, is absolutely appalling. Expand your horizons. Music is about heart, which these guys have, and to say that a person's portrayal of soul has less value than another's because you don't understand or respect it is ignorant. While I am not saying that this will be everyone's cup of tea, I am saying that to ignore any validity within the music is wrong; give it a try.
    adaeha
    Glad this review was here. I just checked out "Gardeners of Eden" on their myspace, and now I'm definitely gonna get this album. Also, what Rattlehead said (woo rhyme)
    metalvinny
    TyrsFromAbove37 wrote: ...but their compositional talent is a bit lacking. (I say this because I find it hard to stomach how you can call grindcore music....it's more like the rap of metal...the poster-child that makes everybody hate anything associated with it...) Lasting power is a really bad term to use; for just because they're still around doesn't mean they've been successful in any endeavor. If they like what they do, but have no fan base, they could be around for another several years...that is, if their vocalist doesn't kill his throat first...
    Lacking compositional skills? You should probably listen to the record first. Travis has been doing vocals for well over 10 years. There IS a technique to the metal yelling style vocals, if you know what you're doing, you won't blow out your voice. And it sounds shitty, but people that don't like extreme metal just annoy me (I don't respect anyone else's opinion - it's character flaw that I'm working on). So I'm an *****, whatever. If you're not going to listen to metal, at least listen something good that's not metal, like Minus the Bear.
    bucketheadmask
    metal4life592 wrote: Haunt3dAng3l wrote: metalvinny wrote: This band is incredible. If you can't at least appreciate what bands like this do, you shouldn't call yourself a musician. Far from true, just because we call ourselves musicians does not mean we have to love every band and their style of music. I have nothing against this band or people that like this so called "grindcore" stuff. But honest to god, how is this shit music? There isn't any real rhythm or melody in bands like Cattle Decapitation's music. They call this Death Metal? HARDLY! Chuck would be so pissed to hear this. But you see, that's just my opinion, and we're all able to have one. We don't have to "appreciate" this band's music if we honestly don't like it. No rhythm or melody? Have you even listened to Cattle Decapitation before?
    ps genious... appreciating something dosnt mean you have to like it thats the whole point of his comment.. it was saying that as a amusician you should be able to understand; the amount of effort they've put into it and their abilities and talents as musicians.. therefore you dont have to like them to appreciate them
    Rockon914
    i dont really like it when UG reviews extreme metal genre bands. All the users here either make a comment about the; the name, album art, stupid comments like "Death Metal Sucks!" Or they relate every band to Cannibal Corpse
    Relz
    Rockon914 wrote: i dont really like it when UG reviews extreme metal genre bands. All the users here either make a comment about the; the name, album art, stupid comments like "Death Metal Sucks!" Or they relate every band to Cannibal Corpse
    I agree. This review doesn't even do the album justice, it seems like it's talking more about the skill of the individual members rather then how the music sounds. Like I said before, if you're open minded check this album out. If you're going to think everything besides your favorite br00t4l metal bands Lamb of God and Disturbed sucks because they're gory or have offensive themes and names, don't even comment on the review or bother checking the band out.
    decayingdave
    Angry vegetarians - Now that's originality. The band's probably awesome if you can get into it but I can't seem to get into death metal proper, probably 'cus i'm still stuck on old-skool metal. For those of you saying that ''disturbed'' and ''lamb of god'' are metal... well, disturbed are girl-like and have undoubtedly sold out and lamb of god are scared of slayer, so for those of you telling the small minded indie kids what you think metal is, at least give the plaid shirt wearing lego haired fools some good examples of metal, please...
    MetalGear1786
    ilikebass wrote: I really don't think I could listen to this band simply because of the name and the album cover...
    +1
    TyrsFromAbove37
    botched-eros wrote: The album cover is a great role reversal for the innocence being slaughtered to feed obese capitalists.
    So we should be eating innocent people instead of innocent cows?!?!? If our ancestors hadn't consumed flesh, these guys wouldn't be here now to protest the eating of animals....oh how I wish there were a sentient vegetable...
    Piovesan121
    Cilla Black wrote: I respect their views and everything, but the music is disgusting. I don't need to hear someone growling.
    Can you even call that music?
    ilikebass
    I really don't think I could listen to this band simply because of the name and the album cover...
    Sabbath89
    J.A.M wrote: ilikebass wrote: I really don't think I could listen to this band simply because of the name and the album cover...They want to shock you out of eating meat, I think.
    Yes, they are Vegetarians. Besides that, they are horrible in my opinion. So stale and recycled. Oh well.
    taylorhindman
    Piovesan121 wrote: Cilla Black wrote: I respect their views and everything, but the music is disgusting. I don't need to hear someone growling. Can you even call that music?
    You know what? If you ignorant ****s are just going to sit here bashing metal, gtfo. I never understood why someone would want to read a review on music theyre not even in to.
    freddaahh
    pooflinger069 wrote: now I know they're makin up sub-genres now...what the **** is grindcore....is that even a word...just call it METAL!!!!!
    Grindcore has existed for around 20 years, and it's more like an extreme subgenre of punk rather than a metal genre.
    EmancipatedSoul
    pooflinger069 wrote: now I know they're makin up sub-genres now...what the **** is grindcore....is that even a word...just call it METAL!!!!!
    Grindcore = Core. Death Metal = Metal. Two different Genres that sometimes mix. Rather categorize than generalize.
    thirdeye_15
    hahaha, i chekd there myspace out... Meh, plenty others out there that id rather use my time an listen to... Brutal name tho hhaha, Beneath the Massacre,Ion Dissonance... chek them out... Animosty... Despised Icon... there all metal no doubt... but i mean... there ALOT differnt then lets say, Pantera an even Lamb of god... so to category them into just Metal is a broad spectrum...
    Rockon914
    pooflinger069 wrote: now I know they're makin up sub-genres now...what the **** is grindcore....is that even a word...just call it METAL!!!!!
    of course there making up sub genres, its how you easily identify music. And grindcore has been around for a long time, but this site is very metal fan based which is part of the reason i think this Cd got a not so positive review.
    Relz
    Great album, too all you people who are saying stuff about their name or their cover art, it's part of the style of music they play. Death metal bands DO stuff like that, it's supposed to be gory and "gross." If you are open minded and enjoy good music, check this album out. It's different from a lot of other death metal, but still great.
    Paddles
    pooflinger069 wrote: now I know they're makin up sub-genres now...what the **** is grindcore....is that even a word...just call it METAL!!!!!
    So... where have you been for the past twenty years?
    metal4life592
    *Ignores idiocy in the comments section( I was pretty impressed with how this album turns out. Can't wait to see them tomorrow night!
    blackborrego
    awesome band, shitty review. I really dont care if they are death metal or grindcore or ****ing punk rock ! they are one of the most brutal and violent band ever, and thats good
    Lohnanmilitia
    regardless of their views. I've never really gotten into them. But the lambgoat review peaked my curiosity that they actually put out a stellar record. An its true. They did. This is an amazing album. Bit better than a 7.7.
    boyan89
    Paddles wrote: pooflinger069 wrote: now I know they're makin up sub-genres now...what the **** is grindcore....is that even a word...just call it METAL!!!!! So... where have you been for the past twenty years?
    Seriously.