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Weird Live Review: Cattle Decapitation

Cattle Decapitation

Photo by Vince Edwards/Metal Blade Records

Well, I finally experienced my first Cattle Decapitation show and I must say, they exceeded my expectations. They’re a bit less weird than I was led to believe — the whole extreme vegetarian thing isn’t such a big part of their shtick anymore, as half the band members now eat meat — but they’re a super-intense live act. Especially frontman Travis Ryan, who has a death growl that can peel the paint off the back wall. Listening to him roar, shriek and gibber over Cattle Decap’s deathgrind onslaught is like hearing Mike Patton do vocals for Cannibal Corpse.

My full review is over on LA Weekly, so check it out. And fear not: We’ll have an update on their forthcoming album right here on this here blog as soon as details emerge. (I learned from a label publicist that they begin recording later this month in Denver, but that’s the extent of my knowledge. Well, that and the fact that the new songs they played during last night’s set sounded, at least to my untrained ears, exactly like what you’d expect from Cattle Decapitation.)

You really don’t wanna watch the new Cattle Decapitation video

If you read this blog on any kind of a regular basis, you know we occasionally post some pretty twisted shit on here. We’ve covered bands that jerk off onstage with vacuum cleaners, bands dedicated entirely to songs about feces, and guys who make music by chomping on hunks of broken glass. So when I tell you that I am about to share with you the grossest, gnarliest, most NSFW video I have ever laid eyes on, I hope you’ll appreciate the gravity of the situation.

The video comes from our favorite vegetarian goregrind band, Cattle Decapitation, with the help of director Mitch Massie. Massie shot the band’s last video, the now quaint by comparison “Kingdom of Tyrants,” but he really went off the fucking deep end this time. The song is called “Forced Gender Reassignment” and, well, that’s pretty much what happens to two unfortunate members of the Westboro Baptist Church of “God Hates Fags” fame. And it kinda makes me feel sorry for those two (entirely fictional…relax) members of the Westboro Baptist Church. Yeah, it’s that bad.

To prepare yourself for the eye-raping you are about to receive, you might want to watch these videos of people watching the video first. Actually, you know what? Never mind. They’re kinda boring. Let’s get to the good stuff.

Oh, did I mention you have to be at least 18 years old to watch the video on BloodyDisgusting.com? Sorry, kids. We had to draw the line somewhere. Apparently for us, that line is somewhere slightly past guys jerking off with vacuum cleaners.

In other Cattle news…the band is on the road for most of the next month. Dates below. Anyone wanna join me for the Dec. 7th gig at the Whisky? I’ll be good and ready for something that’s not fucking Christmas music by then.

w/ Six Feet Under, Wretched
11/02 Richmond, VA Kingdom
11/03 Frederick, MD Cafe 611
11/04 Clifton, NJ Dingbatz
11/05 Boston, MA Middle East
11/06 New York, NY The Studio at Webster Hall
11/07 Buffalo, NY Club Infinity
11/08 Reading, PA Reverb
11/09 Amityville, NY Revolution
11/10 Dayton, OH McGuffy’s
11/12 St Paul, MN Station-4
11/13 Joliet, IL Mojoe’s
11/14 Lansing, MI Mac’s Bar
11/15 Peoria, IL The Brass Rail
11/16 Valparaiso, IN Roadie’s Music Venue
11/17 Louisville, KY Phoenix Hill Tavern
11/18 Atlanta, GA Masquerade
End Tour
11/20 Trenton, NJ Backstage at Champs
11/21 Brooklyn, NY Saint Vitus Bar
11/23 Roanoke, VA Coffin House
Tour w/ Dying Fetus, Cerebral Bore
11/24 Atlanta, GA Masquerade *no Cattle Decapitation
11/27 Tampa, FL Brass Mug
11/29 Longview, TX The Levee
11/30 Houston, TX Fitzgerald’s
12/01 Corpus Christi, TX Zero’s
12/02 San Antonio, TX Korova
12/05 El Paso, TX House Of Rock
12/06 Tempe, AZ Rocky Point
12/07 Hollywood, CA The Whisky
12/08 Fullerton, CA Slidebar (Matinee)
12/09 San Francisco, CA DNA Lounge
12/10 Modesto, CA Plea For Peace
12/11 Richland, WA Ray’s Golden Lion

The County Medical Examiners

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It’s been too long since we added any actual metal bands to The Weird List. (And no, Van Canto doesn’t count.) Let’s fix that right now with a long-ago suggestion from superstar reader Ian Frost: a goregrind trio called The County Medical Examiners. Yeah, that’s them in the photo. We’ll explain why they look like bankers in a sec.

We explained goregrind when we wrote about Cattle Decapitation awhile back, but just to recap: It’s basically grindcore with lyrics entirely about death, decay, dismemberment, surgical procedures and pretty much anything having to do with terrible things happening to people’s tender insides. If those Body Worlds people have a favorite subgenre of metal, it’s probably goregrind.

Goregrind has been around since the ’80s, when it was invented by the band Carcass. So by now there’s actually a ton of bands playing this style of music and most of them honestly aren’t all that interesting: They just write songs with titles like “Pus Grinder” and “Bathed in Feculence” and sing in that demon Cookie Monster style over riffs that kinda sound like someone emptying a .50 caliber machine gun into a mountain of hamburger meat. But here’s what sets The County Medical Examiners apart: They really are professional medical examiners. Which in the world of goregrind makes them total pimps.

The CMEs have never gone on tour, and admit that they record under fake names, which has led to a lot of speculation that the whole thing is a giant hoax staged by one of the other goregrind bands. But in a 2006 interview with MTV, head Examiner Dr. Morton Fairbanks insisted that the whole thing is for real.

According to Fairbanks, TCME originally started as a Carcass tribute band, but at some point they began writing original songs…although he admits their original material is so derivative that they’re basically “playing covers of songs [Carcass] didn’t actually write but could have.” He also confirmed that the old dude in all the band photos is bassist Dr. Guy Radcliffe, who at the time of the MTV interview was 63, which would make him 69 now. “He’s classically trained and he also plays upright bass,” Fairbanks told MTV. “I’m embarrassed to bring him riffs sometimes, because he knows way more theory than I do.” We think he might actually be this guy, but that’s just a wild guess.

TCME hasn’t released any new music since 2007, when their second album Olidous Operettas came out on Relapse Records, which is also home to Cattle Decapitation and other “Carcass clone” bands like Regurgitate and General Surgery. So we have no idea if we’ll ever get any new music from these guys, but who cares, really? It’ll probably sound exactly like their old shit, which sounds exactly like Carcass.

Oh, one other nifty touch: Olidous Operettas came in a biohazard bag and smelled like rotting corpse meat. Bet the other goregrind bands wish they’d thought of that.

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Cattle Decapitation

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You think vegetarians are all just a bunch of arugula-eating pussies? Well, meet Cattle Decapitation and prepare to have your brains blown out. Then fed to livestock. That’s how these guys roll.

Cattle Decapitation is a deathgrind band from San Diego. What the fuck, you ask, is deathgrind? A cross between death metal and grindcore. Duh. (Translation: the heaviest, ugliest, most evil-sound music on the face of the earth, which somewhat paradoxically requires a high level of technical proficiency to play. That and a willingness to sound like a really constipated Cookie Monster trying to pinch one out after too much brisket.) They’re also sometimes lumped in with a subgenre of deathgrind called “goregrind,” which is basically any deathgrind band whose lyrics mainly deal with death, gore, rape, gruesome medical procedures, serial killers and anything else that might turn up in an Italian horror movie. We kinda thought that was all deathgrind, but apparently not. Apparently the goregrind kids think the deathgrind kids are kinda soft.

Anyway, enough of this genre crap. Eddie swears you people find it interesting, but I’m not so sure. What I do find interesting is that Cattle Decapitation is an extreme vegetarian deathgrind band who try to put their fans off the bacon-burgers by writing songs about cannibalism, human slaughterhouses, and my personal favorite, cows turning the tables and eating us. A concept expressed on the cover of their Karma Bloody Karma album and a bit more bluntly on the very NSFW cover of Humanure. (Did you click on that link? Threw up in your mouth a little, didn’t you? Sorry, should’ve warned you.)

With song titles like “Testicular Manslaughter,” “Stench From the Dumpster,” and “Colostomy Jigsaw Puzzle,” you might think this whole thing is a joke. And it kind of seems like it might have started that way: At early Cattle Decapitation shows, lead singer Travis Ryan would often wear a mask made out of beef jerky (which you can sort of see here), and most of the band’s songs were under a minute long and almost comicly unintelligible. But they’ve been at this for over ten years now, and the music has gotten a little more sophisticated (guitar solos, verse/chorus structure, etc.) and they’re still on-message with the whole “How would you feel if you were sentenced to a short, brutal life in an industrial feedlot?” thing. So props to them. I’ll probably still hit the Carl’s drive-thru write after I post this, though. Have you tried one of their Philly Cheesesteak Burgers yet? So wrong, yet so right.

Speaking of burgers…Cattle Decapitation is also, as far as we know, the only deathgrind band ever to have a veggie burger named after them. Shut up, I’m serious. You can get one at Hamilton’s Pub and Cafe in San Diego. Comes with something called PCS sauce, which supposedly stands for “Phil Collins Sucks.” That’s almost cool enough to get me to eat black bean paste in patty form. Almost.

Anyway, here’s the official video for “A Body Farm” off CD’s most recent album, The Harvest Floor. The video starts off kinda cleverly with a fake news report about a serial killer who uses his victims to fertilize his vegetable garden, and then just gets weirder from there. We should note that although the lyrics are totally unintelligable, they’re also amazing. Quick sample:  “Ah, the irony in being a killer, yet in the crime-solving community, I am a pillar/A corpse turns to mulch with a good roto-tiller.”

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