Having formed in 1996, Cattle Decapitation have become one of the biggest bands in the death metal world. Over the years, the band’s delivery of deathgrind has grown and developed with each release; while always a stellar band and a popular act among the underground, one album not only elevated them into the greater metal limelight, but would also cement them as one of the most remarkable death metal acts of today.
On May 8th, 2012, Cattle Decapitation released their fifth studio album, Monolith Of Inhumanity. From fans to critics, as well as other fellow metal artists, Monolith Of Inhumanity captured the awe of the metal landscape.
Not only making several end of the year lists – while considered many folk’s favorite album of the year as well – Cattle Decapitation masterfully elevated their craft with this album. Since then, the band have gone on to release two other incredible albums – being that of 2015’s The Anthropocene Extinction and 2019’s Death Atlas.
And again, while Cattle Decapitation were always an impressive death metal act, Monolith Of Inhumanity stands as one of the most impressive works among the band’s discography.
To celebrate the upcoming 10 year anniversary of this superb work of death metal, we wanted to talk about six wild details that stand out about Monolith Of Inhumanity.
Monolith Of Inhumanity More Ferocious & Chaotic
This album represents when the band started to write songs in a more “traditional verse/chorus/verse” style
Prior to the release of Monolith Of Inhumanity, the music of Cattle Decapitation was much more chaotic – as far as compositional structure goes. Embracing more of a frantic, grindcore mentality of speedy and aggressive instrumentation (with traces of melody), the band opted for more of a savage delivery of blistering noise. With Monolith Of Inhumanity, they took their iconic chaos and fashioned it into a (for lack of better term) – digestible manner. Each track off the record embraces the band’s years of repulsive sounding and ferocious deathgrind, but also displays their talent in blending that devastating style into a more focused approach. While further expanding upon the band’s use of melody and their incredible use of theatricality – Monolith Of Inhumanity marked a new chapter for Cattle Decapitation.
2001 A Space Odyssey Meets Death Metal
While not meant to represent a concept for the album, the album’s cover art is a brilliant nod to a classic science fiction movie
For you metalheads who happen to be film buffs, you may have already noticed what classic science fiction movie the Cattle Decapitation album cover of Monolith Of Inhumanity is paying tribute to. That of the apes and black object in the background are a nod to that of the 1968 Stanley Kubrick movie 2001 A Space Odyssey. The album cover as a whole is meant to represent a future where humanity has devolved, where pollution and human ignorance have overtaken what good there was in life. While the movie and Cattle Decapitation album are very different in what they are exploring, they are both works of art examining humanity – each looking to the future in some existential sense.
The Record Features A Death Metal Choir
Monolith Of Inhumanity technically includes an all men’s choir on it – an all men’s death metal choir that is
The song “The Carbon Stampede” happens to feature that of an all mens death metal choir in the form of the Cephalic Carnage Community Men’s Choir. This choir consists of all current Cephalic Carnage members (at the time of the album’s release) and alumni Jawsh Mullen and Zac Joe. Who would have thought you’d find a choir on a deathgrind album?
Controversial Death Metal Music Video
This album spawned one of the most controversial death metal music videos ever created
This Cattle Decapitation album spawned one of metal’s most controversial music videos ever: “Forced Gender Reassignment.”
The Cattle Decapitation music video depicts fictional members of the Westboro Baptist Church (a religious organization notorious for their anti-LGBTQ+ protests), all undergoing forced gender reassignment. Per that of Cattle Decapitation singer Travis Ryan (via Bloody Disgusting):
“For the Forced Gender Reassignment video I wanted something mean and cruel and flat out disturbing. It seems nowadays you have to be over the top in your presentation to get anyone to think about anything anymore. The song is about taking certain religious sects and showing them what its like to be in another person’s shoes – someone whose life is simply different than theirs – but forcibly so, of course, or else it just wouldn’t be Cattle Decapitation. A band heavily steeped in irony, pessimism and fucking pain. There was no second choice – Mitch Massie [the music video’s director] was the only person for the job. He helped put our vision directly on the screen and we couldn’t be more happier and at the same time repulsed by the aftermath.”
Special Cattle Decapitation Merch
Special merch related to Monolith Of Inhumanity involved the band working with the artist famously known for the Garbage Pail Kids
Teaming up with that of Tom Bunk – who is most known for his work with MAD Magazine and the Garbage Pail Kids – the band commissioned Bunk to create special art pieces of each Cattle Decapitation member. These art pieces – created in a style similar to Bunk’s work with the Garbage Pail Kids – was part of the band’s merch line up associated with the release of Monolith Of Inhumanity.
Monolith Of Inhumanity Includes A Haunting Sample
There’s a sample on this record that is not only chilling to hear, but it is actually a real sound effect of someone being…
While “Dead Set On Suicide” may be a riveting track to listen to, it happens to include one of the most gruesome samples we’ve ever heard in a death metal record. For so much of death metal that includes subjects of violence and torture, “Dead Set On Suicide” actually includes a sample of someone gurgling for breath as they are being hung. In an interview with Invisible Oranges, Travis Ryan spoke to this sample:
[Invisible Oranges]: Where did the choking sound on “Dead Set On Suicide” come from?
[Travis Ryan]: That’s a sample of a dude being hung. You definitely need to read the lyrics to understand that, decipher what’s going on.
If you for some reason have not checked out Cattle Decapitation yet, this is a fantastic album to dive in with. The band have been going strong since 1996 and have only released bangers!
If you are already a longtime Cattle Decapitation fan, where does Monolith Of Inhumanity rank for you among the band’s discography? It’s wild to realize that this remarkable work of death metal was released 10 years ago.
Words by: Michael Pementel