A lot has happened in the Cattle Decapitation camp since their wildly successful The Anthropocene Extinction. Now, in the midst of working on their as-yet-untitled eighth record, they’ve finally announced the completion of a project 10 years in the making – a rarities compilation entitled Medium Rarities. The deathgrind band have come a long way since their Human Jerky EP days over twenty years ago, and this release fills in the gaps of their storied career, including a song even the band members thought lost.
Medium Rarities is more than your average, mundane compilation – it offers a jumbled narrative from the band’s earliest recordings with vocalist Travis Ryan (here also playing guitar, as an added novelty) to the far more technical present day. While the songs don’t follow chronologically, the release includes previously unreleased material from the pre-Human Jerky demos recorded in 1999, as well as the band’s side of the legendary split with Caninus, and a handful of bonus tracks, including the much sought-after one from 2002’s To Serve Man, entitled, “Rotting Children for Remote Viewing” – the track on which this entire compilation hinged.
The initial set of songs in Medium Rarities – taken from the beloved Caninus split – are characteristic of the band’s frantic arrangements and tendencies to start and stop abruptly, before bringing back the intensity once again. “No Future” and “Chili Dispenser,” brilliantly transition between virtuoso basslines and guitar riffs interplaying like snakes coiling in a pit, with impressive hyperspeed drumming to keep the pace. Track six, “Turn on the Masters,” is distinct for its groove-laden intro riff, and is easily one of the most accessible songs in the first section of the compilation. The demo versions in the middle of the compilation show the songs in raw four track guise and are a must-listen for die-hard Cattle Decapitation fans. Those who want to hear what early nineties cassette-tape-grade grindcore recordings used to sound like should appreciate this cross-section of the compilation.
According to Cattle Decapitation, there is “No Future”.
Though relentless blasting is a big part of Cattle Decapitation’s identity, it is also worth noting the group’s propensity for groove. This is abundantly clear on the groove-influenced, “Tripas de Pepe.” The track doesn’t stay on a groove pattern for long, though. When the intensity picks up, the music swirls like a funnel cloud, leaving devastation in the wake of its fury. The same can be said for the effect Carcass cover, “Burnt to a Crisp”. Unfortunately, not every cover works out, and the band’s rendition of The Birthday Party’s “Sonny’s Burning” that follows might appeal to fans the least – the vocal delivery feels immature, and simply does not suit the cheesy theme.
This is righted by the introduction of the next track, which kicks off the more modern section of Medium Rarities: the aforementioned hard-to-find single, “Rotting Children for Remote Viewing,” which is a departure from the progressive leanings the band have taken since The Harvest Floor. It uses a more straightforward but nonetheless intense approach distinct for pulling the punch ever-so-slightly instead of going all out.
Despite the rough edges around the early demos, it’s clear that Cattle Decapitation have always possessed a progressive/technical dexterity in their instrumentation. That said, this is more easily ascertainable in the latter tracks in the compilation, which are also, not coincidentally, aided by quality production to lend clarity to the whirlwind of riffs and beats that simultaneously pummel the listener into submission and render them in awe of the band’s energy and expertise with their instruments.
Get a load of “An Exposition of Insides”!
For fans of Cattle Decapitation’s satirical humor and intensive offensive, the wait for a new album can’t ever be short enough. For such fans, and those who don’t have this hard-to-find material, Metal Blade Records is releasing this compilation to tide us over. Until then, fans can feast on some of these Medium Rarities. Yum!
Medium Rarities Tracklisting:
01. Birth. Cancer. Death.
02. No Future
03. Chili Dispenser
04. The Recapitation of Cattle
05. Thrombosis All-In
06. Turn on the Masters
07. Tripas de Pepe
08. Vino de lo Sanguifero
09. Queso de Cabeza
10. Birth. Cancer. Death. (Demo)
11. Diarrhea de Dahmer (Demo)
12. Human Jerky (Demo)
13. Thrombosis All-In (Demo)
14. Colon Blo (Demo)
15. Flesh-Eating Disease (Demo)
16. Burnt to a Crisp (Carcass cover)
17. Sonny’s Burning (The Birthday Party cover)
18. Rotting Children for Remote Viewing
19. You People
20. World Full of Idiots
21. An Exposition of Insides
22. No Light and No Life
23. Cannibalistic Invasivorism
Run Time: 39:59
Release Date: November 23, 2018
Record Label: Metal Blade