San Diego based death metallers Cattle Decapitation recently released their second album for Metal Blade. Humanure is a dark opus dwelling on the pathetic existence of man, his faeces and how to make human compost. Their last album To Serve Man caused quite a stir in the public partly due to its offensive and somewhat provoking lyrics and artwork. The new album hasn't been left in the shadows of its predecessor and this has also resulted in that the band has been forced to censor the cover artwork due to its explicit nature.

Travis Ryan interviewed by PSL

How would you say Humanure differ from your previous album To Serve Man?
The production is a million times better and so is the drumming. The songs are still really memorable but with crazier things going on. Just a better record altogether. I see a lot of people that were totally turned off by us with To Serve Man really digging this record.

Has it changed anything that you have a new drummer in the band?
Yes very much. The last guy was getting very repetitious and wanted us to be some typical death metal band and we thought otherwise. Mike changed up the drum patterns in our songs immensely. He's almost too atypical at some times.

How would you describe your music in your own words?
This is going to sound totally lame, but if I must. Frantic grind inspired death metal.

Could you please explain what humanure is?
It is faeces excreted as a result of digestion of human parts; cannibalism. It could also be explained as a metaphor for the humans role on earth that he/she has willingly assumed simply by existing.

Your lyrics seem very misanthropic and yet quite humorous. Is there any deeper meaning behind all this?
No, not really. Except that it really reflects my personality sometimes. Misanthropic, yet humorous. Again, I really don't like to be typical.

You've had some guests on the album. Could you tell a little about that?
The guy that I replaced in '97, Scott Miller, did some electronic stuff for the ending of the record. I had 3/4ths of The Locust come in and do some vocals. Our friend in the band Crimson Moon helped out with the piano intro. That's about it. All stuff that our old drummer would never let us do. We're getting it out of our system.

You've used Bill Metoyer as producer. Was he the first and most obvious choice? I mean his not exactly mostly known for his death metal productions!
Yeah, we were turned onto him by an ex-Metal Blade employee. The only thing that we were worried about, was we had no examples of death metal that he may have done before. Just DRI, Slayer and old stuff. Actually the Tourniquet albums sounded really good so I said why not, especially with his rap sheet. Holy shit.

How much was the band involved in the producing process?
We pretty much did everything except for the engineering. Which really isn't much, but we pretty much directed everything. It was great. He's a great guy to work with.

What would you say set you apart from the majority of other death metal bands that are out there?
We have short hair and we're vegetarian. No, just kidding. We have a sense of humour, but it in no way overshadows our misanthropic agenda. We tune to E flat. We do a really good job of incorporating melody with insane brutality. Is that bragging?

To my knowledge Cattle Decapitation started out as a grindcore band what made you change direction and go for full-fledged death metal instead of continuing playing grindcore?
They were around a few months before I joined and when I joined I really had to take over the vocals and lyrics and they made a conscious decision to write more death metal sounding stuff. That was around the Homovore period. Before I joined the band, they were pretty much a really lame Locust spin off. A lot of people like that record, but they all hate it, I thought it was ok, but Human Jerky was where everything totally changed for the better.

Which bands would you say have had a major impact on your music?
Napalm Death, Carcass, all old Earache bands. Emperor. Discordance Axis.

What led to the cancellation of your US tour with Decapitated?

That tour happened! They're the ones that cancelled. I don't know what happened to them. I read a bunch of speculation. Probably their label didn't want to pay to send them over or something.

Have you had any response to the band name? I'm aware that the band name doesn't refer to humans but in light of what's happened/happens in Iraq with all the decapitations I thought it might have sparked some negative publicity!
The only thing we heard or saw about anything remotely like that was the article in Entertainment Weekly. A huge magazine here in the states. huge. But not huge enough to where it got to the death metal population really. That was it. Nothing else until you mentioned it! [laughs].

What's the purpose with the outro "Men Before Swine"? I mean it's a very long outro and therefore it's logical to think it's only put there to serve as filler!
[Laughs] if it was filler then the album would have probably only been like 30 minutes of music! [laughs]. In fact I originally wanted it to be like 35 minutes long, not nine. Fuck people. They need to hear it.

Any plans of touring Europe later on?
I fucking hope so. It's my dream, pretty much. I want to go to Japan too. Hopefully early next year.

Any closing comments?
Thanks and see you soon!

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