Cattle Decapitation
Sat Oct 2

8 NW 6th

Metal bands front "scary" like it's going out of style. You've got Slipknot's stupid clown-pig masks; System of a Down's guitarist pretending to be "possessed"; even Sabbath getting all faux-Prince of Darknessed out. And none of it is convincing or real or interesting. It's conscious, staged--a choreographed money-dance to snake-charm the wallet out of your pants.

San Diego's Cattle Decapitation plays grindcore--which is a fancy word for heavy heavy heavy metal--and they are the only band on Earth that has ever truly scared me.

Case in point: Early in Cattle's career, singer Travis Ryan is lunging around the stage, singing about being disgusted with modern life and not knowing his place in the world, when he suddenly jams his pointer finger down his throat and pukes soupy white foam all over his shoes. Done by anyone else it would seem like theater, but the brutal emotion he used while bulimicing himself seemed 40,000 times more honest, candid, and harrowing than every emo band on earth melted down and combined.

Case in point: Album cover art. A cow shitting out the rotten remains of a person, complete with gape-mouthed fleshy skull? Cow heads with faces peeled back revealing pomegranate-red muscle tissue?

Case in point: Couple years ago, Cattle's playing a show when the vocal mic goes dead. Undaunted, Ryan goes for it sans mic, and does the set screaming over his band's thundering RRREEEE OOOORRAWW, eyes wrenched shut, fists balled up, punctuating his lyrics with upraised palms, almost Nazi-like. You couldn't hear a word, which made it even creepier--Ryan on Mute, ranting and raving like a homeless guy losing his shit, about to snatch a toddler from its mom.

Case in point: Tonight at Roseland with Goatwhore and Deicide. Cattle just survived Hurricane Ivan on the southern leg of their tour, so expect wild, pent-up stuff. Email me if you get puked on. We'll trade war stories.