Cattle Decapitation reissue ‘Human Jerky,’ discuss the bands that influenced the 1999 LP
Cattle Decapitation originally formed in San Diego in 1996. The lineup featured David Astor on bass and Gabe Serbian on drums — both of whom were then also members of The Locust — as well as a guitarist/vocalist, who soon allegedly vanished without the other members knowing anything of his whereabouts. Seeking a replacement on vocals, the band turned to Travis Ryan. With Ryan on board, Astor moved from bass to drums, and Serbian moved from drums to guitar. This lineup quickly released two albums, the Human Jerky LP and the Homovore CD/LP.
San Diego death metal vets Cattle Decapitation have reissued their 1999 debut album Human Jerky on Three One G Records, the label run by Justin Pearson who at the time was also bandmates with Cattle Decapitation members Gabe Serbian and David Astor in The Locust. The reissue was remastered by Dave Otero and it's available on cassette, CD, and three limited vinyl variants: 500 “Unclogged” color vinyl, 300 “Ready For Spewage” color vinyl, and 200 “Cream of the Crop” color vinyl.
Along with the reissue, frontman Travis Ryan (the only remaining member from the Human Jerky era) spoke to us about four bands that influenced the writing of this album back in the '90s. Here's what he had to say:
Starting with what should be the most obvious one here. While early Cattle Decapitation had a sort of Locust-y sans keyboards flare to it, one thing we definitely all bonded on was Carcass, primarily Symphonies of Sickness and Reek of Putrefaction. I don't think any of us were too into Heartwork which came out a few years before the band started so we felt the torch needed to be picked back up both conceptually and that wall of noise intensity recreated and I feel that's what we attempted to do with Human Jerky. We ended up creating something completely different that didn't resemble Carcass' output much at all except for the bear and snake vocal layering which should be pretty obvious but their early sound was definitely a springboard for us. Around this time the term "Carcass clone" was starting to gain traction and was at a fever pitch by 2001 with bands like Exhumed, Impaled and The County Medical Examiners completely nailing that old sound we loved so much. We even ended up on the Carcass tribute CD doing "Burnt To A Crisp" as that was all we could pull together in the time allotted. What we really wanted to do was a brutal version of "No Love Lost" as a joke. We really didn't take things very seriously at all in the early days and didn't think the band would go on to be what it is now.
The album World Downfall was another big influence as it mixed grindcore and death metal perfectly while being more grind-forward. I think this band was one of the big ones that were in the hearts and minds of the deathgrind movement of the late 90s.
The other two dudes in the band were really into this band. Admittedly I never got into hardcore or powerviolence like the rest of my friends did. I just wasn't exposed to it and was always way too wrapped up in death metal, speed metal, thrash metal and grindcore to really pay notice. It's one reason why I never got into Pantera (thankfully) - there was just too much other stuff that was more up my alley, I just didn't have time for that stuff. I'm an intense person and there was more intense stuff to be concerned with musically in my opinion. I really wish I had been exposed to Crossed Out though! That band was fucking GNARLY. Just pure aggression without the testosterone-laden jock nonsense that I felt hardcore oozed. I was actually pulled into the band by their guitarist Scott Golia who would come into Lou's Records, the record store I worked at at the time. He brought me a copy of the white vinyl of their Discography LP and always came in looking for jazz CDs. Really nice dude.
The song "The Decapitation of Cattle" was obviously our homage to "You Suffer". What nobody knows is that "song" came from us working out the beginning to the song "Cloned For Carrion." If I remember correctly, they were starting it and kinda fumbling and then one of em said "why don't we just make that a song" obviously with ND's "You Suffer" in mind. At that point bands were putting out 100 song albums that were 10 mins long, 2" vinyl releases (Slight Slappers) and so nothing really seemed to matter. We were having fun and would write 3 songs within one day so a 1/3rd second song wasn't out of our wheelhouse.