This spring San Diego’s death metal juggernaut, Cattle Decapitation returned with its seventh studio album, Monolith of Inhumanity. This month the band will return to the road on the mammoth Shockwave Festival. This week vocalist Travis Ryan spoke with Metalholic about the new album, the new tour, strange things fans do, his guest appearance on the new Soulfly album, and things that go bump in his mind.
Ryan, who founded the band 15 years ago, is the only original remaining member. Guitarist Josh Elmore has been with the band since 2001, and newcomers Dave McGraw (drums) and Derek Engemann (bass) joined in 2008 and 2010 respectively. Though Elmore did not join Cattle Decapitation until several years after Ryan, he has been a part of all five of the bands major-label releases.
“I don’t think so. In keeping with the last couple of records– the last few,” responded Ryan, pausing for a moment. “Even To Serve Man had super melodic parts on it. I think people aren’t used to hearing melodic vocals in this kind of arena. And that was kind of my intention because I kind of want to push the boundaries of what’s acceptable. And what does that mean? It means doing my best to get it to the point where somebody’s about to say ‘okay, f—k this!’ Pissing off the elitists or whatever is something we’ve always liked to do.”
Given the extreme form of music that Cattle Decapitation plays, I asked Ryan about some of the strange things he’s seen with fans.
“There’s dude’s that want me to do like duets with them in the parking lot. One guy made me come out to his car and just started at me while I listened to his band, and demanded my reaction and what I thought. Just dealing with people. That’s probably the weirdest part. Just seeing how they digest our music. That’s a big one to me. Just seeing people’s opinions of what we do. They’re the experts. What they say—that’s bond. I don’t know. We’ve seen all sorts of stuff. One night, in the middle of our pit there was a human pyramid of about 12 people, with a blow torch at the top.”
Over the course of 30 minutes, Ryan talked about his always intriguing song titles and lyrics, how he came to cameo on Soulfly’s Enslaved album, working with producer Dave Otero, and how he sometimes feels disillusioned with his fellow humans.