Cattle Decapitation

V.W.A. (Vegetarians With Attitude)

(or, alternately, the Volta River Authority - let's keep Ghana electrical!)

*special introductory paragraph!
*Ten Torments Of The Damned 7"
*Human Jerky
*Decapitacion! 7"
*To Serve Man
*Karma Bloody Karma
*The Harvest Floor

Cattle Decapitation is a San Diego grindcore/death metal band whose lyrics mix medical terminology, disgusting fecal imagery, misanthropy, animal rights protest and dirt black humor into a whirlwind of depressing yet hilarious degradation that its accompanying music can't hope to match. But some of the riffs are still great! The band began as a side project of The Locust's guitarist and drummer (Gabe Serbian and David Astor), but as days turned to minutes and minutes to memories, they one by one fell to the wayside, leaving control of the band to demented lyricist and multi-track howler/shrieker/groaner/whisperer/wailer Travis Ryan. Travis replaced them with a new, more technical line-up and sh-bing! That's my opinion.

Ten Torments Of The Damned 7" - Humanure Atrocities 1997
Rating = 6

The first Cattle Decapitation release has so little in common with any of their later releases that you'd be forgiven for not really caring what I write here. This is good, because I'm not going to write anything interesting.

The band line-up at the outset seems to have been Scott Miller on guitar and vocals, Gabe Serbian on guitar, somebody named Ben on bass and Dave Astor on drums. They perform 10 songs in 8 minutes, and Scott screams everything in an unintelligible high-pitched voice. It's not really grindcore, though there are a few blastbeat parts. Mostly it's just a bunch of tiny heavy metal songs that have like six different parts each. Some parts feature ugly high-pitched noise, others generic chord changes; some smart literary bass lines, others entire collections of tremelo-bar-bent chords; some UFO synth sci-fi squiggles, others silent moments where all you hear is a quiet electric guitar playing a few notes. Seriously they're not so much songs as teeny tiny compilations of itsy-bitsy passages performed on rock instruments. With some asshole shrieking at the top of his range the whole time.

The rhythm section is talented as hell, throwing out terrific high-speed rollicking round-the-kit rolls and groovy memorable note runs like they grow on vines. Unfortunately, the guitarists aren't quite as innovative and mostly stick to loud abrasive chords. The lyrics discuss such topics as child-molesting clergy ("Priest of Ass"), drug abuse ("Nightcrawler"), sickness ("Mad Cow Conspiracy," "Flesheating Disease"), and - in what would become a recurring theme in the band's later work - the parasitical nature of mankind ("Species of Feces": 'Murderous shitbreeders/Desecrate and pollute the earth/Nature's mistake/Humanure'). Not that you'll be able to make out even a single word the way the guy 'sings' them.

Now here are a bunch of great jokes about today's top celebrities:

What do you get when you cross Kanye West and Jay-Z?
Six paragraphs by Derrick J. Lang, Associated Press Entertainment Writer

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Miley Cyrus!
Miley Cyrus who?
It's not really Miley Cyrus; she's doing a quick wardrobe change so I'm standing in for her for a second.

How many Democratic candidates does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Did you say 'Democratic candidates' and 'screw'? That calls for a New York Post cover story.

Why did the American Idol contestant cross the road?
To get to the Yahoo! top news headline.

What's black and white and read all over?
I don't know. A TV?

Add your thoughts?

Human Jerky - Three.One.G 1999
Rating = 6

If you don't peruse MySpace on a regular basis, you may not have heard the good news, but it's official: I have now seen every single movie featured in Fangoria's 101 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen book! Here they are, with a 1-5 rating based on what I can remember about each of them (5 being the best):

Alice, Sweet Alice - 5
Alone in the dark - 4
Apt Pupil - 4
The Asphyx - 4
The Beyond - 4
Beyond The Door - 3
Black Christmas - 5
The Blob (1988) - 4
The Boneyard - 4
The Borrower - 3
Brain Damage - 4
Castle Freak - 3
Cemetery Man - 5
The Changeling - 5
Cherry Falls - 4
A Chinese Ghost Story - 5
Christmas Evil - 4
Cronos - 4
Day of the Beast - 4
Day of the Dead - 4
Dead of Night (Lighthouse) - 3
Dead Pit - 3
Dead Waters (Dark Waters) - 4
Death Machine - 4
Deathdream - 5
Deep Rising - 5
Def by Temptation - 4
The Dentist - 5
Deranged - 4
Devil's Backbone - 5
Devil's Daughter (the Sect) - 4
Dolls - 4
Event Horizon - 4
The Evil Within (Baby Blood) - 4
Exorcist 3 - 4
From Beyond - 4
Ginger Snaps - 4
Hardware - 3
Hell Night - 3
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer - 5
Horror Express - 5
Humanoids from the Deep - 4
I spit on Your grave - 5
Invasion of the body snatchers (1978) - 4
jack be nimble - 4
jack's back - 4
the keep - 4
kingdom of the spiders - 5
lair of the white worm - 5
last house on the left - 3
legend of hell house - 4
Lemora: a child's tale of the supernatural - 5
let sleeping corpses lie - 5
let's scare jessica to death - 4
luther the geek - 4
manhunter - 5
maniac - 5
maniac cop 2 - 4
motel hell - 4
mother's day - 3
mute witness - 3
necronomicon - 4
night flier - 4
night of the comet - 4
night of the creeps - 5
ninth gate - 4
nomads - 3
open your eyes - 5
opera - 3
the other - 5
paperhouse - 5
pin - 5
prison - 3
private parts - 4
pumpkin head - 4
rabid - 5
rampage - 4
ravenous - 5
the resurrected - 4
santa sangre - 5
screamers - 4
the sender - 4
session 9 - 5
shadowbuilder - 3
sisters - 4
the stepfather - 5
stir of echoes - 4
strange behavior - 3
swamp thing - 3
ticks - 4
tombs of the blind dead - 4
twitch of the death nerve - 3
two thousand maniacs - 5
the ugly - 4
the unearthing (Aswang) - 3
urban ghost story - 4
the vanishing (Spoorloos) - 5
wendigo - 4
when a stranger calls - 4
the wisdom of crocodiles (Immortality) - 4

I've even seen the movies mentioned in the preface that aren't included in the book! These would be:

Blue Sunshine - 5
Burnt Offerings - 5
Cube - 5
Death Warmed Up - 5
Spider Baby - 5
The Unborn - 4
White Of The Eye - 3

Your opinions? Add your thoughts!

As for Cattle Decapitation, by the time they launched their first full-lengther into the stratosphere, Scott Miller and Ben had said "Up your ass" and been replaced by screamer Travis Ryan. Then Dave moved to drums and Gabe to guitar, I guess, and they became a more straightforward grindcore band. This record features 18 teeny-tiny songs that all end before 13 minutes have passed. But get your ear-brain on because each of these teeny-tiny songs features about ten different changes! Some sections trudge, some thrash, some hardcore, but don't think too far out of the box because at the end of the day, all wind up blastbeat grindcoring your ass in. Although the band had no bass guitarist at the time, the guitar and drum tracks are so heavy that you won't even notice. Like many grindcore bands, Cattle Decapititties have some great sick riff ideas but constantly louse up the songs by replacing the effective passages with ugly, uncompelling chord sequences and simplistic, uninteresting 2- or 3-note combinations. Plus, if blastbeats irritate you, you'd might as well wear a pillow to a rhinoceros store because t

Plus, if blastbeats irritate you, you'd might as well jump from the top of a 500-story tower with a marshmallow on your dick because t

Plus, if blastbeats irritate you, you'd might as well smash yourself in the face with a sledgehammer while a malnourished baby holds a tater tot in front of your nose because t

But one thing's for certain -- the album starts with a Ghostbusters sample.

I know that for the uninitiated, grindcore all sounds the same. It doesn't help that descriptions of individual songs inevitably end up reading like this:

"Parasitic Infestation (Extracted Pus, Mistaken For Yogurt And Gargled)" - Begins with a high-pitched minor key passage, then the drums start stomping, then there's a blastbeat section with four repeated punk chords, then it turns into catchy hardcore, then it turns into another high-pitched section, then settles down into a slow bendy shriek guitar part. Then when it reaches 41 seconds, it ends.

As such, here are a few interesting tidbits (or, as the British say, "TITbits," if you can believe that! Why not "JITbits"? Or "SHIT-AND-JIT-ALL-OVER-A-NITWIT'S-CLITbits," YOU FUCKIN' BRITISH PERVERT SCUM????!!??! COME ON, BENNY HILL?!? THE FUCK WAS THAT!??) to listen for:

"The Decapitation Of Cattle" - Three chords in one second!

"Constipation Camp" - Terrible song, but hey! How's about that weird wiggly noise?

"Intro To Carnage" - Machine guns! Cows mooing! A single chord!

"Cream Of The Crop" - Note how Travis's introductory guttural wordlessness sounds like blood pouring from his slit throat, and Gabe's accompanying guitar squeals like an animal screaming in horror! Evocative, yet disturbing. Fascinating, yet vomit-inducing.

"Stench From The Dumpster" - The diddle-diddle thrash and high-pitched speedy descending chords sound like SLAYER! (But SHITTY! This is a terrible song.)

"Bovine, Swine, And Human Rinds" - Listen closely between the roundabout chords of the blastbeat section - Gabe sneaks a series of four rising harmonics between the chords! Pay close attention though because he only does it once and then the record blows up so you can't listen to it again.

"Colon-Blo" - EVIL metal riffing in the intro! EVIL! Too many of the note and chord runs on the album are more fast than threatening or mood-evoking, but this opening riff is EVIL!

In a musical genre categorized by its insistence on cramming as many different parts into as tiny a time slot as possible, it shouldn't be surprising that very few tracks are wholly pleasing from beginning to end. As such, the 'best' songs are those that feature (a) the greatest number of unique, bizarre passages that stand out from the pack and/or (b) the strongest ratio of KickAss passages to Dull, Plodding passages. The really interesting thing about drumming is that it kicks more and more ass the faster and faster it gets (AC/DC to Ramones to Bad Religion to early D.R.I....), but there's a threshold beyond which it cannot pass -- when it reaches this threshold (the 'blastbeat') suddenly everything sounds slow and plodding! Maybe because it's too fast to bang your head to? Maybe because the stringed instruments can't keep up with the drums so they sound sloppy and lazy? All I know is that far too many blastbeat passages - on both this CD and elsewhere - stop otherwise awesome songs in their tracks, replacing their menacing forward momentum with tedious jackhammering. Drum rolls sound great as minor fills, but who the hell wants to listen to a verse-long drum roll, let alone 17 or 18 on a single album? Maybe it creates a mood of destabilized rhythmic insanity in the live context, but on record it's just a bummer!

The one way that Cattle Decapitation does differentiate itself from other grindcore bands is through its lyrics. Certainly there are some serial killer songs thrown in here and there, but the Lion's Cher of Travis Ryan's lyrics discuss the cruelty and abomination of killing animals for food, and the horrible effects of a carniverous diet on the human body. Here, you'd like a few examples, I'm told:

"Bleeding, weeping, coagulation sets in... A bolt in my head!"

"Chopped in half, collapse from exhaustion/Caligular method of food preparation"

"Torn apart upon a hook/Limb from fucking bloody limb/Carbonized and oxidized/Pancreatic ducts ripped out/Cleaned of all its organs/Nephrons smother in their wake/Bludgeoned with a steak knife/Prepare a tasty meal!"

"Now buzzing with larvae and flies/Biproduct of our bullshit existence"

"Cloned, throats slit and packaged for delivery/Creation of carnage reproduced for consumption/Waste heap sold through fast food"

"Fattened for slaughter/Unknowingly feasting on the ground-up brains of their kind/Cannibal Cattle Plague/Carniverous humans die!"

"Rectal muscle gives way/Flooding down your leg/Enhanced nutrition/Sliding right through the body/No time to digest/Colon bursts out the chest!"

"All happiness in life is gone/Spurting human hose of waste and infection"

See, a normal band (The Smiths) would have put all of those lines in the same song, but nope! I just quoted EIGHT DIFFERENT Cattle Decapitation songs! Here are some more great lines from songs unrelated to animal consumption:

"Something awful happened to this child/An unholy wad of smegmated gestation/Jelly-like and squirming retarded heap"

"Innocent you lie - the stench won't die!/In bloody piles of swine - my god, the stench!"

"The stench from the dumpster/aaaahhhhhh! THE CARNAGE! BLOODSOAKEDMAGGOTINFESTEDROTHEAP!"

Travis Ryan = Walt Whitman '99? Buy this CD CD today!

See, you think I made a typo but the initials of "Cattle Decapitation" are in fact "CD."

So buy this CD CD CD CD today!

See, you think I made a typo but you don't know how much I like to use the phrase "Candy-Dad Castaway-Diddle."

Reader Comments
I've seen about half of those movies. Christmas Evil? Are you kidding me? Rabid freakin rules. I've watched Mother's Day about 20 times. Check to see what the lameo says about it. Oh and what the heck, man? Ninth Gate is just Johnny Depp smoking for two hours!

Oh and I've never heard Cattle Decapitation but a bunch of metal people I know like them.
"Maybe because the stringed instruments can't keep up with the drums so they sound sloppy and lazy? All I know is that far too many blastbeat passages - on both this CD and elsewhere - stop otherwise awesome songs in their tracks, replacing their menacing forward momentum with tedious jackhammering. Drum rolls sound great as minor fills, but who the hell wants to listen to a verse-long drum roll, let alone 17 or 18 on a single album? Maybe it creates a mood of destabilized rhythmic insanity in the live context, but on record it's just a bummer!"

I have an answer for you! Let me go back in time and fish out a comment of mine from the wonderful Invisible Oranges blog! I can't find it. But I'll tell you again.

It's division of beat. A fast beat seems fast not because of the KICK - SNARE ratio, but because of the kick-snare (accent) ratio to the timekeeper (a high-hat, let's say). So the fastest a beat can go while still feel propulsed is a thrash polka beat (sixteenths on the timekeeper, eigths on snare and kick) at 230 bpm or something before it becomes a mess of clattery percussion. If the brain can't differentiate between where the kick, snare and timekeeper notes fall (a typical blastbeat is actually a superfast thrash polka beat, but so fast that the kick and snare seem to fall on the same beat. Then there IS the blastbeat where it's all snare-kick-hihat at the same time, every hit, which is even more retarded.) then it hears wall of sound, not urgent, propulsed speedy tempo.

Which isn't bad for death metal bands that go for chaos as much as they go for speed. But boy, does 'chaos' become really annoying and boring in music fast if not juxtaposed with something more meaningful.

Have sex with me.
Well, maybe "Fangoria's 101 Best Horror Movies You've Never See" is right. I've never seen any of them. Oh wait, I've seen Private Parts the Howard Stern movie. Oh wait, that's Horror movie not Horrible movie. :-)
Aw man, Cube is one of my favorite films! I saw it at a friend's house, and she had four housemates all yammering away, so I was distracted and irritated, only paying half attention...

"Right, this guy is in the cube, he's the guy on the cover so he must be the main character, now he's going into...oh. Oh my."

Two hours later I snap out of it and realize the whole household is sitting on the floor around me, totally silent. Crazy.

Add your thoughts?

Homovore - Three.One.G 2000
Rating = 6

So I was standing at the bus store drinking a box of Candy-Dad Castaway-Diddle today when it suddenly occurred to me, "If I hated Cattle Decapitation, here's how a typical conversation with me would go":

You: "Hey, Cattle Decapitation is playing Madison Square Garden on Tuesday."
Me: "Oh, you mean CRAPPle DeCRAPitation?"
You: "Oh no! My pregnant wife just got hit by a car! Help me get her to the hospital!"
Me: "Oh, you mean your CRAPnant wife just got CRAPPED by a CRAP?"

It's no exaggeration to suggest that Cattle Decapitation is a band. Homovore is their second album and finds them in a grindcore mood, with the guitarist and drummer playing together beautifully as a well-oiled unit of massive rhythmic noiseblasting. Anyone who believes that drummers shouldn't be given co-songwriting credit for their mere percussive input needs to hear how large a role Dave Astor's rhythmic accents and constant speed-shifting play in the sound of these songs. Half the time it sounds like the drum lines were written first and Gabe just threw together a bunch of quick chords to fit inside them! So good work on that Dave, if you're out there anywhere in the world. And stop reading here because you sucked on the next album and I won't stop whining about it in my review. Or at least I suspect I won't, having not actually written that review yet.

Speaking of which, this point actually illustrates the sometimes-forgotten fact that a band is composed of human beings who have to deal with each other on a personal as well as musical level. I have to assume that, having worked together in The Locust, Gabe "Kaplan" Serbian and Dave Astor "Place" were either friends or at very least quite comfortable making music with each other, because - particularly on this album - their instruments really do sound tied together at the hip. If one makes a change, the other does too. If one begins to accent a different part of the riff, the other does too. If one creates a massive wall of racket, the other does too. This is a very different feel than I get from the next album, on which Dave has to work with both a new guitarist and a bassist, and seemingly doesn't listen to a thing they do. But I'll be complaining about that shortly enough, so let's continue with Homosexual Vore.

The patient suffering from Homovore and gonorrhea may experience the following symptoms: no guitar solos; a heavily-distorted metal guitar track in each speaker; frequent, painful urination; low + high multi-tracked growl/whisper/shriek vocals like before; a mild bladder infection; still no bassist; some interesting and memorable weirdo guitar lines, but also a load of space-filling throwaway shit; bleeding after intercourse; lots of swooping-up chords and bendy-string notes; nausea; twisted sick chords aplenty - some astounding, others excruciating; fever; vomiting; yellow or bloody vaginal discharge; swollen testicles; white, green or yellow discharge from the tip of the penis; blastbeats in every song; painful bowel movements; and lyrics about painful bowel movements.

An interesting thing about reviewing grindcore records is that, due to the artists' aforementioned habit of slamming 4,000 different parts into a 3-second song, I have to first listen solely for note-taking purposes, which involves lightning-quick listening and writing without the ability to "get into" the songs as they are intended to be "gotten into." I must then listen again free of pen and paper, to get a better sense of whether the riffs are sufficiently clever, quirky or disturbing; whether the drums propel the song forward, create an intriguing rhythmic stop-start pattern, or completely drown out the chord changes with stupid blastbeats; and whether or not the songs KICK MY FUCKING ASS ACROSS THE FUCKING ROOM AND OUT THE FUCKING WINDOW WHERE IT FALLS THROUGH THE FUCKING AIR AND LANDS ON TWO FUCKING DOGS. Then sometimes I listen again, just to make sure my ears weren't full of beans the first couple times. Then while writing the actual review, I listen to the disappointing new Ozzy Osbourne CD. Alright Zakk Wylde, enough with the false harmonics. You've been in the band for two decades; it may be time to come up with a new gimmick.

But all told, Zakk Wylde does a great job on Homovore, adding those juicy twisty-up chords, skrewy oddnut semi-chords, wicked finger-drops, queasy low bendy notes and angry speed thrashings when The Times (TM) call for them. Also of note for collectors of ephemera is that this album actually features a couple of LONG songs, something that the first record did not. Opening track "Mauled" for example lasts for an infinite amount of time if you have a copy that skips.

SingerMan's branched out this time 'round the old Writing-Go-Platter, feasting our lips on outlets of the following trajectory bottoms:

1. "Fuzzy strips of pigskin and cow-clits/Made into the finest cheeses/Throbbing and/Lined with diseases"
2. "Brutal rape of nature/Forced into submission and slaughtered/The defilement of life/Farmer-bullshit-biophile!"
3. "Running upright skewered and bleeding/Brand new strain of tender meat/Half bovine/Half man/All beef"
4. "As your arteries squeeze shut/You now realize/They're thinning out the numbers"

1. "Shoulder to shoulder/Squeezed together/Compound fracture of the torso"
2. "Using bleach and corrosives to make zombies/Gaping cranium sutured with epoxy/Homemade walking dead/Bumbling retard with scab for a head"
3. "Convulsions-spastic/Human cuisine-turned gastric"
4. "Dying from shock and being chained to the rot/Kicking and screaming and slipping in slop"
5. "Legs forced down into pavement/By hole in flatbed truck/Blatantly painful roadrash device/Shredding limbs when appendages need a trim/Two solid bloody lines for miles"

1. "Future double-suicide from shotgun blast/Rectally twins-and joined at the ass"
2. "Fused duodenum to esophagus/Inert maze of digestive tract/Visceral-abdominal U-turn/Diarrhea of the mouth"
3. "Shit bleeds through perforations"
4. "Inflamed pus pockets/On throat and related structures"

1. "Expleting heinous gasses and bio-hazards/Ingesting my own defecation/Increased inhuman carnal desire/Fecophelia due to exposure to methane"
2. "The plasma of fast food/Naked in a vat of crude/Eyes roll back in my head/Bathing in a grease disposal unit"
3. "Absinthe of rotted plasma/Drunk of the fluids that once flowed/Hallucinations due to prolonged fermentation/Menstrual sauvignon"

Yes, Travis Ryan is a baker's dozen of good times, bringing cheery family fun to all who enter his Lyricsmith Castle of Song And Dance.

In fact, here are a few Travis Ryan jokes to get the party started 2nite:

Why did Travis Ryan cross the road?
To carry the chicken safely to the other side, and mutilate a farmer.

How many Travis Ryans does it take to screw in a light bulb?
Just one, but he screws it into a meat eater's anus and continues screwing it all the way up through the digestive system until it comes out the mouth, which has been filled with gunpowder and sutured to the light fixture so that when the bulb is finally in place, the body explodes into a rotting maggot-infested slushpile of flab, corroded arteries and feces-encrusted flesh.

What's the difference between Travis Ryan and "Weird Al" Yankovic?
One is a strict vegetarian intent on torturing and brutalizing the entire human race through his art, and the other sings for Cattle Decapitation.

Knock knock!
Who's there?
Travis Ryan!
Travis Ryan who?
Travis Ryan ("why in") The World Are You Eating Meat? (*pulls entire slaughterhouse from fanny pack; murders*)

I don't claim to have all the answers, but one thing I know is this: If God didn't intend for us to eat meat, he wouldn't have given us salt, pepper, ketchup, steak sauce and all the other seasonings you have to put on meat so it doesn't taste like absolute shit. What are you saying - GOD made a MISTAKE??!? Yeah, dream on hippie.

Reader Comments

Adam Naworal
Back when I was REALLY into grindcore I loved this album. Listening to it now, I'm not sure why. I never liked those death metal grunts in grindcore (Carcass and Assuck being the two exceptions), and there's really nothing new going on. You COULD listen to far worse grind, but it does nothing for me now, whereas I still frequently listen to Napalm Death's SCUM and Fear Of God's first EP (the latter especially; Erich Keller's vocals were genuinely intimidating).

Add your thoughts?

Decapitacion! 7" - Accident Prone 2000
Rating = 6

If you put this record on the turntable and find yourself thinking, "Wait a second, this is just three songs from Homovore but with Spanish vocals!" well that's probably accurate.

Add your thoughts?

To Serve Man - Metal Blade 2002
Rating = 6

Blame the drummer, blame the producer, hell blame your PANTS if you want, but the fact is that this should have been the best Cattle Decapitation release yet. New guitarist Josh Elmore literally mops the floor with Gabe Serbian, down at the Burger King for $2.50 an hour. And Gabe doesn't exactly suck pecker, so I'm saying something here. When I hear Serbian playing, I think, "I could play that." I mean, I don't literally think that, but I'm using that as an intro to my next point -- when I hear Josh Elmore play, I think, "Man. I can't play that." He's a very strong, very fast, very technical player who comes up with some of the lightning-quickingest note runs and sickest strangled chord combinations one could ever hope to encounter. Unfortunately, about 1/3rd of his playing is buried under Dave Astor thumping on his snare like an asshole.

Please, let me explain. I'm assuming that what Dave is trying to do in these instances is play the stereotypical grindcore blastbeat, which you might know as SMASH!SMASH!SMASH!BOODABOODABOODASMASH!SMASH!SMASH! or some variation. However, due either to poor mic positioning, terrible mixing or heavy-handed playing, all you can hear is him thumping really quickly and really loudly on a single drum - TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP TAP. It sounds HORRIBLE! It also sounds (as I mentioned in the last review) like he's not listening to a thing that Elmore is playing; his changes seem entirely independent of what's happening around him. Maybe he just wasn't having fun without Serbian around? Whatever the case, he was gone by the next album.

The band also has a bassist now, but don't get all excited because you can't hear him at all. He does apparently play quite a major role in the band though, as the music for every track is attributed to he and Astor. And music it is! As always, there are plenty of 'eh' parts mixed in with the 'ooh!' parts, but the 'ooh!' parts are much more impressive and insane than before. The songs are also longer, moving them more into the 'death metal' category than before. Each song has ninety-leven parts as usual, but now the thrash and grindcore sections are complemented by greater black metal and NWOBHM influences (particularly in the hard rock opening riff of "Everyone Deserves To Die" and awesome, EVIL intro riff to "Chunk Blower"). And, in an interesting change of pace, the drums sound like a monkey bouncing his dick up and down on a tree stump.

It's pointless trying to describe any individual song on here since they're all comprised of the same types of music all thrown together in a pile - and quite frankly, when you take the album as a whole, every song sounds the same so it gets kinda tedious after a while - but there are a TON of fantastic guitar parts on here. Of particular note, "Testicular Manslaughter" is as disturbing and all over the place as early Cannibal Corpse, "Land Of The Severed Meatus" bangs the hell out of my head with its finger-dropping speed thrash, the main riff of "Pedeadstrians" out-Slayers a really good Slayer cover band, "Deadmeal" is eerier than a ghost in a cemetery with a Frankenstein monster, and "Long-Pig Chet and the Hairless Goat" goes so far off the rails as to even have one part with a MELODY! Also, there was a woodpecker stuck in the bathroom so they used him as a drum track for the whole album.

It's Springtime, and Travis Ryan's thoughts have turned to torture. So I'll close with a little poem I created by piecing together lyrics from every song on this album and combining them with some hilarious "Weird Al" Yankovic-like Led Zeppelin parodies that I just made up:

Ever had your gonads smashed by a ball-peen hammer?
Ever been forced into a vasectomy by an axe-wielding homovore?
Step inside the human jumpsuit
See what they saw, feel what they felt

You need coolin'
Baby I'm not foolin'
I'm gonna send ya
A bag with my stool in

This is the way your life ends…
On a slab in my basement
Perplexed by your loss of limbs
And wondering where your face went

There's a lady who knows
Where the Big Gulps get sold
And she's buying a 7-11.

In the perineum and out the mouth
Quartered by wooden spikes
Absence of genitalia
Hidden by disgorged abdomen

Lots of people talkin'
Few of them know
The sole of a woman
is just south of her toe

Upchuck on the maggot-lined trunk
The beautiful act of blowing the chunk

Come from the land with ice and snow
Look at me! I'm an Eskimo!

Extreme holocaust of the peoples
The unbiased hand of death
Resetting an evolution
Reversed big-bang conclusion

Hangman, hangman
Oh wait a little while
I think I see my friend coming
Never mind, it's Denver Pyle

Choice cuts from the slaughter-
Husband, mother, daughter
Dead families kept together
Their hides made into leather

With a purple umbrella and a 50-cent ball
Mr. Kool-Aid shouts "Oh yeah!" and smashes through a wall

The remains are felched or munged
And spat out into a jar of formaldehyde

I don't know how I'm gonna tell you
I can't play with you no more
I don't know how I'm gonna do what Mama told me
My friend, the two-dollar whore

Transmission grinds face into pavement
Vertebrial folding and organ displacement
Witnesses distraught and disturbed
Your teeth beyond shattered, your mandible curbed

In my time of dying
Don't want nobody to mourn
All I want for you to do
Is stop jerking off all over my deathbed when you watch porn

Garnishing the platter
Cerebral pieces of grey matter
Soup bowl-an unspent bladder
A choice dish within the splatter
Human adipose to make you fatter
Breaded tendons dipped in batter

Yours is the cloth, mine is the hand that sews time
His is the force that lies within
Ours is the fire, all the warmth we can find
Sorry about that; I just broke wind.

C-4 plastique strapped to your chest
Detonation is imminent - a loud, unsightly death
Jammed in your rectum
Duct-taped to your genitals
Detonation is imminent
Flesh is flammable

It was an April morning
When they told us we should go
As I turned to you, you smiled at me
We were high on blow!

Frozen alive and placed in scalding broth
To separate skeletal trash
Fine portions of meat slough off

Hey hey mama said the way you move
You're the Mona Lisa and you hang in the Louvre.
Oh oh child the way you shake that thing
Gonna make you burn, you flammable painting
Hey hey baby when you walk that way
Watch your colors drip as the paint melts away

As hundreds wait for death
The sound of engines grinding
Every tissue, organ and lining
Explode in a mulch of compost

Now I'm singing all my songs
To the girl who won my heart
She is only three years old
And I fuck little kids! NNN (*squart*)

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Humanure - Metal Blade 2004
Rating = 7

New drummer Michael Laughlin replaces David "Dis" Astor, cutting all ties to The Locust and leaving Travis Ryan the only original member (and apparently he wasn't even an original member!)(so never mind). And boy oh my, what a perfect drummer Laughlin is for this band! Rather than creating clear delineations between thrash, mosh and grind sections, he sorta just lays a rhythmic bed for the music, never overwhelming the stringed instruments and coming across as more of a jazz-influenced expert player than a blastbeating maniac headbanger. This approach also eliminates the last remaining vestiges of the band's grindcore roots, jetting them full-force into the world of Technical Death Metal.

Josh Elmore continues to rip out (alt. "tear," "shred") some excellent macabre riffs, but the songs are even longer this time (mostly over 4 minutes) and seem to include a lot more plodding padding than before -- particularly lots of "really quickly picking a single note a bunch of times, then doing the same to one or two other notes, then repeating as if this constitutes a 'hook'." There are also a few icky imitations of that Cannibal Corpse "ugly guitar harmony" style I've complained about elsewhere on my site -- possibly on the Cannibal Corpse page. There are a few TREMENDOUSLY awesome (alt. "killer," "wicked") songs - particularly the classically-influenced title track, twisted swarm of sick notes "Cloacula: The Anthropophagic Copromantik" and creepy, demented "Polyps" - but I was still quite close to giving this record the same disappointing grade as its predecessors UNTIL......

"Chemical warfare! Chemical warfare! Cheajka f aawwww fluppity-dorp.

UNTIL...... I heard the final track, an extremely disturbing piece of Industrial Protest Music called "Men Before Swine." The near-10-minute 'song' is created almost entirely from reverbed, looped slaughterhouse noises - ACTUAL slaughterhouse noises. The sounds of chains clanking, pigs bleating, cows mooing in distress, bolts being shot into brains, and nauseating redneck worker chit-chat (like "I got you!" after a bolt-shooting). The first half of the track is simply this heartbreaking, sickening documentation set against a rhythm of manipulated, looped ambience from the same source. Around the second half, a once-simmering guitar drone becomes more insistent until it finally buries the slaughterhouse footage in eerie, multi-frequencied feedback loops and terrifying amp noise. There is no climax - just soul-crushing death tones and animal murder. If there were ever a piece of audio material that could single-tapedly drive a person to vegetarianism, this is it. Compare "Men Before Swine" to anything on the Throbbing Gristle reunion album and it's pretty obvious which band has four tits in it.

Not that I'm knocking knockers. Why, you'd have to be a BOOB to n

I mean, I think it's even in the consTITution that you h

It's not like you have to JUGgle your priorities to ap

BREASTS are on a woman's bo

Travis Ryan wrote the lyrics for this album too, and, strangely, they unexpectedly - in a bizarre and unforeseen series of events - focus on meat-eaters, mutilating people and how much the human race sucks.

I know! At first I thought I had the wrong album too! But it is indeed good old Mr. Ryan penning and humming such dainty refrains as "Bukkake Tsunami" and "Lips And Assholes." So take it from me -- if it's a kindergarten teacher you're looking for, Travis Ryan is "all about the pussy"!

On a related note, check out this little prick I met this morning. So I'm out taking Henry The Dog on his morning stroll and he takes a leak in this bush that borders a little area of green grass. Didn't pee IN the grass, mind you - just on one of the bajillion bushes bordering the area. No big whoop in a city where homeless people urinate in public view every four minutes. So then we continue walking and I notice a mother walking with her little boy, who happened to be wearing a "Buzz Martial Arts" t-shirt. As I too am a "Buzz Martial Arts" student, I jovially commented, "Hey! Buzz Martial Arts! I go there too." The mother acted like a normal human being and smiled, "Oh wow! Really?" but then the little retard austistic Asperger asshole baby she's raising looked at me and said, "You shouldn't let your dog pee in there." His mother, like a normal dog-appreciating good human being, attempted to correct her foul offspring with a simple, "Oh, he's okay," but this Spawn of Shit and A Turd continued, "See that sign over there? It says 'Don't let your dog pee here.'" He was wrong, of course, as his mother pointed out, "Actually, that sign says 'Don't walk on the grass.'" But Mr. Tiny-Yet-A-Complete-Douchebag kept it up: "Yeah, but it ALSO means 'Don't let your dog pee here!'" I wasn't really sure how to react, as I could totally understand where he was coming from but see - they don't have 'Dog Toilets' in the city. Dogs gots to pee SOMEwheres! I can't curb him or he'll pee all over a car (he's tall). I can't let him pee on a tree or nature lovers will get upset. I can't let him pee on an apartment building or the occupants will get upset. I can't let him pee on a storefront or the owners will get upset. One time I even got bitched out for letting him pee on a PILE OF TRASH!

So it's settled - from now on, Henry The Dog will only pee on that little boy's head. Don't try to talk me out of it! I already trained him.

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Karma Bloody Karma - Metal Blade 2006
Rating = 7

They totally purposely called it this so you'd be all singing "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" to it, but I don't sing. The world sings, and I sit back and sneer as its voice goes up and down. Fuck you, singing world. That's me taking a stand for what I feel is right. Dachshund - nice spelling, dog. What's your name mean, Dickhead Hound? Fuck you, hard to spell dog. I'm a rebel.

Another thing I'm a rebel about, with a cigarette in my mouth, is this death metal album by Castle Decentrification. I tell you one thing, and I'll tell you it when I'm in the mood.

(*four hours pass*)

This band is really getting g-goddamned-oddamned complicated. They change every ten seconds, with insanely fast guitar runs, weird swirly death torture chord changes, and off-the-wall rhythm and tempo shifts aplenty. The drums are more normal-sounding this time out (more aggressive and metallic too), and the guitar screams at you angrily too. The vocals welcome a new splash of Black Metal-style high-pitched shrieking that I don't believe were featured so prominently on previous records. Moreover, the guitarist has discovered the joy of 'false harmonics,' at first using the squeals to make his deranged riffs sound even sicker but eventually just becoming as addicted to the annoying noise as Mr. Zakk Wilde of Ozzy Osbourne fame (is).

Say, young person. Wouldn't it be awesome if you could have a boner any time you wanted? Imagine you just spurted your Salty Beverage like five minutes ago and then this hot girl shows up wanting to do it and you're all Mr. Softee and she's all like, "What the hell's the matter with you? Are you gay?" Or imagine you're in Church wearing sweatpants and the Priest calls you up to lead a prayer. Both of these situations would be total disasters if you couldn't get a rigidly stiff hard erection. Luckily, now you can! It's called 'priapism' - ask your doctor.

This is Cattle Decapitation's best record so far. I'm really close to giving it an 8, but there are two completely awful songs right near the end that remove all joy from the universe whenever they are playing. Up until then though, this disc is a monument to startlingly difficult, complex extreme metal filled with excruciatingly creative, bizarre guitar noises, "chords" and rhythmic blockings. How on earth long does a band have to practice before they can play songs like this straight through without screwing up a single time!? Hay Dillinger Escape Plan fans - if you're looking for more math-driven aggressive music and don't mind the stereotypical "Big Bird" vocals of death metal, you GOTTA hear these guys. Several of the riffs are so F-oldin' Fast and Nutso that you have to stick your head right between the speakers, close your eyes and concentrate with every bone in your body to make out the melody. But there IS one! This guitarist is far too talented to play Anal Cunty directionless noise (not that I'm knocking the hilarious Anal Cunt - but come on, their early material has NO TUNE AT ALL); he backs the blastbeat white noise with actual playing.

It of course gets a bit samey as it goes, particularly in tracks 10 and 11, which are simply uglier pastiches of every trick that has come before. Here, let me transcribe for you my notes for a single song. This is track 9 - "Alone At The Landfill." Not my favorite song on the record by any means, but I just want to give you a sense for how difficult this band can be to keep track of:

"Slow evil metal riffing/soloing intro - very mid80's evil!!! Good! Then very fast note riffing. Then chuggle-chuggle midtempo. Then another faster note riff. Then slow notes and double-bass-drums (4 notes). Then more evil 80's riggin! Low death metal guitars. Then slow harmonized notes against speed-drums. More soloing (yawn). Lots of dull high-speed note runs in thei one. Then more chuggling. Halfway through collapses into feedback. Feedback, industrial noise, drone buzz, and a couple soft clean sad notes (piano? guitar?) A really neat atmosphere in this middle section! Wind-wailing vox hoarsely scream atop it. Harmonized guitars get louder though, so it becomes less good. Still - different for sure! Moody! Dark! Goth/Black metally! Intro rules, then rest of first half sucks (uncompelling riffs), then last half is the goth/black metal part! Yah! Ends up as a ton of different tortured voices!"

Keep in mind that my song notes for other bands generally consist of "Fast, mean!" or "Tori Amos sucks so fucking bad!" and you'll see that things have just gone crazy here with the Cattle Decapitation.

On the sad side of life, Travis Ryan's lyrics are (for the first time ever) really not very interesting at all. He's stuck on the idea of humankind being a parasite and plague on the Earth that needs to be destroyed. This is a fine attitude to have, particularly if you write for a death metal band, but it doesn't lend itself interestingly to ELEVEN DIFFERENT SONGS IN A ROW. Here's an example:

"Goddamn humans and their stupid ideas!
Goddamn this world and everything ravaging it!
Curse the heads of men!
I cannot recall a time you cared!
Humans make so many mistakes, defecate when we procreate!
I detest all life. As a destroyer. As a human!
We are the dregs. We are humans!
Humans are forever failures!
You shall die like the pigs that you are!
We are the cancer and in turn we are killers!
Dying inside! Slowly drowning in pride!"

Did you enjoy that peppy verse? I created it by combining a single line from every song on this album, in the order in which they appear.

Which reminds me - Wouldn't it be awesome to take one of those car mirrors that says "Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear" and then strap it on your tallywhacker? Think of all the cooter!

It's awesome to insult some guy's songwriting and then write something so fucking stupid you'd have to be four years old to laugh at it.

But seriously - you'd be drowning in bush!

Reader Comments
This is my favorite Cattle Decapitation so far... i also enjoy Humanure a bit (with it's Carcass influenced title). But speaking of Carcass influenced things, this one actually has a song called "the Carcass Derrick" as well as better songwriting all around. And a really cool cover. Ever wondered what it would be like to have a cow as your chef? Oh, bless those death metal vegetarians. At least an 8/10 for Karma Bloody Karma, maybe a 9 depending on the mood i'm. Humanare gets 8/10 too.

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The Harvest Floor - Metal Blade 2009
Rating = 5

Cattle Decapitation has a new and astonishingly fast drummer (Dave McGraw) who rips out the blastbeats at an even more insane pace than the last guy. Unfortunately the band's songwriting is at an all-time low, replacing the difficult death metal technicality of the last record with simplistic black metal two-note riffs and sad arpeggios. Guitarist Josh Elmore comes up with lots of sick new guitar noises, but appears to be suffering a severe writer's block in the melody department. There's just so little on here that sticks to the brain! You'll find a few unique note sequences, a couple of tight guitar/drum noise explosions, and maybe an angry thrash run here or there, but the majority of the guitarwork is auto-pilot two-chord nothingness and overdramatic gothy sorrow. The sickening SFX-laden "Tooth Enamel And Concrete" is a highlight not just of the album but of their entire career (it's hilariously gross both in concept and noise/riffmaking!), but everything else reeks of uninspiration. Maybe black metal and grindcore just aren't a good mix?

I still love Travis Ryan's lyrics though. Here are my favorite passages from his latest pile of misanthropic nihilism:

"God damned this world – that is if “god” exists
God hates this world – left his “son” tied to a stick?"

"Forgive my humble abode
Rotting bodies clogging the commode
Please pardon the stench
and the trunk of a man lying on the workbench."

"We, the people
We, the morons
No single inferior race
We’re all apparently idiots."

"Your incisors on the pavement
A brutal end to your enslavement
Life is cheap."

"Into the public bath
Reservoir of human excretions
The sweat and urine of a thousand men
A goddamned bacteria trap
Microbes making love to amoebas
Spawning secondary human byproducts
Dead skin cells, ejaculate and flora
Disgusting cocktail for the gargling…"

"Wolves use their cunning and stalk in the night
We hide like cowards, with machines to magnify our sight
They’ve only the skills ever evolving to kill
We hide behind the steel and are slaves to our will."

I'll conclude this review with something I just found on my hard drive. Written over a decade ago, it's a fake memo from David Geffen that was meant to accompany a compilation of godawful Low-Maintenance Perennials outtakes that was eventually just added to the 9-disc Penultimate Dystopia of Obsession box set. If you're one of the few who actually paid money for that horrible non-release, you'll know these songs. If not, just know that they're terrible, and enjoy this homophobic fake letter about them!


Dear Sirs:

This is to confirm the delivery of your latest CD, Maps, Maps, Maps! America’s Fascination With Maps. As you know, I have questioned DGC’s signing of the Low-Maintenance Perennials since day one, as I feel that your work is substandard and is an embarrassment to Geffen’s roster of such modern-day artistic luminaries as Puddle Of Mudd, Dub Pistols and Weezer. Your latest release confirms my suspicions, and I would like to hereby declare your combo “removed” from DGC.

However, I am a fair gay man and will not let you go on wondering exactly what it is that I do not like about your latest recording. Below please find a meticulous track-by-track explanation of my feelings:

“Sweet Child O’ Mine” – What were you thinking, beginning the CD with an obvious jab at one of Geffen’s all-time top-selling acts? Are you out of your mind???? How did you think I was going to react? By awarding you a medal? Right off the bat, you made me lose the erection that I often maintain while daydreaming about some guy’s hairy ass.

“Fingers That Ache For Your Luvin’” – You have taken a perfectly enjoyable melody and buried it behind an asinine “wah-wah” bass sound and ridiculously overfast drums. You people are terrible. You may be the worst band of all time. I hate you so much I can’t even think about it anymore.

“Hemp Orangutan” – Did your tone-deaf singer write this music or something?

“Behind Blue Eyes” – Next time you decide to cover a track from the finest non-Geffen LP ever recorded, make an effort to learn how the song goes before hitting the “record” button.

“One Basic Chord” – One shitty song.

“Profiles” – This isn’t even a song! You just recorded a TV theme song off of your television (probably without securing clearance) and then made fun of it. Did you guys actually put any effort into this record at all?!?! You really should consider spending a bit more time honing your craft, like your Geffen labelmates Bloodhound Gang would.

“The Well” – Thanks for the treble!

“Dead Spaces” – If your audience is clamoring for a ham-fisted instrumental version of one of your old non-hits, what kind of God created your audience?

“Two” – Congratulations. You’ve managed to make a minute and a half feel like an excruciating five and a half hours.

“Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” – If I’m going to have to face a lawsuit, it’s not going to be for a cover version this miserable.

“Ridiculous Excuses For Sucking” – I like to suck mens’ penises. I don’t even need an excuse. In fact, I’m sucking a big fat hairy cock right now. I don’t want to write any more. I want to cherish Ted Turner’s throbbing member rolling around my tongue. Good day, gentlemen.

Dave the Butt Pirate

I'll conclude this review with something I just found on my hard drive. Written over a decade ago, it's a 'novel' that my then-girlfriend/now-wife wrote in the guise of our old stuffed animal "Moosey," featuring the exploits of Moosey and our other old stuffed animal "Puppy." Thank God we finally got an actual living dog to talk through so we don't need to use stuffed animals anymore. Here it is:

There once was a moose with a pizza, as he was a delivery moose. He sped thru the nite on his rollerblade, and skidded to a halt in front of the assigned address.

“Buzz” went the bell inside puppy’s apartment. “Pizza!” moose yelled into the intercom, and he was allowed in.

Inside, puppy was playing his favorite song, “Champagne,” by Salt’n’Pepa. Moose immediately started dancing, and Puppy grabbed the pizza from him.

Both had realized that their dreams, forged deep within the smithys of their souls, had come true at last.

I'll conclude this review with something I just found on my hard drive. Written nearly a decade ago, it's a 'novel' that my then-fiancee/now-wife wrote in the guise of our old stuffed animal "Morry The Moray Eel." Thank God we finally got an actual living dog to talk through so we don't need to use stuffed animals anymore. Here it is:

The Happy Marriage
A Novella by Morry Aske-Prindle

Once upon a time my Mom and Dad were very happy. Then they got married and something awful happened.

Dad stubbed his toe.

But it only hurt for a second. After that, everything was wonderful and we all lived happily ever after.


I'll conclude this review with something I just found on my hard drive. Written over a decade ago, it's an actual pitch letter I wrote to accompany copies of the Low-Maintenance Perennials' Chicago XX: Chicago's Greatest Hits cassette that I (apparently) sent out to record companies. I've no clue who or where I might have sent the tape, but here's guessing I got no takers!

Dear Mr. Or Ms. Record Company Person,

Music. It makes us laugh. It makes us cry. It reminds us of times we wish never to forget. It does all this and more. Because it’s music. The universal language.

Low-Maintenance Perennials. Although darlings of the underground scene, these brilliant aural genii have yet to receive the acclaim that they have deserved ever since they first burst forth onto an unsuspecting rock and roll nation with the 1991 Work Bench Drawer LP. Though hailed as a “good… album” by Rolling Stone, and lauded as “album of the year” by Sports Illustrated, the sensational classically-influenced stylings of Work Bench Drawer were unjustly pushed to the wayside as a nation of insolent wretches embraced “grunge” and “Steve Miller” as their new messiahs.

But the Perennials never gave up. Forging a name for themselves amongst the cultural elite with such flabbergastingly ambitious projects as Condom? What Condom?, Tamara’s Little Sex Secret Cleverly Disguised as the Third Low-Maintenance Perennials Album, Stupid Is Such A Broad Term, and Jurassic Park: The Album, the flowermen now find themselves in a precarious situation - adrift on an island of mediocrity in a sea of generica full of boring boats with crappy songs on them, the Perennials are now poised to become the most important artistic conglomeration that our world has ever known.

Thus, this album. Chicago XX: Chicago’s Greatest Hits is, without exception, the best album ever recorded. Although the band members themselves admit that they recorded it in a bedroom on five-year-old equipment, and that they could have done a better job had they bothered to spend more than four days on it, the album has no equal, in this universe or any other.

The pulsating beat, the driving rhythm, the throbbing tempo - ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce to you the newest kings of rock and roll - the Low-Maintenance Perennials.

I'll conclude this review with something I just found on my hard drive. Written over a decade ago, it's an actual pitch letter I wrote in order to secure solo gigs for myself in NYC. I know for a fact I never sent this out. And thank God for that!

Mark Prindle Huge Rock’N’Roll Megasensation has relocated to New York City, and is all ready to rock the lid off this dusty little shantyville.

Formerly of Atlanta’s fabulously successful Löw-Maintenance Perennials and Chapel Hill’s largely-feared Lima, Mark Prindle is to modern guitar noise what the Replacements were to improvisational jazz. He has written nearly 1000 songs, most of them loud and noisy (and ever so speedy), and is proud to call himself “The Beatles.” Also, he’s quite the crowd-pleaser, respected throughout the South for his zany antics, madcap energy, sparkling charisma, cool long hair, and innovative free-form style of putting on a rock show. Plus he has that violent, “teapot-boiling-over” edge that can only come from living in New York City with no band, no self-esteem and a dangerously obsessive personality. He’s truly about to lose it – and you can be there to see it happen! Truly an entertainer – not a generic by-the-numbers rock band, but something more. Something alive.
Something real.
Something unpredictable.
Book him now.
Rarely Does Mere Rock’N’Roll Rock So Friggin’ Hard.

I'll conclude this review with something I just found on my hard drive. Written over a decade ago, it's a short story that my then-girlfriend/now-wife wrote in the guise of our old stuffed animal "Sharky," followed by a short story that I wrote in the guise of our old stuffed animal "Moosey." Thank God we finally got an actual living dog to talk through so we don't need to use stuffed animals anymore. Here it is:

The life of a shark is very difficult. At times I am forced to consider the excruciating moments of my existence vis-a-vis the long history of my ancestors. Why did our race not perish?

Moosey only dreamt of pizza and riding around in his fast car. He was a special Moose. Sharky was only a figment of his imagination, much like Mommy. Oh sure, she SEEMED real enough, but that was only testament to the powerful imagination of Moosey. He soon became a fdfdkjitgkidirkigftogf legendary auto racer.

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