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CATTLE DECAPITATION, LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR

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Proudly claiming to be "endorsed" by Clif Bar ("Ever wondered how Cattle D stays so gore night after night after night?") and selling a new Spinal Tap homage T-shirt (inspired by "recent drummer shenanigans"--now enthroned is Kevin Talley of Dying Fetus and Chimaira fame), San Diego's Cattle Decapitation occasionally flash a lighter sense of humor than their relentlessly brutal antihuman/provegetarian lyrics might suggest. And even the viscera and scatology don't always come across as particularly dark: the cover of 2004's Humanure took them to such ridiculous heights it was funny in a hysterical sort of way. But the new Karma Bloody Karma (Metal Blade) backs it down just a tad and so feels meaner and realer, and a song like "The Corpse Derrick" becomes genuinely nightmarish. With cameos by Joey Karam of the Locust and noise artist John Wiese, the record churns and growls at you as if to say that sensation of being run through a wood chipper slowly is all in your puny little head.

Along for this tour is the local band Lair of the Minotaur, which is where some of the energy behind 7000 Dying Rats went when guitarist Steven Rathbone decided to play a more epic and, dare I say, romantic style of metal, drawing almost exclusively on mythology for his themes. This spring's The Ultimate Destroyer (Southern Lord) overcomes its generic title with chewy, meaty slabs of riffery.

Cattle Decapitation and Lair of the Minotaur play an early show at Champs in Burbank, where the bill, headliner first, is Cattle Decapitation, Goatwhore, LOTM, and Daath. Then they race up to Wicker Park for the second night of Rory Lake's Battle of the Bands (see Our Town in Section 1), where the lineup is Cattle Decapitation, LOTM, (Lone) Wolf & Cub, and the Chicago Thrash Ensemble. a 5 PM, Champs Rock Room, 6501 W. 79th, Burbank, 708-233-0181, $12, $10 in advance. A 8 PM, the Note, 1565 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-0011 or 866-468-3401, $8, $6 in advance.

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