If you think California vegetarians are pansies, crank Karma. Bloody. Karma. , Cattle Decapitation's latest. With lyrics depicting such unsettling images as humans dangling from meat hooks and rake-blade acupuncture, Karma serves as the latest document in the San Diego quartet's 10-year transformation from spastic grindcore to devastating death metal. Of course, the cover art -- a bovine Vishnu wielding daggers -- doesn't turn heads quite like the cow shitting human remains plastered across 2004's Humanure. But don't let that fool you; these militant herbivores graze harder than ever.
Pelican totally rules, but drummer Larry Herweg needed more. So in 2003, he formed Lair of the Minotaur with vocalist and guitarist Steven Rathbone and bassist D.J. Barraca of 7,000 Dying Rats. Unlike his day job, where Herweg plays the role of nuanced percussionist, in Lair of the Minotaur he assaults his drum kit with extreme prejudice, propelling the trio's searing thrash.