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Review: Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction

At long last, after three tedious years of hopeless waiting and troublesome anxiety, the four-piece death metal/grind legends of Cattle Decapitation have released their 8th studio album “The Anthropocene Extinction”. Fans of the criminally brutal and absurdly excellent “Monolith of Inhumanity” (such as myself) were worried sick as to whether or not they could follow up with just as heavy, fast, technical, melodic, and unique of a record as before. Well, we can rest easy now! This album is just beyond killer in so many aspects that it even triumphs over Monolith in a lot of ways.

The uniqueness of their writing style is incomparable to anything I’ve had the pleasure of hearing in a long time, and their focus to detail is helping their sound mature immensely to the point where I can say that they are my favorite grind group out there. Hell, they’re probably even my favorite death metal group right now. “The Anthropocene Extinction” has arrived to melt your mind, break your neck, and make your ears explode. In short, buy this new material on itunes, Amazon, and/or their merch store. Stream it on YouTube and Spotify as well. Play it loud and look at the horror on your Christian neighbors’ faces during the process.

What makes Cattle Decapitation so incredible is how extreme their music style is. Travis Ryan, the vocalist, is certainly one of the most gifted vocalists of all time. He produces incredibly deep and harsh gutturals and combines it with ear-piercing high pitched screams that are simply inhumane by nature. A controversial aspect to his vocals are his high octave “clean screams”, a unique concoction of  singing and screaming that became a Cattle Decap staple since it’s debut in Monolith. Some revere these vocals as being crazy and original, while others cringe at the sound. Personally, I think these vocals just add more depth to their sound by attributing to some interesting melodies and choruses, such as in “Pacific Grim” and “Manufactured Extinct”. With stellar lyrical content, vocal delivery, and rhythmic singing styles in each song, Travis has produced his finest vocal work to date, and it only makes a world of difference in every song.

Everyone else in the band also deserves credit for mastering their craft and forging a heavy metal sound that is beyond distinct and enjoyable. I aspire to be as groovy, rhythmically accurate, tempo-pushing, and technical as David McGraw, their perfect percussionist. Every time a stick strikes a cymbal, tom, or snare, you know he thought it over due to the complexity of his drum patterns and beats. His blast beats and double bass technique are also impeccable with tempo and time changes that happen within a mere second; from 0-666 miles per hour every god damned time. Derek Engemann is also a very talented musician that makes the room shake with nasty bass lines and small solos. His sound is dark, heavy, and relatively prominent in all of their songs. This pounding bass sound lays down a solid foundation for the melodic shredding and senselessly brutal chugging of Josh Elmore’s guitar work. With Slayer-sounding solo work, avant-garde melodies for eerie choruses, and powerful, head-banging riffs, the guitar work is almost never bland. All of these great talents settle and churn into an extreme sound that is simply not human. I love it more than I am comfortable admitting.

Every song is truly fantastic in some way, and it became very hard for me to decide as to which were my favorites. Each tune has been tailored, nit-picked, and devised into masterpieces that are unfathomable heavy and entertaining. However, not all songs can be created equally, and I eventually settled on “Pacific Grim”, “Manufactured Extinct”, “Mutual Assured Destruction”, and “Not Suitable for Life” (not particularly in any order, it took me enough brain power decide on these).

“Mutual Assured Destruction” has groove and grit in ridiculous quantities, with smooth and effortless vocal rhythms that are fantastically executed. Those gutturals are so dark and fantastic that it drives me to uncontrollable headbanging everytime. Well-executed blast beats and chromatically-progressing guitar parts with that fat bass feeling pulls this song together seamlessly. It’s unfortunately shorter than I would like it, but the song is a true ripper.

“Manufactured Extinct” was the first single off the album, our first sampling of the new Cattle Decapitation sound. It definitely has a similar style to “Monolith of Inhumanity”, more specifically the song “Forced Gender Reassignment”, with the incessant chug and shred contrast provided by the guitar work. More vocal range is notably ridiculous and unfair by nature, as well as those perfect drumming patterns during the course of the whole track. The demolishing breakdown towards the end of the piece is notable for being easily one of the heaviest parts of the album. After first hearing this before the rest of the album, I was obsessed and would not stop playing it for friends. A really well-done piece of heavy metal.

“Not Suitable for Life” made my favorites list for being so fast, technical, and chaotic with equal parts heaviness and melody too. Astounding time changes from the verse to the distinctive clean-scream chorus are magnificent as well, and that chorus as a whole is really incredible and memorable. “How can you look me in the eyes and tell me you’re proud of what you’ve done within this life” are lyrics imprinted in my head due to the catchiness of the vocal style during that chorus, and it makes me ponder every time I hear it’s melodic brutality.

“Pacific Grim”, according to my notes, is a song that will leave the listener “ear molested in the best way possible”. It seems pretty fitting of a description though after I listen to it. Not only is the song itself a fitting and just ending to the whole album, but  it also envelopes every aspect of Cattle Decapitation that I admire. Guitar riffing varieties, clean-scream vocals, low and slow chugging, bass grooves, fast blast beats, EVERYTHING is enveloped into one song that fades to nothing. Those tempo changes are faith-shattering and devastating to say the least. I love it even more every time I listen to it.

As I had previously mentioned, every song on this album is spectacular, such as the tracks “Plagueborne” or “Circo Inhumanitas”. Everything is headbanging brutal and executed with utmost respect to heaviness and musicianship, forging an album that continues to blow me away with its intricacies. Buy a copy and play it at public events. Enjoy the reactions of the people you’re around too!

Rate: 9/10


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