ALBUM REVIEW: Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas

CATTLE DECAPITATION are a band from San Diego, California. Their latest release Death Atlas follows 2015’s critically acclaimed album The Anthropocene Extinction which followed 2012’s critically acclaimed album Monolith Of Inhumanity. All I’m saying is that they have a track record of having amazing releases again and again. This album is no different, in fact, this album was so good that I included it in my top 10 albums of 2019.

They are widely known for their brutal riffs, guttural vocals and strong themes of animal rights, the impact humans are having on the environment and vegetarianism. The current line up consists of Travis Ryan (Vocals, Keyboard), Josh Elmore (Guitar), Dave McGraw (Drums), Olivier Pinard (Bass) and Belisario Dimuzio (Guitar). The album also features a special appearance by Jon Fishman of the band PHISH providing narration on the track The Unerasable Past.

The album opens with Anthropogenic: End Transmission. It’sa two minute long vignette that has a very futuristic, impending doom feel due to the speech being delivered in the style of news reports or emergency transmissions. It works really well to set the scene for the rest of the album. There are a couple more of these vignettes by the names of The Great Dying, Pt 1 and The Great Dying, Pt 2.

Finish Them is an absolutely amazing track. It has a slower start (by CATTLE DECAPITATION’s standards, they’re not a Doom Metal band) building up a nice groove and building it up to the zenith of speed and brutality. The vocals, as well having a different quality to them here, in that they take on an almost GOJIRA-like quality to the extent that you could potentially convince someone that this song is by GOJIRA.

The title track does not appear until the very end of this release, sitting at a whopping nine minutes and fifteen seconds. This is practically an eternity for any band who have considered themselves to be in anyway related to Grindcore. An important thing to note about this song is that you might go into it expecting one of two options. Option A is that it’ll be nothing but speed and brutality to cater for the fans who want that. Option B is that they’ll frantically switch between speeds and feels in an effort to keep the listeners attention for that period of time
If you said option A because that’s what you’re hoping for then you’ll likely be disappointed in what you find. If you said option B, you’ll probably quite like what’s going on here. A few minutes in and the guitars, drums and vocals just cut out and rebuild to this massive almost astral feel that sounds like mourning for a planet. It’s a very bizzare thing to try and describe because I never really thought that there would be anything I’d have to describe in those terms.

So, was this release any good? Did it stand proudly amongst their discography? Was it fun in a slightly disconcerting way to listen to? Yes, yes, and yes.

Rating: 9/10.

Words: Jacob McCrone

Death Atlas is out now.

Find CATTLE DECAPITATION on Facebook and their official website.

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