Review: Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction (USA, 2015)

Ok, it’s been some years since I listened to any death metal at all. Well why not getting some today then. But I’d like to stay healthy, so please let me have some vegan metal. Ok stop with the horrible jokes.

Cattle Decapitation’s latest album, released last August under Metal Blade Records, repeatedly popped in my sight as labeled one of the best metal albums of 2015. Having heard of just the band’s name beforehand, I thought let’s give it a try, there shall be a reason if it’s so damn praised.
Wanting to approach an album review without having any past knowledge of the band is not so recommendable, so I decided to give a spin to the previous album by the Californian band, namely 2012’s Monolith Of Inhumanity, before tackling their last opus.
And…wow, HAIL SEITAN! Oh sorry I promised I’d give lame jokes a rest.
Well, truth is I was quite surprised. Never been a fan of extreme-to-the-extreme, all-blast beats grindy bands since I can’t live without dynamics, but damn Cattle Decap manages to inject some personality in such all-out music. Especially vocalist Travis Ryan is an effin’ CHAMELEON with those chords of his! He manages to spit out so many styles and sounds, amazing. Long story short, “Monolith…” got my attention. Let’s see what “Extinction” has to offer.

First of all, the cover art of The Anthropocene Extinction is in full Decap style: graphic and provocative. As always, being just as pro-environment as they are anti-human, they try to picture alternate universes where humans are subdued to what they are used to inflict to nature every single day. This time around we are presented a garbage-dominated beach landscape with no nature in the background but only some threatening, filthy industrial facilities. On this ground, dead humans are beached. Bodies rotting, ribcages full of plastic waste just as unfortunate sea mammals would perish by hand of men. Genius.

The album opens with Manufactured Extinct. Soon we can tell the impeccable modern production, and here we have our first encounter with Ryan’s trademark vocal approach that will keep us company throughout the whole album: guttural deep growls, getting deeper and deeper towards the end, opposed to melodic “pitched” shrieks in refrains (and those same so-called “pitched growls” were the element previously getting my attention in Your Disposal from the previous work “Monolith…”). A Slayer-esque chaotic solo provides some extra spice.
The Prophets of Loss bears a black-metal vibed intro. Ryan goes crazy with contrasts: tortured shrieking vocals as well as growling up to overdubs with different vocal styles each.
Clandestine Ways (Krokodil Rot) starts more in the old-school death metal vibe. All kinds of vocals are involved, from black metal style rasps down to slam-like, disgustingly low gutturals. Ryan proves his versatility. Damn what a vocalist.
The latter Mammals in Babylon will carry a similar insane approach.
Circo Inhumanitas brings more rhythmic singing, kinda rapping, with the usual vocal overdubbings. I’d say this one and “Clandestine…” could probably make up for my two selected tracks.
The Burden of Seven Billion is just a filler, as will be Ave Exitium later with its acoustic ambience.
Mutual Assured Destruction recalls some old school Death vibes in the intro riff, and leaves us with more straightforward riffs than the rest of the album in general.
Apex Blasphemy is the “grind-iest” tune of the bunch in my book, and the album closes with Pacific Grim’s epic melodic outro.

I found “Extinction” to be really well-made and I can understand the praise it’s getting.
Still, it failed to keep me interested for the whole length as there’s really not much variety. Maybe it’s not the perfect album for me, since I got bored by the first half, but damn Ryan is impressive at the mic and I can definitely appreciate his talent as an extreme vocalist. If you like death-grind and tasty dirty vocals, give the latest Decap a spin.


Label: Metal Blade Records
Links: Website | Facebook BandCamp
Release Date: August 7, 2015
Reviewed by Rizzo

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About Andrea "Rizzo" Rizzieri 39 Articles
TSL co-founder, co-owner, editor, and in charge of everything-that-comes-with-that. Born 1992, I always had the vocation to learn everything I could later never accomplish to save my own life. I am indeed a failed guitarist, drummer and so much more! Er, I’d better write about music I like for the time being. Although my musical past has been firmly rooted in rock, punk and metal, I appreciate any kind of music as long as I find it artistically interesting. I have a split personality by which part of me likes anything musically forward-thinking, inventive or just of general “good taste”, and part of me likes being blasted by all-out intensity and dissonance.

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