ALBUM REVIEW: Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas

The Extreme/Grindcore/Death Metal act, Cattle Decapitation has been pleasantly surprising modern metal listeners for nearly a decade. Since their record, The Harvest Floor (Metal Blade Records) in 2009, this quintet from San Diego has been pushing barriers in several different metal genres. Their relentless resilience and unabashed creativity throughout the years has been unexpected and still surprises fans today. The band is getting ready to release their eighth studio album, Death Atlas (Metal Blade Records) and the genius that is Cattle Decap is once again pushing the norm.

The beginnings of the band ruptured in the late nineties and they have always been known for their bold, brazen ways. Yet this record takes a bit of a different path. It’s like a story and each song is a chapter making it necessary to listen from beginning to end. The preface, ‘Anthropogenic: End Transmission’ sets the scene and introduces the theme of despair that runs through each number. From this thematic intro, which sounds like the beginning of a Michael Bay film, we shift to the second track, ‘The Geocide’ which instantly slams into you with Travis Ryan’s signature scream. Within seconds you are submerged in the sound of sinister defiance and dejection. The rumble of the guitars sounds like an evil buzz of bees which pairs well with the versatile vocals. The melodies in each song are stark and catchy, yet carry a very foreboding weight. Travis kicks his clean vocals up a notch on this record. The placement seems more focused and intentional than previous albums. Particularly on tracks like ‘Bring Back the Plague’ and the more progressive number, ‘Time’s Cruel Curtain’.

The venom really comes out on tracks like ‘Be Still Our Bleeding Hearts’, ‘Vulturous’, and ‘Finish Them’. Newcomer Oli Pinard (Cryptopsy) proves his worth on bass with his specific speed and immaculate low-end execution. Each member makes a massive sound giving a rather epic feel on each track. Hints of the greats Angel Witch and Origin can be heard in their devastating and diabolical tones. Each song is a tale of doom. The band sticks with their trademark preachiness as Travis and the band pleads through their stories of climate change and the downfall of humanity. The last song, which is the title track, takes the gloom of the album and makes it even darker, leaving the listener in a wistful state. There is a lot of passion, anger, and overall emotional presence on this album. It’s bleak narrative and hopeless ending sticks to Cattle Decap’s way of woe. Though true to their morbid motives, Death Atlas does rejuvenate the band’s sound and spreads their serious extremes to a new level.

7 / 10