Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction

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It’s hardly an original observation, but genre labels can be something of a two-edged sword, especially when the band in question fall outside of such strict definitions. I came to The Anthropocene Extinction (Metal Blade) without having a heard a note of Cattle Decapitation’s music, but their reputation as a brutal Death/Grind band gave me strong expectations – expectations which utterly failed to capture the reality.

The grind influences which the band are largely known for are present here, but combined with a number of other reference points and styles in a way that transforms them quite beyond the ordinary.  The base-line style throughout is a crunchy, Grind-touched Death Metal that’s as comfortable with punishing grooves and sinister melodies as it is with blasting, but they expand their palette further with quasi-“industrial” effects, atmospheric passages and creepily-effective clean vocal sections. The vocals are probably the key touch-stone for the genuine fluidity of the music on The Anthropocene Extinction, switching from cavernous DM growls, pig-squeals and high-end shrieks to near-operatic, oddly paralysed singing which is hard to describe positively on paper but fits with the music perfectly.  This breadth of styles throws up some genuinely surprising reference-points, calling to mind Anaal Nathrakh or unsigned Bandcamp heroes Slugdge as often as Carcass.

Drawing on such a broad range of Metal influences runs the risk of collapsing into a formless mess, but Cattle Decapitation have the strength of song-writing and sense of individuality to hold it together.  The album is structured well throughout, with a sense of progression that maintains interest across a collection of songs which could easily have outstayed its welcome. The production does them a number of favours too, giving a sense not only of power and genuine heaviness but also of professionalism and authority – this is a “serious” album, not some arm-flailing Grindcore tantrum.

The Anthropocene Extinction is not likely to break any boundaries or transform the way you think about music, but it is likely to be one of the standout albums of big production values, genre-blind Heavy Metal in 2015.

 

8.0/10

 

RICHIE HR

False Pregnancy – Dance Your Meat Off!!!

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If musical genres could be anthropomorphized as people, goregrind would be the ‘special’ cousin who eats road kill and is a little bit too friendly with local farm animals. The four members of False Pregnancy, four self-confessed idiots with alcohol problems would seem to confirm that those who tune extra low and like to grunt like pigs won’t be joining Mensa anytime soon. Having said that, they sure can have fun, as the seventeen minutes of Dance Your Meat Off!!! (Nailjar Records) emphatically proves.

This is quite frankly one of the dumbest records ever recorded; each song only lasts around 90 seconds and features the same low-end, down-tuned chords, indecipherable pig squeals and grunts and absurd, juvenile song titles such as ‘Soft and Juicy Angelina Jolie’s Pussylips’ and ‘Spermnavigator.’ In case things weren’t stupid and offensive enough they throw in an Anal Cunt cover (‘Flower Shop Guy’) complete with falsetto vocals. If the more PC grind bands heard this they would not be pleased. But you know what, all these flaws work to the band’s advantage, for while the riffs may be generic, they are catchy as hell, the atmosphere is like one big party, and the short song lengths ensure it’s impossible to get bored.

The band clearly aren’t taking anything seriously, as indicated by occasional snippets of folk, Euro trance and Volksmusik, that will have you checking they haven’t entered into some bizarre business deal with Spotify. But the truth is they just want to have fun, and it’s likely that if they get offered a mid-afternoon slot at Obscene Extreme with plenty of stage divers on hand, the scale of their ambition will be met. Like Rotten Sound with a lobotomy, False Pregnancy is a prime example of dumbing down and they couldn’t be more welcome.

 

7.0/10

False Pregnancy on Facebook

 

JAMES CONWAY