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Cattle Decapitation - "The Anthropocene Extinction" (CD)

Cattle Decapitation - "The Anthropocene Extinction" CD cover image

"The Anthropocene Extinction" track listing:

1. Manufactured Extinct
2. The Prophets of Loss
3. Plagueborne
4. Clandestine Ways (Krokodil Rot)
5. Circo Inhumanitas
6. The Burden Of Seven Billion
7. Mammals In Babylon
8. Mutual Assured Destruction
9. Not Suitable For Life
10. Apex Blasphemy
11. Ave Exitium
12. Pacific Grim

Reviewed by on December 17, 2015

"'The Anthropocene Extinction' is just pure malevolence in audio form, using whatever metallic style is necessary to get the idea across..."

I'm a latecomer to the Cattle Decapitation party. Sure, I'd heard a stray track here or there and of course covered the band plenty over the years on the news front, but it's not an outfit I've gone out of my way to really explore before. I'll admit the imagery and persona was a turn off: it seemed like Cattle would just offer up some pretty brutal - but ultimately mindless - noise that wouldn't be my cup of tea.

Boy was I wrong.

“The Anthropocene Extinction” just absolutely kills on the instrumental front, blending in many different sub-genre styles from black to death to grind and more. It's extreme while still having some room for the melodic and it's technical without being overly showy. Even though obviously there's no symphonic elements here (although Tristan Shone does offer some industrial programming on third track “Plagueborn”), the guitar/bass/drum interplay is every bit as compelling and technically proficient as what you might hear from a band like Augury or Fleshgod Apocalypse, and it's just as booming and all-consuming.

The insane blast beat and shrieking intro to “The Prophets of Loss” just utterly annihilates everything, and then surprises with an almost Dimmu Borgir-esque voiceover segment. Other unexpected changes pop up like the acoustic strumming of “Ave Exitum,” which coupled with sounds of windswept plains clearly paints a picture in the mind of a post-apocalyptic wasteland free of humanity. “The Burden Of Seven Billion” likewise takes a break from the extreme metal, acting as a horror movie-style atmospheric interlude.

Vocally there is also a ton of variety, from higher pitched backing harsh vocals to a deeper, quasi-clean singing. Overall the vocal offerings are excellent and match the music, although there was one iteration that didn't work for me: the appearance of a more guttural harsh grunt on several tracks are sort of like a deeper, slower version of the pig squeal, and they don't really fit as well. Honestly I'll let it slide though, as the sheer variety of screams and singing is staggering, and the instrumentation is fucking top notch.

“The Anthropocene Extinction” is just pure malevolence in audio form, using whatever metallic style is necessary to get the idea across, from bass-focused tech death to blasting black metal, and the lyrics are actually pretty solid as well. If you haven't gotten on the Decapitation train yet or are looking for something that's both crushing and musically interesting, now is the time to hop aboard.

Highs: Many different sub-genres collide in an extremely brutal and technical offering that still has an ear for melody and strong song writing.

Lows: One of the deeper death grunts is frankly kind of silly, but the rest of the vocal styles are very solid.

Bottom line: Cattle Decapitation surprises with a complex album of malevolent brutality.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)