Albums of the Decade: Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction

Although still firmly rooted in traditional deathgrind punditry, Cattle Decapitation have seen themselves as unlikely candidates for clawing their way out of the underground in recent years. Flying the flag for the scene’s increasingly potent underbelly yet still offering up a somewhat startling array of ideas and versatility, the Californian quintet proffer a hellish din which by far outstrips their peers both in dynamic enterprise and monstrous, blood-caked brutality. Whilst the emergence of 2012’s Monolith Of Inhumanity suggested that the quartet were reborn as something far more interesting than before, The Anthropocene Extinction saw them morph into genuine world-beaters.

At its core an outrageously fun and seriously brilliant death metal record, this is without doubt a thoroughly unpleasant clutch of tunes, a landslide of swivel-eyed blasting and guttural grotesquery around every corner. Yet having said this, it is their compulsion to disrupt and fearless desire to span all corners of the gore-flecked tapestry which sees Cattle Decapitation as perhaps the most sonically engrossing extreme metal band of their generation. Understandably,  the vocal histrionics of Travis Ryan are the focal point, that sewer-gargling/ear-piercing expertise now employing his signature pseudo-cleans with twice the confidence and conviction as before, and carrying a weight of genuinely infectious hooks (‘Circo Inhumanitas’). Make no mistake however, these banshee shrieks serve only to coat the tracks with another layer of nausea, and are just as vile as any death grunt on record.

Underpinned by the record’s conceptual cautions concerning ecological peril. some thematic, almost mood-piece interludes (‘The Burden Of Seven Billion’ and ‘Ave Exitium’ respectfully) add to the sense that The Anthropocene Extinction feels progressive in the fact that there is loads going on, yet Cattle Decapitation deliver their message with such astonishing vigour, vitriol and ingenuity, there is simply no time to fuck around. As downright unhinged and destructive as contemporary heavy music can be, this is a cataclysmic slab of stomach-churning prowess which never shies away from spreading its noxious wings.

Words: Tony Bliss