San Diego’s Cattle Decapitation may be approaching their twentieth year, and may have the type of name that would see them mentioned amongst non-metal fans deriding the scene, but it may be time that more people start talking about the band and their music rather than their name and famously vegan and vegetarian lifestyles. Using their own brand of grinding death metal, they have consistently upped their game up to and including 2012’s ‘Monolith of Inhumanity‘, and it seems they have no intention slowing down, indeed they’re seemingly intent on pushing things a little further.
The album opens with ‘Manufactured Extinct’, and a brief soundscape of waves crashing onto a shore, but it isn’t long before this peaceful scene is ended as Travis Ryan‘s demonic growl takes over and destroys any hope of serenity. Taking off almost exactly where ‘Monolith…‘ left off, everything is there that made that album so excellent and then takes it up a couple of levels. The full range of Ryan‘s incredible vocals are on show right from the first to the last as well as the usual blastbeats, occasional breakdowns, slams, and even slower-paced passages, and that is just track one. ‘The Prophets of Loss’ is up next and goes for an all-out grind, save for about 30-40 seconds. Otherwise it is aggression on a level that few can match.
That a band can be this far into their career and still be improving and finding new ways to push their sound without compromising at all says something for the talent on show here. Each album gets better, and within each album, every track seems to push things a little further as the album progresses. ‘Plaguebourne’ has some insanely fast blasts but also some progressive and, dare I say it, some more melodic moments. This is again the case in ‘Circo Inhumanitas’, where the band continue to experiment with little let-up in pace or intent.
It’s difficult to think of an extreme metal album that I was looking forward to, or will enjoy as much as this. It has everything that people love (and hate) about this end of the musical spectrum and much much more. The production is spot on, allowing each of the four musicians a chance to showcase their immense talents. Ryan is almost untouchable as a vocalist in my opinion, and shows exactly why here, but it is not all just about him. Guitarist Josh Elmore, drummer David McGraw and bassist David Engermann produce some pretty spectacular sounds for him to showcase his talents against. If you have any interest in death metal or grindcore then this is an album you should already know about, and if you don’t you need to listen to it ASAP.