CD Review: ‘The Anthropocene Extinction’ by Cattle Decapitation

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Cattle Decapitation has long taken the concept approach to its albums, telling horrific tales of near future calamities caused by the unsustainable practices and selfish brutality of mankind. ‘The Anthropocene Extinction’ continues the tradition with a story of impending self-inflicted extinction caused by pollution and over population.

That might sound pretty damn preachy for a metal album. Metal albums are supposed to be about Satan and wizards and Vikings chopping off one another’s heads. But Cattle Decapitation approaches its sermons with all of the appropriate vigor and venom. Everyone is still going to hell; it’s just a man-made hell of industrial waste and animal uprisings.

‘The Anthropocene Extinction’ picks right up from ‘Monolith of Inhumanity’ and is evidence that the band is only getting stronger. The album is progressively playful, songs starting, stopping and changing direction on a dime. The arrangements are cleaner and heavier, still indulging in the occasional black metal blast beat amid the aggressive grindcore tempos and death metal melodies. Travis Ryan’s intermingling of cookie monster, pig squeal and near-clean vocals is well utilized and adds another dynamic level to an already rich soundscape. Guest appearances by Phil Anselmo, Tristan Shone and Jurgen Bartsch are seamlessly implemented without stealing or diminishing the band’s spotlight. There is no excess on this album, everything is relentlessly hard and get’s right to the point. True to Cattle Decapitation’s mission statement, no part of this beast goes to waste.

‘The Anthropocene Extinction’ is easily one of the best metal records so far this year. The work on this album exposes all of the craft and confidence of a veteran band, a band that knows exactly where it wants to go. This becomes even more evident on the “Making of” video (below) that offers insight into the band’s creative process. The prospect of an eco-conscious deathgrind band might be daunting to some on multiple levels, but if you’re a metal fan, you owe it to yourself to seek out this album.