Cattle Decapitation - The Anthropocene Extinction
Metal Blade
Technical Death/Grind
12 songs (46:09)
Release year: 2015
Cattle Decapitation, Metal Blade
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Following up 2012's terrific Monolith of Inhumanity would be a tough ask for any band, and it works to Cattle Decapitation's credit that they've moved sideways rather than even attempt to. Although The Anthopocene Extinction has similarities to the previous album it's undoubtedly a different beast, seeming overall to be darker, more grandiose, and even more melodic at points without diluting that essential heaviness. Which makes sense, considering the album theme of human self-extinction, which follows smoothly on from the previous album's “people = shit” rantings. Where it falls slightly in quality is simple; sadly, it's just not as fun a listen, although is still a good slice of the band's typically enjoyable death/grind. Opener Manufactured Extinct begins with ominous crashing waves and doomy riffs, soon turning almost groovy with an extended deep growl alongside the (nicely audible) bass, before the band's usual technical grinding kicks off. The twisted, downright weird clean singing of before returns, albeit more in a choral setting and not seeming as strange, although this might just be over-familiarity – Travis Ryan's vocals are still very impressive in range and effect.

Top it off with some surprisingly pretty soloing from guitarist Josh Elmore and you have a great song, albeit one without quite the impact of past gut hits like A Living Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat. This, again, might be over-familiarity with the band, but this album does seem geared slightly more towards hooks, the infectious Prophets of Loss one example with the pit-friendly grooves and well-timed cymbal hits from David McGraw – even those clean vocals return where you'd expect structurally, in a chorus. Still, Cattle Decapitation are very good at what they do, and the songs are excellently-written and open-minded in their appropriation of subgenres; the blackened influence I've commented on before pops up more often here, the introduction to the aforementioned Prophets of Loss just one example. That track also has a Phil Anselmo guest vocal spot, which I didn't notice until being told about it – really, that a single song can have so much detail is staggering and more than enough to make Cattle Decapitation's brand of death metal stand out.

You could pick over any song on the album in this way. Plagueborne seems to have a more melancholic and gloomy atmosphere, an industrial introduction provided by Tristan Shone of Author & Punisher setting the scene well and extended clean-sung sections driving this home. The following Clandestine Ways (Krokodil Rot) in contrast is one of the more straight-ahead death metal tracks, even throwing in relatively dull chugging riffs towards the end. I didn't particularly love interludes The Burden of Seven Billion and Ave Exitium either; they break the tension rather than extending it and come as unwelcome pauses in action. The violence of Mammals in Babylon is closer to the best moments of the album, juxtaposing manic screams and moody atmospheric death metal to great effect, even if by that point the clean chorus isn't having as potent an effect as before. By the time you've got to the final track, the suitably gritty Pacific Grim, which admittedly finishes the album off well with a guest spot from Bethlehem vocalist Jürgen Bartsch, it's hard not to think that Monolith of Inhumanity was the far better album, but The Anthropocene Extinction is a solid enough listen that proves Cattle Decapitation are still at the top of the genre.

Killing Songs :
Manufactured Extinct, Mammals in Babylon, Pacific Grim
Goat quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Cattle Decapitation that we have reviewed:
Cattle Decapitation - Monolith Of Inhumanity reviewed by Goat and quoted 91 / 100
Cattle Decapitation - Humanure reviewed by Crash and quoted 84 / 100
Cattle Decapitation - The Harvest Floor reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
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