In 2012, Cattle Decapitation released a monumental record for death metal: “Monolith of Inhumanity”. Even for someone such as myself, who rarely gets hyped over non-OSDM-sounding death metal, this album was incredible. Just a few years later, the band is back with a follow-up record, “The Anthropocene Extinction”, which attempts to live up to high expectations. While at times the band meets those expectations, they also fall short at other times. This album is not radically different from its predecessor. The only major change is the “clean” vocals that singer Travis Ryan previously employed are now present a lot more often. While some may criticize this as the band getting predictable or formulaic, it is a welcome move to me because it makes the songs a lot more distinctive. It helps that those vocals are also incredibly interesting because they’re a lot more nasally than most singers.
Both the major strength and major weakness of this record as a whole is that it doesn’t feel like the band developed too much from the last record. On the one hand, both albums are exemplary offerings of death metal, but on the other, “Monolith of Inhumanity” felt like such a step forward, that it makes this album feel a bit stagnant. Nevertheless, you can’t fault Cattle Decapitation for knowing what they do well. One of the only areas that is something pretty cool and different on this album comes from “Clandestine Ways (Krokodil Rot)”, where the band’s drummer, David McGraw, breaks into an AC/DC-esque rock and roll beat, and the rest of the band joins him with a similarly styled riff. This moment is a nice break from the barrage of hyperspeed blasting and double bass that is present on the rest of the record (to be fair to McGraw though, he doesn’t overdo those elements like most over death metal drummers, he’s just incredibly fast with both of them).
“The Anthropocene Extinction” is a monument to great performances in metal. The drumming has already been mentioned, but as always with Cattle Decapitation, Travis Ryan steals the show. Not only are his cleans great, but his death metal range is unparalleled. He can do it all and make anything sound fantastic. The guitar and bass playing both manage to keep up with the rest of the rhythm section, and the guitars are often able to add their own bits of melody, particularly in the chorus sections to complement the clean vocals. Though this album doesn’t have any riffs that rival the epic “Your Disposal” from the last record, it is still an impressive offering of death metal. If you loved what Cattle Decapitation did on their 2012 offer, “The Anthropocene Extinction” will be a perfect match for your tastes!
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All of it
4.25/5 or 85%.
Written by Scott