CATTLE DECAPITATION — Death Atlas (review)

CATTLE DECAPITATION — Death Atlas album cover Album · 2019 · Technical Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
"Death Atlas" is the 8th full-length studio album by US, San Diego, California based death metal/deathgrind act Cattle Decapitation. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in November 2019. It´s the successor to "The Anthropocene Extinction" from 2015 and features two lineup changes since the predecessor as bassist Derek Engemann has been replaced by Olivier Pinard and Belisario Dimuzio has been added to the lineup as a second guitarist, effectively making Cattle Decapitation a quintet on "Death Atlas".

Stylistically Cattle Decapitation continue the technical death metal/deathgrind style of "The Anthropocene Extinction (2015)", but this time with even more clean vocal parts and more focus on melody and atmosphere. Maybe it´s wrong to call Travis Ryan´s vocals clean singing as it has very little in common with what most people will probably think of when the word clean is used to describe vocals, but when he doesn´t growl, snarl, or use some other extreme vocal style to express himself, he sings some pretty intense and raw melodic vocal parts, and for a lack of a better description, I´ll call them clean vocals. Ryan already started experimenting with this vocal style a couple of albums back, but on "The Anthropocene Extinction (2015)" they were more fully integrated in the music. Ryan expands even further on his clean vocal journey on "Death Atlas" and while some of the most conservative deathgrind heads may disagree, I think he succeeds in making the clean vocals an even more integrated part of Cattle Decapitation´s sound, without sacrificing too much death metal brutality and authenticity. This is still a pretty extreme album.

Cattle Decapitation are known for their pro-animal rights/anti-human lyrics, but on "Death Atlas" they focus more on the global warming situation/the pending apocalypse as a result of human exploitation of the earth´s resources. "Death Atlas" is a bleak album and Ryan doesn´t exactly paint a picture of hope and salvation which song titles like "The Great Dying" and "One Day Closer to the End of the World" are also a testament to. These are highly politically charged lyrics urging the listener to consider if they are going to follow the Greta Thunbergs or the Donald Trumps of the world. It´s a highly ambitious and epic apocalyptic concept album.

Cattle Decapitation are as usual a very well performing unit and the musicianship is on a high level on all posts. They can play both slow, heavy- and mid paced, and fast- and blasting in a convincing manner and Ryan´s commanding vocal performance is also passionate and rather unique. Add to that a powerful, raw, and detailed sound production, and "Death Atlas" is through and through a high quality release. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.
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Tupan wrote:
11 months ago
Great album, and I like your review! Terrasite seems even greater
UMUR wrote:
11 months ago
yeah I wrote this review 3 years ago, so back then the Greta and Trump comment was relevant enough. Unfortuantely it´s been in backlog so long, before I posted it, that the relevance of the comment isn´t as great now as it was back then...but I´m too lazy to deal with it :-)


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