CATTLE DECAPITATION — Terrasite (review)

CATTLE DECAPITATION — Terrasite album cover Album · 2023 · Technical Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
UMUR
"Terrasite" is the ninth 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 May 2023. It´s the successor to "Death Atlas" from November 2019 and the quintet lineup who recorded the predecessor is still intact. "Terrasite" is dedicated to former Cattle Decapiation drummer Gabriel Serbian (also of The Locust among other acts) who died from a fentanyl overdose in April 2022.

Stylistically the material on "Terrasite" is a continuation of the technical death metal/deathgrind of the previous couple of releases. Cattle Decapitation have added some black metal elements to their sound (some of the tremolo riffs and blasting parts), but other than that, they sound unmistakably like they´ve done since "Monolith Of Inhumanity" (2012) or at the very least since "The Anthropocene Extinction" (2015). So this is still frenetic, energetic, brutal, and sharp sounding deathgrind featuring loads of tempo changes, riff and rhythm styles, experimental songwriting ideas, and of course the versatile voice and varied vocal delivery of Travis Ryan in front. He screams, snarls, growls, and performs his gnarly clean vocals when that is called for (this time around he even sings "real" clean vocals on the closing track "Just Another Body"), and nothing sounds like it doesn´t fit or as if it has been forced to fit a song. No clean vocal parts are for example added for mainstream appeal. They are there because they fit the song, and only if they fit the song. Something a lot of more formulaic contemporary artists could learn from.

The lyrical themes are still all sunshine and flowers, describing end of the world scenarios (particularly the end of human life), extreme misanthropy (the lyric line: "There's so many of us that need to die, Like a swarm of flies, there's too many of us" from "Scourge of the Offspring", describes it pretty well), and the need for environmental change. Cattle Decapitation were always a politically charged act and Ryan successfully treads the line between giving up/delivering black hole despair and fiercely fighting for the changes he thinks are necessary for both human and animal life to survive and exist in harmony.

As every Cattle Decapitation album before it, "Terrasite" is not an easy listening experience. Although the sound production values are clear, powerful, and detailed, and you can easily hear every instrument and vocal part in the mix, the tracks are generally pretty complex and requires some spins to sink in. When they do it´s incredible how many details and interesting songwriting ideas Cattle Decapitation are able to cram into their songs, and as a result there is a longivity to their music, which extents beyond just listening to the album a few times. As far as development of their sound I hear several new elements, but most prominently on the 10:15 minutes long album closer "Just Another Body", which is partially a pretty slow and almost doomy track, featuring dominant use of keyboards, which provide the track with an occasional symphonic edge. The clean vocal part on the track is also something new for Cattle Decapitation and shows that Ryan is not done surprising the fans. Thankfully he is still able to keep things authentic and he doesn´t deliver anything too anthemic and mainstream oriented... so fear not clean vocal haters, this is still very extreme metal.

Upon conclusion "Terrasite" is another triumphant death metal/deathgrind release by Cattle Decapitation, which stays true to the style of music they introduced on "Monolith Of Inhumanity" (2012), but follows the natural development of said style from "The Anthropocene Extinction" (2015) to "Death Atlas" (2019) to now this more diverse and varied take on that style. These guys are at the forefront of the contemporary extreme metal music scene and they deserve every bit of hype and recognition they´ve received over the years. A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.
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UMUR wrote:
30 days ago
I´m seing them on next tuesday... Hell yeah...

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