Ever since 2012’s Monolith, Cattle Decapitation made it onto metal fans radar everywhere in a big way. Making tons of year end lists and generally accelerating the bands popularity in a way previously unimaginable for deathgrind. This was made possible thanks to front-man Travis Ryan with his vocals, combining classic death metal growls, slam metal gutturals, and a wholly new style of weirdly catchy, haunting, clean moments. Monolith ripped Cattle Decapitation‘s past of great but not earth shattering deathgrind, to the very best in death metal, grind and heavy music in general. If it even seemed possible, The Anthropocene Extinction continues this success, becoming an even better piece of music than Monolith and one of the best death metal/grind albums in the past decade.
The Anthropocene Extinction innovates, excites and assaults in ways never thought possible in heavy music. The fact that a band like Cattle Decapitation can be so simultaneously catchy and heavy at the same time is dumbfounding, with songs like ‘Plagueborne’ making believers of even the most staunch detractors of grind or slam styling’s. Travis Ryan is the best vocalist in metal, his capabilities are astounding. His lows are decipherable, his highs are terrifying and his clean singing is something entirely new to a genre that has become so stale.
The songwriting on display is nothing short of incredible, lyrics have moved from the mistreatment of animals and is taking laser focus on humanity and our treatment of the planet. Each song profiles how jaded, dumb and violent we have become, with thought provoking lyrics and haunting passages, The Anthropocene Extinction is a reminder that out time on this planet is short and the world’s resources are finite. Each track is as great as the last, with the album as whole crafting a tight, brutal and powerful listen.
The Anthropocene Extinction is exactly the type of album that was needed after Monolith. There is a larger focus on the “clean” vocals and technicality, no longer is Cattle Decapitation the kind of band that writes about cheap gore and vies for shocking lyrics. They are the kind of band that will be dominating the scene for years to come, with The Anthropocene Extinction shedding any lingering pieces of their past. Where Monolith may have stumbled, this album stands tall as a testament to the capability for metal to truly innovate.
Twice now Cattle Decapitation have made astounding albums that bucked trends and innovated not only their style but heavy music in general. Whether they can continue this with their next release remains to be seen, but for now, The Anthropocene Extinction is a shining example of extreme music’s finest. If an album could score higher, Cattle Decapitation would. The Anthropocene Extinction is the culmination of a long career that shows growth beyond measure, not only has Cattle Decapitation matured, but they call upon the rest of extreme music to do so as well. Unfortunately for them, the standard could not be set higher.