It can be argued that Cattle Decapitation are regarded by the metal community as the most brutal band ever. Actually, that may or may not be a bit biased from my own opinion, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that most metal fans that know of Cattle Decapitation know they don’t settle for mediocre ever since their absolute career-defining effort in 2012’s “Monolith of Inhumanity”. But, “Death Atlas” is a completely different beast to any other Cattle Decapitation record. Firstly, it’s a concept record based on how we as humanity have basically doomed our own future. Secondly, I can’t think of a better soundtrack to an apocalypse-esque-end-of-days style theme. Right, let’s just jump right into the damn music already!
Right out of the gate, the tone of the record starts in an extremely uncomfortable and dark aura with opening track “Anthropogenic: End Transmission” (which is pretty much the perfect link between the start of this record and the last record, 2015’s “The Anthropocene Extinction”). It works as a perfect introduction to set the scene for this record. Then comes “The Geocide”. Whelp, there go my balls. What a wallop of an opening song. You would think that it doesn’t get more brutal than the music, the lyrics come in and you’re absolutely floored. I applaud vocalist Travis Ryan’s work on this song. To be honest, pretty much the entirety of Travis Ryan’s work on “Death Atlas” is nothing short of incredible.
That’s not saying the band phone it in on this record, No, quite the opposite in fact. The best examples of Cattle Decapitation’s finest hour include the brooding “Vulturous”, the all-out-banger within “One Day Closer to the End of the World” and the two-part-epic “The Unerasable Past” and the beautiful brutality of the title track. The record also implements various interludes (“Anthropogenic: End Transmission”, “The Great Dying I & II” and “The Unerasable Past”) in between songs as well. This adds a nice flow to the record instead of it sounding overbearingly mental, as is the case with some death metal bands. This record is also one of the most diverse Cattle Decapitation albums to date as well, the best examples being “Bring Back the Plague”, “Be Still Our Bleeding Hearts”, “Absolute Destitute”, and the 9-minute-epic title track.
All in all, I would say without hesitation that this is among Cattle Decapitation’s best records and arguably their pinnacle. Sure, it may not have a legendary status like “Monolith of Inhumanity” (as of yet anyway, I have no doubt this will get there one day), but the music can surely stand with that record as a modern death metal classic. Oh and by the way, is your number 1 spot on your favourite-albums-of-the-year-list still vacant?
Rating – 5/5
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