Album In Review: Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas
Overview: San Diego’s Cattle Decapitation return with their 7th full length album Death Atlas on Metal Blade Records released on Black Friday November 29, 2019 featuring new members Belisario Dimuzio (Eukaryst) on guitar and Olivier Pinard (Origin) on bass. Produced, mixed, and mastered by Dave Otero (Cephalic Carnage, Archspire, Allegion) at Denver’s Flatline Audio featuring artwork by Wes Benscoter (Slayer, Kreator, Hypocrisy). Promo videos released for Bring Back the Plague, One Day Closer to the End of the World and short film titled The Unerasable Past by Wes Benscoter.
Review: Coming into this album review not being too versed in Cattle Decapitation’s music I wanted to give an honest review with fresh ears…and what I heard was way more than expected. Not only is this one hell of a heavy album but a complex one at that. Although I’m a fan of death metal and having been listening to it a lot more the past few years this band was always on the heavier end of the spectrum than I was used to. Now that my tastes have expanded I feel this to be the right time to review such an album and give it a worthy review.
The album starts off with a great intro named Anthropogenic: End Transmission and really sets the tone of the album and it’s lyrics having to do with the end of the world and what us humans are doing to bring it about then going into the fast paced beginning of The Geocide letting listeners know right off the bat what they are in for. The star of the show here is vocalist Travis Ryan. Counting at least 5 different vocal styles on this album, some of them even having variations to them, he is talented beyond belief . To say I’m impressed is the understatement of the century. The main two vocal styles used is a solid death metal voice and used for most of the chorus’ is a cleaner voice slightly reminiscent of Mastodon’s Troy Sanders but, say, screechier. It is effective, unique, and really helps make these songs a lot catchier. The other three being a great black metal voice, a guttural death metal voice (of which I, personally, am not a fan of), and a surprising pure clean voice on the closing title track Death Atlas. He really can do it all. Besides the vocals being top notch the musicianship is top notch as well. Instrumental wise what this band does well is tempo changes as it really helps these songs breathe and not be at 100 miles an hour all the time. With peaks and valleys it’s great songwriting, making the songs much more interesting. The drumming of Dave Mcraw is very complex and his speed is pretty much unmatched. The guitar playing of Josh Elmore and Belisario Dimuzio range from classic death metal riffs to some quite technical solos and parts at times leading me wondering if the addition of bass player Olivier Pinard, who’s other band Origin, which are very technical, had an influence on some of the guitar playing on this album. This is all impeccably recorded by Dave Otero letting every instrument shine. These are very skilled musicians, and a very skilled producer, who know how to write great death metal songs, knowing how to change things up and keep people interested.
Final Thoughts: To some it up this album is a tour de force of death metal. These guys throw everything they have into these songs and it all works seamlessly. It seems like a lot of time and thought were put into the making of this album, especially seen as how there was a 4 year gap between their last release The Anthropocene Extinction and this one, and the production, mixing, and mastering is absolutely stellar. It feels like this band has taken a giant leap in the music and their popularity which neither are easy to do after 6 albums. The rating reflects that it still might be a little too extreme for me but for any hardcore death metal fans this should be a 5/5 easy.
Travis Ryan – Vocals
Josh Elmore – Guitars
Dave McGraw – Drums
Belisario Dimuzio – Guitars
Olivier Pinard – Bass
Label: Metal Blade
Produced, Mixed, Mastered: Dave Otero
Album Artwork: Wes Benscoter
Genre: Death Metal
Release Date: November 21, 2019
Tracklist for “Death Atlas”
1. Anthropogenic: End Transmission
2. The Geocide
3. Be Still Our Bleeding Hearts
5. The Great Dying
6. One Day Closer to the End of the World
7. Bring Back the Plague
8. Absolute Destitute
9. The Great Dying II
10. Finish Them
11. With All Disrespect
12. Time’s Cruel Curtain
13. The Unerasable Past
14. Death Atlas
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