Review Summary: "Monolith of Inhumanity pt. 2" should please Cattle Decapitation purists and fans of technical death metal alike.
The vegetarian in me has always had a soft spot for Cattle Decapitation. The metal fan, not so much. Cattle Decapitation typically deploy a fast (really fast) and eviscerating form of death metal with all sorts of technicality and whatnot. Always fun at an arm's distance, the California band is like a really excitable terrier that doesn't understand why it can't be in your face at all times.
Monolith of Inhumanity
was emblematic of this "in your face" delivery. The album never once rested on its laurels. Never did it stop the constant barrage of grind tinged tech death. It just beat on and on and on. Yet with such panache and acerbic prose it was actually a really fun record. The downfall of man, with our hubris and destruction was fittingly captured by the band, whose typically militant vegan message was done one a much grander scale. Everything was much grander in scale really. The production was tight. The message was clear. And Cattle Decapitation had never sounded more impressive.
All of this can be said of The Anthropocene Extinction
Cattle Decapitation's newest is the thematic and sonic sequel to their 2012 hit. Man is all but completely eradicated, so the band have approached this album with a darker, more epic tone. Logically, both records sound pretty damn similar to one another. In fact, it's rather difficult to see where they diverge. Everything from the production to the tight and concise technical feats are all ripped from The Monolith of Inhumanity
. But that's okay. It makes sense. Said album was pretty good and by association this one is too.
However, where the two albums do differ is in the delivery. The Anthropocene Extinction
sees Cattle Decapitation utilizing mid-range tempos all in effort to maximize the theme. It's different, mostly in a good way. Some times the little cracks show, such as awkward stop gaps and unnecessarily jarring transitions. These may have seemed seamless and harder to catch when the band was chugging along at break neck speed, but every so often the typically smooth songwriting has a few annoying hiccups.
Now for the controversial opinions. Cattle Decapitation are no strangers to vocal variety. Hell, Travis Ryan is one of the best in the business. His incredible range is only matched by his ability to screech the raspiest notes while descending into the depths of vocal hell. In other words, the man is a polymath of metal voices. Yet the cleans in The Anthropocene Extinction
are far more numerous than usual. That's fine and all, as Ryan's cleans are really anything but. However, they're delivered in such a lofty and anthem like way that one can't help but roll their eyes. "Mammals in Babylon" was one such offender, with Ryan's belting prose coming off as slightly cheesy. This is no way a deal breaker, but it feels like a staunching of the visceral anger that's always been there, replaced with a feeling that the band isn't really as self aware as we had thought.
Don't get me wrong, Cattle Decapitation still sound killer. Somehow the band sidled through the back door after years of bland releases only to become an 400lb gorilla of the death metal world. While often a little too unfocused, The Anthropocene Extinction
is a fine addition to their catalog. Few bands strive for and achieve the verisimilitude of humanity's ugliness. In a genre plagued with senselessly violent imagery, Cattle Decapitation avoid the peacockery while still offering the sights and sounds endemic to death metal. A good but not great offering, The Anthropocene Extinction
should still please fans of Cattle Decapitation and off kilter tech-death.