Cattle Decapitation
Death Atlas


3.5
great

Review

by Madbutcher3 USER (96 Reviews)
November 30th, 2019 | 182 replies


Release Date: 11/29/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cattle Decapitation lean harder on their gimmicks, resulting in a strong, often extremely good, but wildly imbalanced and often less inspired album.

Cattle Decapitation's rapid ascent from a curiously focused but mostly average deathgrind band to a more complex and innovative outfit has yielded interesting results in terms of how it has continued to affect their sound. Monolith of Inhumanity brought forth a lot of the usual death grind traits (extremely aggressive, technical, frenzied) and coupled them with Travis Ryan's excellent clean vocals that helped to add melodic elements without sacrificing the aggressive, abrasive sound one would expect from the genre. Through to Death Atlas, these melodic parts have been emphasized more and more, and whilst it has resulted in the band finding a very exact "sound" they can stick to, a lot of the flaws that come with that sound have festered.

To be immediately clear, Death Atlas is still a great album despite its problems. The introduction of Olivier Pinard on bass has helped to add a lot more weight and variety to the previously somewhat lacking bass parts that accompany the usual lightspeed tremolo picked guitars and relentless double-bass and blast beats of the drums. Dave Otero's production has improved as well, with a wider, deeper sound helping to remove the very plasticky feel that held back the last two Cattle Decapitation albums, and resulting in a clearer sonic range that allows the more complicated and layered melodic parts to shine even brighter. The grandeur of the songs present is greater than ever, with great results on tracks like Bring Back The Plague, which has by far the most melodic "clean vocals" the band has used and some great, somewhat black metally guitar parts that are simultaneously beautiful and wonderfully abrasive. The transitions to (not necessarily from) the clean parts are also a lot smoother and feel more natural and well integrated. Absolute Destitute gives itself ample time to build up to the part without it feeling tonally disconnected from the rest of the song; some of the other tracks, like One Day Closer to the End of the World, have the clean sections feel less connected tonally, but place them better in the tracks and transition into them more sensibly than on Monolith or The Anthropocene Extinction.

So far, so good. But the core issues with the band's sound come from the increasing reliance on the melodic parts. A lot of the riffs feel a little too simplified outside of those sections, such as on the title track, where a literal two note riff comprises the verses. The guitar work generally feels less aggressive and effective in the more traditional deathgrind parts, and as a result a big portion of some of the songs feel like stopgaps between ideas, rather than fully cohesive and consistently strong songs. In addition, a lot of the songs feel more predictable as the over-reliance on the clean parts results in the songwriting telegraphing their positions in the songs a bit too much. In general this results in the songs which feature fewer or less heavily emphasized clean parts being the strongest, such as Vulturous, With All Disrespect and Absolute Destitute. When the band commits fully to a heavier and more aggressive sound, the songwriting is generally stronger, more interesting, and utilises more interesting riffs to maneuver between each part.

Despite the big core flaw of this release, Death Atlas is still a very strong album thanks to the strength of Travis Ryan's vocals and the sheer brilliance of some individual parts spread throughout the release. The weakest moments of the album are still quite satisfactory, just not as impressive or unique as the band probably requires them to be. Whilst the sound of the band is now more focused and their core gimmick is stronger than ever, there is still colossal room for growth, with more varied songwriting and more inspired aggressive parts. Still, for now, Death Atlas is a poignant, albeit imperfect deathgrind opus.



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user ratings (238)
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Madbutcher3
November 30th 2019


2396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Apologies if I accidentally got two reviews on front page, but I felt like this album was a little too big not to talk about and having listened to it about 5 or 6 times I've had a fair opportunity to put together my thoughts on it.

TheNotrap
November 30th 2019


12535 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Damn it, I was about to finish my review.

Shame on you dude ;)



Well, at least it's more likely to be featured, maybe it was the best.

Digging: Deathspell Omega - The Furnaces of Palingenesia

Madbutcher3
November 30th 2019


2396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeh I think people have been saving their reviews for this



this is probably a pretty bad one cus i wrote it pretty fast but idrc at this point and I usually don't review newer stuff so fancied giving this one a crack

dedex
November 30th 2019


882 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Olivier Pinard rofl, Quebecois have such silly names (pinard = plonk)

On a more relevant topic, good review mate.

bloc
November 30th 2019


58899 Comments


Really enjoyed this, super catchy

Digging: The Cleaners From Venus - Midnight Cleaners

JayEnder
November 30th 2019


6011 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

THE SUN IS ROTTENNNNN



THE OCEANS FORGOTTENNNNN



good review man.

Horfeepee01
November 30th 2019


44 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pos. Album is really great. The amount of 2 ratings makes me big sad.

Digging: Sylosis - Edge of the Earth

Madbutcher3
November 30th 2019


2396 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think cus it tries to be so grandiose with some clear issues elsewhere it is probably quite an annoying release for some. Personally I think it is good enough despite those issues to be a great album but I can see some reasons for putting it that low

DoofDoof
November 30th 2019


6774 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

for all the cows

Digging: Kev Hopper - Corbyn Sceptic Club

rikishiyayo
November 30th 2019


3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't mind the overabundance of clean vocals, always liked them. But the guitar work is just a lot less aggresive than on previous albums and that is what I liked the most.



They set the bar with Monolith and The Anthropocene Extinction very high and this is a worse album. I guess I even like The Harvest Floor more than this.



Still, it does have its moments and it gets better with every listen ;)

ZippaThaRippa
November 30th 2019


10539 Comments


You could have ended the review at the summary. That's the long and short of it. They're fully leaning in and it's alright.

Pikazilla
November 30th 2019


6971 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Cool artwork.

Deez
November 30th 2019


5281 Comments


Going to a show theyre playing tommorow. Gonna leave before they start

Pikazilla
November 30th 2019


6971 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

who else is on the roster

DoofDoof
November 30th 2019


6774 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Poultry Disembowelment

JayEnder
November 30th 2019


6011 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Gonna leave before they start"



what a waste of money missing the only good band

bloc
December 1st 2019


58899 Comments


At least stick around and join em for a burger or two

BigPleb
December 1st 2019


59955 Comments


Album has a lot of YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH's, agreed.

Horfeepee01
December 1st 2019


44 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This just in dm band said "yaaaaah"

Deez
December 1st 2019


5281 Comments


Atheist Pik, rather watch 90s jazz death metal than this shite. Leave it for the kids



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