The Metal Mayan
Cattle Decapitation - Terrasite (Metal Blade Records)
It could be said that from the ashes of a great fire comes a new, mightier forest. Such is the cycle of beginnings and endings, of life and death. Yet, after thousands of years of destruction and horror, what new life could possible come from the tattered remains that humans will someday leave behind?
In the minds of death metal heavyweights Cattle Decapitation, the answer is nothing less than grim, gruesome, and sinister; a bleak dawn on an ashen Earth entitled Terrasite. Following vicious tales of humanity's malice (Monolith of Inhumanity), the collapse and decay of life as we know it (The Anthropocene Extinction) and, most recently, the death of all things (Death Atlas), Terrasite paints a picture of a grave new world as only the San Diego slammers can create.
Beginning with "Terrasitic Adaptation", it is clear that the rumblings under the crumbling, nuclear soil is not simply tremors, but the movement of some Thing waking up. This manifestation of forsaken life comes together through the roars, howls, and screams of vocalist Travis Ryan, the relentless drums courtesy of David McGraw and the incredible string work of guitarists Josh Elmore and Belisario Dimuzio, and bassist Olivier Pinard.
As the first and second singles from the album respectively, fans have already become familiar with "We Eat Our Young" and "Scourge of the Offspring" thanks to music videos and heavy rotation on Sirius XM Liquid Metal. Having forged a unique clean voice, or at least as clean as this extreme degree of music generally allows, Ryan stands out immensely in the middle section of "Scourge of the Offspring" and "The Storm Upstairs".
In addition to Ryan's vocal styling, Cattle Decapitation has stood out among death metal bands through their use of more progressive and even ambient textures akin to Death, Cynic, and Gorguts, as heard in "The Insignificants" and "...And The World Will Go On Without You". Tipping the hat to the great grinders of the past, Elmore lets his inner shredder rip with solos in "A Photic Doom", and both guitarists dig into melodic black metal territory in "Solastalgia".
At over ten minutes long, closing track "Just Another Body" is a far cry from the speedy songs of the band's more grindcore focused days. Beginning with synthesizers, a recurring theme since 2009's The Harvest Floor, the song quickly collapses into a churning riff and drum fest for its second movement. In contrast, the third movement incorporates true clean vocals and doomy riffs, bringing to mind Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, and Paradise Lost. While many times longer in duration than Cattle Decapitation's earliest works, it is without question one of their finest and most ambitions numbers to date.
The Metal Mayan review:
As a fan of Cattle Decapitation since Karma. Bloody. Karma, I have always appreciated the doom, borderline post-rock textures the band has experimented with over the years. Even though it was just an instrumental track, the title track from The Harvest Floor had me misty eyed, and I had long hoped to hear something like it again in a longer form.
Fourteen years later, we have it at last: "Just Another Body". It is not the most hopeless sounding song the band has written, but I think it's that little glimmer of fleeting hope that makes the song heavier. What lies before you is not alive and vivid, nor is it dead and a cherished memory. Instead, it is weak, tired, scared, and pitiful; simply heartbreaking.
Given the length of the song, I won't hold my breath to hear it played live, but I am certainly excited to see the mosh pit open up for "Terrasitic Adaptation", "Scourge of the Offspring", and maybe even "The Insignificants". As the band prepares to head out on the road with a legendary black metal band, "Solastalgia" would be a great choice for the setlist with its icy riffs.
Catch Cattle Decapitation on the Decibel Magazine Tour all through May into June along with Dark Funeral, 200 Stab Wounds, and Blackbraid. And be sure to pick up a copy of Terrasite on your way to the show, out 12 May on Metal Blade Records.
Advanced copy courtesy of Earsplit PR/Earsplit Compound and Metal Blade Records
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