Death Atlas, the latest slab of metallic mayhem from Cattle Decapitation is a revelation. As a non-fan, I respected the musicianship and the intense intricacies with what they did but never found myself really getting into them. Before now, that is.
But don’t consider Death Atlas, the eighth long player from the San Diego quintet, their “accessible” album. Far from it! Still filled with all the calculated chaos that make Cattle Decapitation stand out from whichever genre they seem to be attached to at a given time, Death Atlas manages to greatly expand their overall sound injecting more melody to make their monstrous recordings endearing.
Without comparing them to others too much, “The Geocide” is the kind of epic controlled cacophony not heard in Metal since the heyday of Strapping Young Lad. Dave McGraw is the new atomic clock as the dual shred assault from Belisario Dimuzio and Josh Elmore add to the bombast. Vocalist Ryan Travis, on the other hand, is a revelation all his own on this record. Sure, the guttural growls he lays down are tops but it’s when he delivers those sinister clean vocals in such sweeping, broad strokes reminiscent of the very best classic NWOBHM choruses is when he truly shines.
“Be Still Our Bleeding Hearts” continues the intensity as does “Vulturous” with its’ vicious, shreddy goodness and Olivier Pinard’s defiant rumbling. “One Day Closer to the End of the World” is delightfully devious with devastating consequences to your earholes as Travis spits out lines in a flow that’s almost inhuman.
“Bring Back the Plague” is quite simply a master class in Metal magnificence as Travis adopts a sick snarl one moment before switching to a clean delivery for one of CD’s more welcoming choruses with McGraw traversing the sonic landscape in a flurry of furious styles.
“The Great Dying II” provides a brief, albeit still ominous, interlude before “Finish Them” does exactly that and switches between slow burning groover to Death Metal grinder with a huge ass breakdown all within its’ three minutes. McGraw’s incessant pounding propels “With All Disrespect” to an exhilarating start which sees Dimuzio and Elmore’s guitars battling for supremacy just as Travis’ many voices do the same.
Getting towards the end, “Time’s Cruel Curtain” presents a fitting prelude of what’s to come during the finale as this grand journey begins with the most monumental of build ups until eventually hitting its’ Metal stride and then returns to serenity with Travis’ pipes leading this triumphant anthem along its’ twisted path. Inevitably, the end must come and for Death Atlas that arrives in the form of this gorgeous gargantuan title track which is a feat of Metal mastery with help from Ricinn and Igorrr’s Laure Le Prunenec. For over nine minutes, the track takes different stylistic twists and turns that each offer insight into what an epic unrelenting behemoth Travis, Dimuzio, Elmore, McGraw, and Pinard are collectively.
Making your Black Friday a little more dark, Death Atlas is out on November 29th through Metal Blade Records. Do yourself a favor and avoid the madness out in the wild that day by pre-ordering now here. For more on Cattle Decapitation, including upcoming live dates with Atheist, Full Of Hell, Author & Punisher, and Vitriol with a stop at Brighton Music Hall on December 2nd, follow them across the internets by clicking here or here.
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