Cattle Decapitation – Terrasite (Metal Blade Records)Friday, 26th May 2023
Editors note: Introducing our latest wordsmith Stephen Calligan
Cattle Decapitation is a group that is ever in metamorphosis; much like the concept thrust forth on the cover of their latest album Terrasite. Living between the margins of the firm taxonomy of extreme genres, they progressively clawed and writhed through the filth along their Darwinian path. Picking up every heavy and disgusting sound that they could and incorporating it into their form before shivering from their ootheca once more.
Beginning with the mood set by the blooming intro of “Terrasitic Adaptation”, you shed your plastic riddled husk and are transported into the post-anthropocene. You are quickly enveloped in a familiar fury, but where we once found a voice of pleading nihilism, we now find something that feels like a merciless truth. A premonition of an inevitable future. A warped reflection of self disgust – and it rules.
The warnings scrawled across The Anthropocene Extinction and the malicious indifference of Death Atlas have festered and been supplanted by something more like a specific threat with tracks like “Scourge of the Offspring”. We now live within a ‘Terrasitic’ epoch, and there is nothing we can do to escape ourselves.
“We Eat Our Young” does not moralize; it is a declaration of what we have become. From the moment the blast beat erupts, through the suffocating interlude and until it rips your lungs out for a finale – there is this runaway feeling, a dread that keeps pace no matter how fast Josh Elmore’s riffing may take you.
The malignant soundscapes and brutal synchronicity of their current form came by way of gradual steps in evolution, by way of molting and adaptation. Tracks like “…and the World Will Go On Without You” play out like a showcase of the spectrum of their various sonic traits, a typical example of this new species. Equal parts violent and operatic, raw and concise; the dynamic will throw you from the floor to the ceiling. The entire group works as a unit, following the metronomic sounds of runaway machinery set down by drummer Dave McGraw to masterfully create a dynamic range that will in one moment shake you to your core, and in the next have you feel the tremendous weight and release of a crescendo built upon a sixteenth note of silence; like the eye of a storm. These seemingly contradictory features all coalesce into an unstoppable creature.
The quality of the production cannot be overstated. Even compared with the shocking clarity of their previous releases working with engineer Dave Otero, this album contrasts sharply as high fidelity. This band retains the fittest traits and frenetic energy of their early releases, while dialing in their more recent experiments in vocal melody into precision devices for eliciting expansive effects. Travis Ryan is undoubtedly one of the most broadly expressive extreme vocalists to have graced our thick skulls.
“The Insignificants” will rip your face off and simultaneously lull you into a sense of acceptance; such is the venom that spurts from the maw of the Terrasite. Just as you have settled into this new paradigm and accept your fate, the closing track “Just Another Body” comes with hints of a new premonition, perhaps… further adaptations. Only time will tell, but life uh, finds a way.