If last album Monolith Of Inhumanity suggested Cattle Decapitation were about to morph from a very, very good band into a genuinely fucking great one, this confirms it.
They’ve got the required riff chops to underpin anything else they do, furiously battering out crushing grind grooves and death metal gut-punches, particularly on the vicious Plagueborne.
And while they have got better at it, the utterly hideous vocals of Travis Ryan are what are going to (rightly) get them attention here. His nauseating ‘clean’ vocals – which, while carrying a tune, are far more unsettling than most death metal singers’ growls – are far more prevalent, and full of huge hooks, from opening song Manufactured Extinct to the vast Not Suitable For Life. And while it’s probably against the rules to have melodic hooks in deathgrind, Cattle Decapitation use them to make the music more vile, not clean it out (and probably don’t care about rules, anyway). The fact it’s more accessible in the process is incidental, but if there’s any justice, it could see them cross over from the underground. Cattle Decapitation have taken a big risk, tried something new, and done something brilliantly horrific in the process. Awesomely fun and catchy, yes, but still viciously upsetting.