Cattle Decapitation return with the 3rd single from their incoming new album, Death Atlas. This time we get the title track, Death Atlas.
Death Atlas, the album, is due out on the 29th of November via Metal Blade Records. It will be the extreme metal bands first studio release since 2015’s excellent The Anthropocene Extinction. We did get a collection of B sides and unreleased tracks on a compilation called Medium Rarities back in 2018 but otherwise, new music has been a long time coming.
Cattle Decapitation are Travis Ryan on vocals with Josh Elmore on guitars. Dave McGraw is on the drums and Belisario Dimuzio is also on guitars. Finally, on the bass, it’s Olivier Pinard.
We have had two singles from Death Atlas so far. You can read our thoughts on them by clicking the following links. One Day Closer to the End of the World and Bring Back the Plague. In short though, they are both brilliant and it looks like Death Atlas is making a late play for album of the year. Let’s see if that continues with the title track, Death Atlas.
Death Atlas surprised me instantly when I saw it was over 9 minutes long. Extreme metal isn’t exactly known for long and winding tracks. To be fair, I mentioned in the previous reviews that I felt they had expanded their sound further. Still brutally heavy but somehow a little more expansive and I think Death Atlas showcases that beautifully. It’s quite the adventure, starting with typically brutal drumming but with a more anthemic guitar in the backing. Vocals are vicious when it kicks off with guttural growls delivered at pace alongside speed riffs and drums. The switch to the amazing cleaner vocals comes alongside a slower, less extreme sound with more than a little melody.
If you worry Cattle Decapitation have gone soft, that is put to bed within seconds as the melodic chorus explodes into a vicious section with ear splitting screeches and punishing rhythm. To think their are still 5 minutes to go! Plenty of time to hit us with more melodic choruses, more visceral follow ups and enough bounce and groove to set off the Richter Scale. Half way through Death Atlas takes an unexpected turn, suddenly stopping and leaning into a black gaze sound. Drawn out notes, slow drumming and a full atmospheric feel works well as completely clean vocals pour misery out. This full and morose ending plays out, slowly fading until the track comes to an end.
Cattle Decapitation do it again. A third song from Death Atlas and a third absolute banger. I thought they sounded like they were trying to be more expansive in previous tracks but it really stands out on this one. They have managed to retain their signature aggression and power while simultaneously making a more accessible sound and some exciting, creative and raging tracks. What an album Death Atlas is looking like being. Bring on next week.
Death Atlas, the single, is available now on all the usual streaming platforms. Preorder the album from Metal Blade, here.
Cattle Decapitation Links
Death Atlas by Cattle Decapitation (Death Atlas)
The Final Score - 10/10