Zora McBride’s Reviews: Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction (2015)

“Now the sea here has more particles of plastic than plankton. The Gyre is a disowned country of furniture, fridges, cigarette lighters,televisions, bobbing in the sea and slowly falling apart, but refusing to go away.”[1]

This quotation from McKenzie Wark’s book is a perfect introduction to what can only be described as a masterpiece of devastating proportions. It is, as the lyrics state, a chronicle of “the abolishment of the awes of nature maternal.” (Apex Blasphemy)

Seemingly incapable of anything else, the San Diego quartet that is Cattle Decapitation gives us yet another astonishing maelstrom of metallic misanthropy. With their long awaited newest release following on the heels of 2012’s Monolith of Inhumanity, we are treated to a relentless and uncompromising tour-de-force of our species’ metastasization, our own unalterable course towards environmental obliteration. When it comes to an accurate and all-too-honest portrayal of the current order of things, this collective of angry philosopher-bards has no equal.

Making the journey from trolling grindcore  to masters of tech-death cannot have been an easy feat, but the auditory trail leading from 1999’s Human Jerky and 2000’s Homovore to the current Anthropocene Extinction shows them to have done just that. It is very difficult to separate this record from one track to the next, given its connected and conceptual nature.

We begin, and end, with a brief soundscape of waves crashing upon a once-pristine beach, presumably the same displayed wrapped in plastic and littered with debris on the albums cover. “Smashing biodiversity,” as the lyrics intone, is simply what homo rapiens does. Containing  a plethora of styles, from an all-out, balls-to-the-wall intensity (The Prophets of Loss) (Mammals In Babylon) to the breakdown-infused sounds we might expect from a Separatist or Acrania, (Manufactured Extinct) (Mutual Assured Destruction.) to Travis’ beautiful and haunting clean vocals, (Not Suitable For Life) (Circo Inhumanitas) this album has everything we’ve come to expect and adore from these guys.

Rather than continue an effusive praise for this album, I can only encourage you to go out and buy it, perhaps along with a copy of Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything, imbibe its truths, and take action. Along with, of course, looking down upon a species that stands upright.

(12 Tracks, 46:00)


1: Wark, McKenzie ; The Spectacle of Disintegration; Verso, 2013

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