Hot off the trail of their debut appearance at Bloodstock Festival, American death/grinders
Cattle Decapitation are back in Glasgow. In 2019, they released their prescient album Death
Atlas and toured for it into the following year, before cancellations due to you-know-what. So this delayed European tour promotes that album and feels timely considering the global
depression underway now.
The Cathouse is nicely busy tonight, and the anticipation is at lofty heights as intro
Anthropogenic: End Transmission crawls through the venue. The band explodes on stage
with The Genocide, a whole paroxysm of scathing and foreboding death metal. Frontman
Travis Ryan employs his guttural death metal growls and cleaner anguished snarls to
significant effect. Melody-tinged solos from Josh Elmore provide some respite from the
barrage of David McGraw’s blastbeats and frenetic tremolo picking.
There’s barely time to breathe as the extreme metallers hurl themselves straight into Vulture with its mid-paced bludgeoning tempos introduction. This segues into the comparatively melodic and pandemic-themed Bring Back the Plague. The music video for this gained some celebrity by being
made during the first lockdown, featuring scenes of the band’s members each in their homes
interspersed with shots of early pandemic insanity (e.g. toilet paper hoarding). The only
songs from earlier in their blood-drenched catalogue are modern favourites Forced Gender
Reassignment and Plagueborne. The sound is as courteous as a venue like this can be for
death metal. You can attest that the fans are ecstatic by surveying the constant mosh pit and
haphazard crowd surfers.
Unsurprisingly, the last track of the night is the title track Death Atlas, running just shy of ten
minutes. This is the closest to epic Cattle Decapitation gets, mired in frustration,
hopelessness and sheer misanthropy… perfectly summing up the themes of the world right
now. Considering the dystopia we’re ostensibly in these days, Cattle Decapitation are truly
the soundtrack of today. But then again, they’ve been warning us about these days for a
couple of decades now.