Cattle Decapitation, 229 London (31/10/19)1st November 2019
Nothing says happy Halloween like some brutal, aggressive deathgrind. Sure, most of Cattle Decapitation’s lyrics actually have a much more wholesome environmental awareness slant, though I guess that entire subject is a bit of a scare-fest in itself.
Though Travis Ryan seems like a lovely man in conversation, his stage presence is prowling and powerful from the opening notes of ‘A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat’. Within minutes, crowd surfers are making their way all the way onto the stage, with Ryan himself quite politely standing back to let each crowd member have their moment in the spotlight before dumping themselves back into the pit.
The most impressive thing about the Cattle Decapitation style comes from Ryan’s inimitable vocal flexibility, which can roam from bassy grunt up to atmospheric, melodic screech. While his ability to craft such catchy melodies above such brutal music is something very impressive to behold, someone once described this vocal style to me as ‘an ant looking up at you trying to sing really loud’ and I can basically picture nothing else since.
Anyway, tonight’s set is built exclusively on the newer deathgrind sound of Cattle Decap, with tracks from Monolith Of Inhumanity, and the exceptional 10/10 2015 release The Anthropocene Extinction making up almost the entire 75 minutes. ‘The Prophets Of Loss’ and ‘Plagueborne’ really stand out, with the melodies surprisingly appearing almost as pitch perfect as they do on record.
Considering we’re in a venue that looks more equipped for weddings than deathgrind gigs (with a mirror ball and pretty little lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling) the sound quality is surprisingly good. While the crushing overdrive and incessant blast beats aren’t as spaced out and balanced as they are on the band’s stunningly mixed albums, there is pretty good clarity across the board, even is Ryan’s vocals are drowned out slightly.
The crowd surfing picks up even further during tracks like ‘Forced Gender Reassignment’, with the crowd not losing a single ounce of energy, despite having moshed their way through support sets from Osiah and The Brood. They aren’t afraid to slow thing down though, with interludes connecting about half of the tracks and menacing, slamming slowness coming throughout (what I think was, but please let me off if I’m wrong) the title track of their upcoming release.
These few tunes we hear from Death Atlas stand just as proud as those that surround them, with ‘One Day Closer To The End Of The World’ feeling as though it could be at home on The Anthropocene Extinction and making me for one very excited for November 29th.
Every musician on stage is a virtuoso, with the guitarists’ hands fluttered up and down the necks of their instruments, Dave McGraw keeping up a double bass pedal speed which would have split my shins in two and Ryan’s voice performing so incredibly without a single dip.
While Cattle Decapitation are in a position where their most recent albums are so phenomenal that giving a live show to match is a very difficult feat, but they pull it off pretty much just as well as is possible.
Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for our review of the new Cattle Decapitation album, Death Atlas.
A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat
The Prophets of Loss
One Day Closer to the End of the World
Not Suitable for Life
Forced Gender Reassignment
Bring Back the Plague
Mammals in Babylon
Time’s Cruel Curtain