By Peter Atkinson
Photos from Earsplit PR and www.facebook.com/cattledecapitation
To say San Diego’s Cattle Decapitation take a dim view on mankind is an understatement and then some. 2004’s Humanure took Slipknot’s “People = Shit” sentiment to a literal extreme, and had nature exacting payback on us for all the destruction we had wrought by chewing us up and crapping us out. 2006’s Karma.Bloody.Karma and 2009’s The Harvest Floor expanded on that theme, with man becoming part of the food chain to be raised and slaughtered to fill the gaping maw of our teaming masses after we’d consumed everything else.
2012’s masterful Monolith of Inhumanity looked further into the future, and saw man devolving into a species of ape-like troglodytes – living, breathing pieces of defecating meat doomed to wallow in our own crapulence on a planet of garbage. Which leads us to the band’s seventh and latest album, The Anthropocene Extinction, where it all ends – at least as far as man is concerned – as our mutual assured destruction is complete and the planet we’ve killed has killed us in return. Good times.
After barking – and grunting and squealing and shrieking – up largely the same tree for nearly 20 years, frontman Travis Ryan admits to a certain frustration in that nothing really has changed during that time, except for the worse. But his righteous anger carries him on – even though he’s not sure where it will head next, given humanity has been wiped out on Extinction.
But he’ll worry about that later, because for now, Cattle Decapitation – rounded out by longtime guitarist Josh Elmore, bassist Derek Engemann and drummer David McGraw – will see if the death-grind quartet can build on the momentum of Monolith, with Extinction. Extinction takes the churning groove of Monolith and sends it on a white-knuckle ride of progressive complexity and concussive brutality – all the while boasting some surprising melody in Ryan’s occasional fatalistic croon.
On the phone from a Summer Slaughter tour stop just before Extinction was released, Ryan offered the following about the new album, the tour and what’s come ahead, the commercial potential of a band as extreme as Cattle Decapitation and his “Storage Wars” brushes with greatness.