The last time I put meat in my fridge was three months ago when I had to store a turtle carcass until I could properly preserve it. At parties I stand by the recycling bin and cuss at people who try to put their beer cans in the trash. Whenever I see a disaster movie I not-so-secretly root against the humans. I’m just short of buying carbon offsets for my own respiration. I think Cattle Decapitation is the coolest band on the entire planet. Not only do they perform some of the tightest deathgrind conceivable, not only is Travis Ryan the most spectacularly vulgar windpipe since Chalky (what ever happened to Mephistopheles?), and not only do they write the catchiest extreme metal around, but I’m infatuated with the group’s uncompromisingly anti-human rhetoric and omnicidal fantasies. Monolith of Inhumanity saw the group turn from their grisly vegan-core style towards a more universally disparaging and diverse set of lyrical and musical ideals, and ended up as one of 2012’s most enduring records. With choice cuts such as “A Living, Breathing, Defecating Piece of Meat,” and the spectacular “Dead Set on Suicide” powering its assault on both one’s senses and moral center, the album is something I’d consider a modern classic and the pinnacle of the genre. Logically, by Angry Metal Guy’s Law of Diminishing Recordings, The Anthropocene Extinction will not be as good.

It can’t be as good as Monolith of Inhumanity but I’ve listened to it a half-dozen times since this morning. It must be inferior, despite how immediately one feels the need to belt out “We’ll fucking die tonight/ and that’s perfectly all right with me” at the end of “The Prophets of Loss.” The album is necessarily second-rate, yet somehow my memory of “The Carbon Stampede” has crumbled under the pressure of “Not Suitable For Life.” Unless Cattle Decapitation have somehow beat the system, The Antrhopocene Extinction just can’t equal its predecessor.

For those who, like I, expected this album to obey known laws, Travis Ryan has some choice words; “Fuck your system and fuck your decision.” The Anthropocene Extinction looks Monolith in the eye and dares it to offer protest. Once again, the world’s angriest quartet of tofu-inhaling Californians produced a near-flawless album. It’s a wholly different beast, exploring mid-tempo grooves (which would be full-throttle for other bands) and melodic choruses in ways that Monolith of Inhumanity only dabbled in. As previously mentioned, the album really kicks in with “The Prophets of Loss” which recalls fond memories of “The Carbon Stampede” until its down-tempo double bass-infested ending hook. Smoothing out the transition into “Plagueborne” is a simplistic noise beat that Tristan Shone could follow with litigation; but despite the song’s doomy intro it’s still a sprint and a half for Dave McGraw who proves himself continuously capable behind the kit.

If there’s one reason to fault this album, it’s the performances, which are impeccable but a tad more restrained than fans would expect. Travis Ryan still spans a good three or maybe four octaves of gurgles and shrieks, but his range isn’t as noticeable on this release despite a ton of double-tracked vocal harmonies. Likewise, Josh Elmore has dialed back the guitar acrobatics; there’s very little gristle-licking sweep-picking here. Maybe he’s trying to take good care of that gorgeous Cardinal Instruments guitar he can occasionally be seen cradling onstage.

In true Cattle Decap/Metal Blade/everyone fashion, the album is loud, although it sounds excellent and is quite listenable even at a disappointing DR5. I’m not asking for an Ecdysis-style level of mastering perfection (what a world that would be), but something with a little more headroom – like the last Origin record – would greatly improve the impact of the record’s slammier sections.

In league with Meshuggah‘s KolossGojira‘s L’enfant Sauvage or even Leprous‘s CoalThe Anthropocene Extinction sees a band distilling their formula and reigning themselves in to create a less groundbreaking but more cohesive work. The album’s emphasis on atmosphere, narrative, and above all Travis Ryan’s lyrics and delivery, both of which are unparalleled in the genre, is truly laudable and while the songs themselves aren’t quite as distinctive as the incredible collection from Monolith of InhumaintyThe Antrhopocene Extinction remains an incredibly compelling listening experience and the most quotable extreme metal album in recent memory. The band’s mix of slam, grind, black metal and misanthropy in the strictest sense is still the premiere poison for picking, ingesting, and lying bloated on an oil-covered beach. If you don’t buy this album, myself, Smokey the Bear, and Captain Planet will show up at your house with some choice words. And claws.

Rating: 4.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Metal Blade
Release Dates: Out Worldwide 08.07.2015

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  • AndySynn

    Pretty much my thoughts. Get out of my brain!!!

  • BarryLeFreak

    Huh. I’m a little surprised at the 4.5 score considering the weaknesses mentioned – is the album THAT good? :o

    Does the grand angry poobah agree with the score cos he pooped all over the last album

    • BarryLeFreak

      Note that I haven’t heard anything yet, just my thoughts based on the review

      • Kronos

        Yeah I kind of had to dig to find things to bitch about.

    • Kronos

      Was nearly a 5 for a while.

      • Grymm

        This album is a 5 for me.

        Can’t stop listening to the damn thing.

  • Dr. Scorpion

    Oh this is AMAZING!!!!!! It totally destroys Sulphur Aeon.

    • Mark Hunt

      Where have you even listened to it?

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        The same strange alternate universe where this has a chance of being better than ‘Gateway to the Antisphere’, I’d wager.

        • Kronos

          Hear that sizzle.

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            Tofu bacon?

          • Kronos

            Tofu actually tastes like food when you fry it. Veggie bacon is basically dog treats though

          • basenjibrian

            Lamb Bacon…now THAT is the bomb!

          • Grymm

            Veggie bacon has a different name: ass.

        • AndySynn

          To be fair to him… I’m not sure he’s wrong.

          And I LOVE Sulphur Aeon.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Is this the highest score for a lowest DR at AMG? Dear oh dear are standards slipping?
    I’ve never gotten into these guys, it seems like they’ve rattled the cage with this one. Will check it out.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Funny how your opinion of Monolith (and Cattle Decap in general) is such a polar opposite from Mr. Fisting’s.

    • Kronos

      Fisting and I don’t always agree, and when we don’t, remember that I’m right.

    • One of the few reviews on AMG that had me scratching my head. Damn you Fisting! Monolith was one of the best records that year IMO (totally with Kronos regarding Monolith).

      What’s funny about the DR5, it doesn’t have to be, even with grindcore. See Pig Destroyer’s high dynamic master of Book Burner.

      I need to really sit down with this one now…

      • André Snyde Lopes

        No excuse to have a DR lower than (at least) 8 on any record, regardless of genre.

        • Chris

          Disagree. Even an audiophile-grade music might be a very-low DR. For example Chris Jones album Moonstruck has in average DR7 (few tracks DR6) and it sounds unbelievably good… Reference bass guitar and acoustic guitar.
          I bielieve DR rating system provides little (if any) information about quality. It’s my opinion, though. Hail!


            I’ve seen enough comments on here saying “DR5? I’m not listening to this!” that I too question its value. It’s certainly nice to know, but shouldn’t be used as a barometer of quality – merely a piece of technical info like length and track count.

        • Wilhelm

          I agree but I’ll add that It is also today’s (digital) overproduction and brickwalling that is killing music. A lot of classic black metal releases (Falkenbach, Windir, Emperor, Darkthrone) are below DR8 and sound amazing.

      • Kronos

        Monolith is a straight up 5/5 no questions asked. I totally get why Fisting didn’t like it though; it just comes down to the components. All of the thinks that he didn’t like stylistically are ones that I do really like. Breakdowns (when used responsibly), pig squeals (the same), misanthropy (you can never have too much self-hatred), and really impressive guitar licks are all up my alley. I actually find Josh Elmore’s playing to be extremely tasteful with regards to technicality; most Cattle Decapitation riffs are very grounded and groovy and really pretty simple if you disregard the speed.

  • Great record. Tapir’s gonna fuck me up…

    • Sir Tapir The Based

      Ya called?

      • Never mind.

        • Sir Tapir The Based

          Btw, I hate you more than ever.

          • I thought you always hated me a lot. I’ve always loved you, though.

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            I’ve always hated you a lot. The day you were born a sudden breeze of abhorrence came to me. Now I hate you even more.

          • The day you were born I was going to kill you because I was super drunk on bleach, but I looked into your deep, brown tapir eyes and I fell in love with you.

          • Sir Tapir The Based

            Bullshit. I’m older than you. I am eternal.

          • I’m dead. So I am older than you, you dummy.

      • Kronos

        DID YOU KNOW?

        A NEW TAPIR SPECIES was recently described, Tapirus kabomani, the holotype for which was shot by Teddy Roosevelt.
        Catering to the small TetZoo/AMG crossover demographic.

        • Sir Tapir The Based :]

          I’m part of a tapir species that those dirty science men have not yet found.

  • Martin Knap

    When it comes to ecological/political lyrics I find Pain of Salvation’s One Hour by the Concrete Lake more tasteful and appealing, but I’m just a conservative old humanist… ;-)

    • Worldeater

      When Kingcrows Eidos came out some weeks ago, i remembered that i haven´t listened to One Hour by the Concrete Lake for ages and sadly i forgot about it short afterwards. Thanks for reminding me again, it is such a great album!

    • Kronos

      Great song. Gojira has a ton of excellent songs in this vein as well, “Global Warming” is a favorite song of mine.

      • Martin Knap

        I’s also the title of their album, bdw.

        • Kronos

          d’oh why did I say song?

  • Gabriel PérezMolphe

    I had a similar opinion to Fisting, but at least this track make me change my mind. But I can’t stand pig squeals, feels like a child desperately trying to tell “look at me, I’m br00tal”.

  • fgt

    Overly keen for this album. Ever since Harvest Floor, Cattle have blown me away and Monolith is just so fucking good. Great review as well, gonna use “gristle-licking sweep-picking” to describe Cattle to others.

  • Angel R. Suarez

    I really think they started making a turn around Karma.Bloody.Karma. I hated everything they did up until that point – their misanthropy and militant veganism made it even easier to hate them.

    When they started making incredible music, though… I couldn’t hate them anymore. Pre-ordered the shit out of this.

    I wonder what kind of master they have on the vinyl.

    • Matthew

      idk why people take such an issue with the veganism thing. Maybe because it’s criticism actually directed at the listener, rather than anti-christian lyrics etc. who probably aren’t listening in the first place?

      • Kronos

        I’d imagine this is the case. The lyrics are definitely preachy, so if you’re not one of the choir it should be jarring.

  • sir_c

    Their logo is mix between Darkthrone and Basarabian Hills

    • Kronos

      It looks way better now than it did for the past few years.

  • Luke_22

    Didn’t much care for their earlier work but between this and Monolith the band is on a serious hot streak. Some of those grooves are absolutely devastating. They must have downed a shit ton of protein shakes before recording this. Also Mephistopheles is a very cool and underrated band. The metal world needs more Chalky!

    • Kronos

      RIP Scepter of the Ancients-era Psycroptic.
      Also, if anyone wants to know what I think the best Tech Death album ever made is, that’d be it.

      • Luke_22

        Yeah would definitely be up there for me as well. One of the greatest Aussie metal exports. Would have been cool if Chalky wound up recording with Spawn of Possession but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

        • Kronos

          Yeah that would have been a hell of a band. Incurso was not too shabby though, another possible classic.

  • Andy Barnett

    Mephistopheles have an EP due sometime soon. It got sent off for mastering earlier this year, and I haven’t heard anything about it from them since.

    Apologies: EP may not have been sent off for mastering yet. Still due “soon”

    • Kronos

      Thank you very much for doing my job for me because I’m too lazy to do so.

  • Kronos

    Update: in my reading I must have glossed over the fact that Tristan Shone actually did produce the opening for “Plagueborne”. Hot damn do I know A&P when I hear it.

  • Grymm

    Good fucking GOD, this is unrelenting.

    This is giving me good cuddly feels of the “Annihilate. Everything. NOW.” variety. SICK.

    • Grymm

      One bone of contention, though… “Pacific Grim”? Really, guys? That’s NOT how you spell my name.

  • Vice-President of Hell

    i always wanna dig in their music, but their shithead vegetarian style seems not so good for me

  • jetrica

    I love them because of their misanthropy, and they’re pissing me off with their veganism… in fact, same situation like with my wife

  • boiledburgers

    so glad you pointed out the ending of prophets of loss. I’ll be gleefully belting out that last line for days. Favorite lyrics of the year so far, and what a delivery

  • This is really a comment to Dr. Fisting’s mindnumblingly stupid query pondering how soy is made – in the Monolith of Humanity review; comments are closed. It’s beans, probably with water, sunlight, soil, and photosynthesis. Also, what was with the gay slur from AMG? Really stupid.

    • What the hell are you talking about? There is no gay slur here or anywhere else on the site.

      • If you read my full comment: [I feel like you’re not being very objective, FAG. – AMG] .

        • FAG is an abbreviation for the author’s name, not intended as a gay slur. We’ve had several gay staff writers on staff at various times and still do.

          • Grymm

            As one of the gay writers on staff, I can vouch that Dr. Fisting’s old pseudonym was indeed Fisting Andrew Golota, which bears the acronym of, well, FAG.

            And I can also vouch that Dr. Fisting, Druhm, and AMG are ridiculously good people, as is everyone else here at AMG.

  • Grymm

    Almost a full year later, and I still can’t stop listening to this.

    I must play “Manufactured Extinct” at a bare minimum of three times a day. Those melodic tunnel throat vocals are awesomely empowering.