This is the tenth album from veteran US death metal band Cattle Decapitation.
Following on from 2015’s The Anthropocene Extinction and 2019’s Death Atlas, the mighty Cattle Decapitation return with 53 minutes of new material on Terrasite.
Wow, has it really been four years since Death Atlas? Crazy. On that record Cattle Decapitation continued to evolve their sound within their own take on death metal’s brutal framework, and were ambitious with their approach to their music. It was a really good album, but you had the sense that it could be even better with some refinements and adjustments.
On their new record Cattle Decapitation have taken the strengths of Death Atlas and taken them further, while also employing the many highlights of The Anthropocene Extinction. The band’s extra level of detail, nuance, layering, and texture is now fully formed and embedded into their extreme metal sound, and it’s a joy to behold. Terrasite is still the intense Cattle Decapitation that people know and love, only now it’s a highly evolved predator with sharper agility, a greater array of attack tactics, and more efficient killing methods.
The album is as well-written as you would expect, and has many avenues and corridors to explore. Savage riffs and blistering aggression are expected from the band, but their use of melody and atmosphere has been developed well. The band’s dynamic edge and armoury of hostile riffs are on full display too. This all makes for a very engaging and enjoyable listen where every track has its own identity and character. They have their own strengths, creative ideas, and idiosyncratic sounds, whether that’s a blackened riff, a symphonic element, an ambient effect, a jagged rhythm, an ominous mood, or any number of other things. Of the keyboard-driven aspect of this album, these were handled by the superlative artist behind Midnight Odyssey, so it’s no wonder they’re so effective – his contribution can’t be overstated.
The vocals are as varied and charismatic as we have come to expect from the band’s formidable singer. The screams, growls, and semi-cleans are all present and correct, and well-performed throughout, (there’s also some actual cleans on the standout closer Just Another Body).
The refinements and improvements in songwriting and the clear attention to detail in these songs makes this one of Cattle Decapitation’s most effective and rewarding albums. Cattle Decapitation have succeeded in making Terrasite a well-rounded slab of satisfying brutality that’s easy to return to.