Review by Elijah on January 10, 2020.
Cattle Decapitation are and will always remain one of my favorite death metal bands of all time. They don't have ONE bad album, I enjoy everything these guys have put out, a flawless discography in all honesty. When they announced their 8th full-length album Death Atlas earlier this year, I was pretty excited. The first single they put out, 'One Day Closer to the End of the World', was incredibly great. It still had elements from Monolith of Inhumanity and The Anthropocene Extinction, but it was also different, it has deathcore vibes but at the same time it isn't deathcore. It's something new, something fresh put onto the table.
I enjoyed that single for a long time, then the other singles came out. 'Bring Back the Plague' was just alright, as I enjoyed 'One Day Closer...' more. Then shortly after that they put out the title track as a single. It was pretty cool, 10 minutes of some new stuff. The other two singles were also good, but I didn't enjoy them as much as I did with 'One Day Closer to the End of the World'.
The full album finally came out and I went to see if all the hype was worth it. In my opinion it isn't really worth all the hype but that doesn't mean it's a bad album, it isn't at all.
As I said earlier, with this album, the slightly newer Cattle Decapitation are changing their style a bit and trying out some new things, so this album is definitely something newer. For starters, they start to focus on more melodic playing and vocals, just melody cranked up to a 10. There's far more less technical stuff on this record, as it's replaced by melodies. Especially the vocals. Travis does less gutturals and more of his trademark "goblin" or "alien" type vocals, and it's everywhere on this album. The guitar playing is also something different, it's again, melodic, instead of technical or swift, sudden riffs and parts. Same with the drums. There's more double kicking and constant blast beats more than there is anything else he does. On previous albums Dave was far more technical and complex with his playing, with many furious blast beats and crazy speedy fills, cymbal chokes, etc. This album is a step down from his usual playing, which I'm not really a fan of. Drumming isn't bad, I just don’t like the lack of technicality. The only song that I've seen that still has some of his usual drumming is 'One Day Closer to the End of the World'. And as you already may know, that's one of my only "loves" about this album.
Everybody on this album does their part good. Good vocals, guitar playing, drumming, etc. It's all good musicianship. The issue I have is that I'm constantly waiting for something to happen. The song structures tend to repeat a lot. I'm searching for something to grab my attention and pull me in, something to make me go "Woah! This is fuckin nice!!!"; but it's not there. As I already said multiple times, the only wow factor here for me is yet again, the 'One Day Closer to the End of the World' single.
Obviously bands change as they progress onwards with albums, change can be good or bad. I love that Cattle Decapitation is putting out new material with some change, but I'm not really a fan of it. My favorite album by these guys is Monolith of Inhumanity, that album was incredibly crushing, technical as can be, and every single song is rememberable and catchy. Every single second of that album is awesome and doesn't disappoint. In my opinion it's the exact opposite when it comes to Death Atlas. Compared to previous albums this is a step down.
This album isn't bad, I don't hate it at all. I've just found myself not enjoying this album nearly as much as others. When I listen to Monolith... I feel energetic, excited, awesome, everything positive is in me when I turn that album on. With Death Atlas I still get some of that, but way less. When I'm more in the mood for the newer Cattle Decapitation stuff, I tend to enjoy this album way more, but devoid of that I still don’t care that much for this.
In conclusion, Death Atlas is good at best, a solid album but not amazing at all. Again, with previous albums I can remember songs apiece because they're all special and unique, where with this album I can only remember a few songs and just a few little parts of other songs because it's pretty repetitive here. I appreciate that the band is still going strong and put out a new album, but this isn't what I was waiting for. Not really worth all the hype.
Best songs: 'One Day Closer to the End of the World', 'Death Atlas', 'The Genocide', 'Bring Back the Plague'.
Rating: 7.8 out of 10198