The night before All Hallow’s Eve presents Glasgow with a prospect for deranged brutality, spearheaded by none other than the misanthropic death metallers Cattle Decapitation on the UK leg of their Global Warmup tour. These pessimists were last sighted in the city three years ago so this show is highly anticipated.
The gig’s early doors mean that there is a queue lengthening outside the Cathouse even as opening act Party Cannon take the stage. These boys from Dunfermline have done enviously well with their self-styled party slam death metal, recently coming off a couple dates in the Philippines. Still wielding their only album release ‘Bong Hit Hospitalisation’, they bludgeon the audience with rhythmic brutal death metal that is deceptively complex. Archetypal slam is the order of the day - fingers strike fretboards at lightning speed; vocals are full-bodied growls and higher pitched punctuating rasps and consistent pummelling kickdrums. The headbanging-inducing slams arrive at satisfying junctions in the compositions and it doesn’t take much to get a mosh pit raging. Despite the early doors and people queuing to get in, the venue is busy so early on.
Next up is Osiah from northern England. This quintet come bearing deathcore with tonnes of dislocating breakdowns. They started life under the name Humanity Deprived before changing it in 2012 and have two full-lengths under this new moniker, the second of which came out this year. Vocalist Ricky Lee Roper switches between blood-curdling growls and deathcore throat-shredding. The death metal portion of their music is ordinary with typical meat-and-potatoes extreme metal marksmanship, whilst the core portion never lets the listener get off the ground before being meet with another swift boot to the cranium. The death metal worshippers float away as the set advances but those remaining take pleasure in the flurry of fists barrage Osiah’s cacophony proffers. The spectator’s response is strong, sweaty and encouraging with lots of hyper-aggression and raised heart rates, warming up the Cathouse perfectly before the headliners.
Finally, San Diego’s Cattle Decapitation burst on to the stage with a platter of death metal delicacies for Glasgow to devour. It’s hard to believe it four years have elapsed since the Americans released their last album, ‘The Anthropocene Extinction’, so it feels right that next month unleashes new blood, ‘Death Atlas’. Tonight airs a lot of these unreleased tracks, absorbing almost half of the setlist. Despite the crowd’s unfamiliarity with the likes of ‘The Genocide’, ‘Bring Back the Plague’ and ‘Time’s Cruel Curtain’, they sink their collective gnashers into their gristly glory with a tireless mosh pit and keep security occupied with perennial waves of crowd surfers. The new tracks are characteristic of Cattle Decapitation’s recent cannon: Malthusian-inflected homo sapiens hatred bolstered by technical stabbing guitars from Josh Elmore and new recruit Belisario Dimuzio, idiosyncratic grindcore energy from drummer David McGraw and Travis Ryan’s psychotic interdimensional demonic retching and commanding death growls.
The ‘Anthropocene Extinction’ composes a huge chunk of the set, with fans going ecstatic for prime cuts including ‘Prophets of Loss’, ‘Not Suitable for Life’ and ‘Plagueborn’. The progressive metal style guitar diversions make their technicality more coherent and acute than the usual tech death metal fare. Cattle Decapitation have evolved impressively, certainly a key component to their successful longevity. Nothing older than ‘Monolith of Inhumanity’ shows its face tonight but the set still feels well-rounded and pregnant with chaos. There isn’t a frontman comparable to Ryan; it’s as if at any second a devilish creature will burst out from his insides. His angular arm mannerisms and excessive spitting – often on himself – marks his performance as one to remember.
The band leaves the stage after what feels like an all too brief set but then return for a combo of ‘Manufactured Instinct’ and ‘Your Disposal’. These final paeans to human-instigated global collapse leave the punters pondering that maybe the upcoming apocalypse might be worth glimpsing if Cattle Decapitation have any insider knowledge that the rest of us mere mortals don’t. This was a solid outing but it would have been much more satisfying had ‘Death Atlas’ been released so the songs were more familiar. The best fans can hope for is that there will be a part two of this UK tour, sooner rather than later.
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