Compromise is not a concept Cattle Decapitation are willing to entertain. Ever. Over the course of nineteen years and six full-lengths the San Diego quartet have more than proven this, defining themselves as one of the most vital, brutal, and relentless forces in extreme music, and with The Anthropocene Extinction they have delivered a volatile, apocalyptic beast that is as hideous as it is compelling. "I feel that something rare happens with our band in that we get better and better with each release rather than going in the opposite direction, which happens to a lot of bands," states vocalist Travis Ryan. "As we get older we feel we have less and less to lose, which is freeing, and we really want to go as far out on a limb as we can without losing the extremity that has always driven us."
With 2012's Monolith Of Inhumanity Ryan, guitarist Josh Elmore, bassist Derek Engemann and drummer Dave McGraw delivered a sledgehammer blow, maintaining their position at the most violent end of the death metal spectrum yet expanding their sound, allowing a little more melody in without losing any of their intensity. As always tied together by a central concept, Ryan's bleak lyrics bluntly illustrated the fate of the human race if allowed to continue pillaging and destroying the planet. With The Anthropocene Extinction he extrapolates on this subject, looking back at the world in the aftermath of such ecological and environmental devastation, with its focus largely centered on the Pacific Ocean. "The Anthropocene Era is the time period where humankind has had the most profound negative effect on the Earth and its ecosystems and the record focuses on how we have managed to bring that era to an end. From even before the Industrial Revolution and into the present day, humankind's inexhaustible need for resources and explosive population growth have accelerated us towards a future world where we will have either consumed or polluted ourselves out of existence. When you look to the oceans the footprint we have left comes in the form of all the junk and plastic that has made it out there because we let that happen, and the effect that has, because when you start breaking down eco-systems it's a domino effect and will one day end up doing us in. The Anthropocene Extinction is set in the world that we destroyed, and lyrically, it's certainly the most depressing record I've written."
The Anthropocene Extinction also sees the band extending their collaboration with Wes Benscoter, who has handled the artwork for every release since 2002's To Serve Man. "As with the case of Dave Otero, when we work with Wes he becomes a member of the band, and this also applies to Mitch Massie [who directed the notoriously NSFW video clip for Monolith Of Inhumanity's "Forced Gender Reassignment"]. I care about their opinions just as much as my own, and it's about putting the ball in the court of these guys as much as possible without sacrificing our artistic integrity." As usual, Benscoter formulated striking imagery that conveyed the record's themes in unflinching style, the cover featuring a bloated and distorted corpse washed up on a beach, its torn abdomen disgorging a mass of waste plastic. "It harkens back to what's going on with the albatrosses they have been finding on Midway Island for years. They're mistaking plastic for krill, ingesting this and dropping dead on the island, and as they decay the plastic inside them spills out. It paints a vivid picture of what's going on out there, and we're taking that and putting that within a human context, because, as I said before, it's a domino effect that ultimately leads back to our own downfall."