Worth the Wait: Cattle Decapitation in Australia at Last!
With a fervour and determination characteristic of their many years touring throughout the United States and Europe, Cattle Decapitation have on their first visit to Australia ploughed relentlessly down the east coast, with shows in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide.
The jittering crowd fidgeted and bounced in anticipation, making a wasteland of the merch desk in the first half hour after doors opened and staking out prime spots on the stage rail and at ground zero in the moshpit. Playing quite a short set, Cattle Decapitation’s energy and professionalism were stunning and ruthless, with the band conveying simultaneously physical brawn and an open rapport with the crowd, who were animated, alert and relishing the chance to sing the lyrics to Forced Gender Re-assignment and Do Not Resuscitate. Josh Elmore’s guitar riffs (played on his beautiful custom model) were bristling and expansive, and the solos in particular were dexterous and speedy with every note stabbing clear and buoyant. The rhythm section of Dave McGraw on drums and Derek Engemann was dynamic and highly articulate, with the toms carefully tuned (many metal bands do not bother with this) for extra rhythmic colour, and enabling playful trading of bassline melodies and rhythms between the two instruments. Most Cattle Decapitation songs feature time-changes and arresting stops within the track, elements that can be extremely challenging to execute live, however the rhythm section raged through them all with chilling precision, while never losing dramatic velocity. Travis Ryan’s vocals were characteristically merciless, elastic and enduring. His ability to produce growled yet powerfully melodic vocals, as well as growl vocals pitched higher but lacking no strength is remarkable, and the crowd who had come to hear these were ecstatic. Each member of Cattle Decapitation stands extremely strong in performance of his craft, and yet plays gregariously and skilfully with the rest of the band, a skill definitely helped by extensive touting and experience, but of no less credit to each member in terms of his dedication to technical skill and to the roaring life of each track. Definitely one of the best gigs of the year so far for relentless brutality, technical skill and a crowd thoroughly engaged with a band ecstatic to finally be touring Australia.
Cattle Decapitation’s latest album Monolith of Inhumanity is out now on Metal Blade Records.
Photo Credits: Geoff Viking Lierse