Review: Cattle Decapitation at the Marquis Theater, 1/6/12

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Aaron Thackeray
Cattle Decapitation last night at the Marquis. More Cattle Decapitation photos.

CATTLE DECAPITATION @ MARQUIS THEATER | 1/6/12
It's a pretty strange reality to hear a lead singer, in preparation for his show, soundcheck first his real voice and then his "metal" voice in repeat succession. For the record, Cattle Decapitation leader Travis Ryan's do not match -- at all. Both his speaking voice and his stature are diminutive, his band is a little too earnest about your enjoyment of their grindcore show, and three of the members (of a band we'll repeat is called Cattle Decapitation) are vegetarians. So how have they become one of the simplest, most solid rock shows to have survived the late '90s?

Cattle Decapitation's journey here is one rooted in both rock and rock posturing. There are a lot of hand gestures involved, and Ryan can twist both his body and mouth into positions rarely seen this side of an exorcism. The same thing goes for the sound coming out of his mouth, a series of shrieks, belches, roars, groans and screeches that allow him to push out a guttural utterance as deep as it is wide-reaching. Ryan's head would be shaved bald if not for a tiny patch he has let live, encouraged to grow wild and gelled forward into the center of his face. It shakes when he sings, and so does the audience.

It helps that the sound levels are Tyrannosauric.

During soundchecks for both the openers and their headliner, the stools at the back of the Marquis quaked during the drum tests alone. The volume changed little as the night progressed, though the aesthetic traveled through shades of gray before hitting Cattle Decapitation's black. Local outfit Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire, who play what is best described as funeral grind, unloaded a brutal set of clever, eerie hardcore during which the entire crowd stood as if in awe. Combined with local death metal band Cattleist and grindcore outfit Ironhorse, both as raw as their successor, the night was almost overkilled before it began.

See More Cattle Decapitation photos

But when Cattle Decapitation took the stage, both of Ryan's middle fingers launched toward the ceiling, the night took a turn toward the experimental. The band's presence in Denver is geared largely toward local recording time for its forthcoming album, out in May. "We love playing this place," Ryan told the crowd. "We thought we'd come down and play some new songs before anyone else hears them."

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Aaron Thackeray
Cattle Decapitation last night at the Marquis. More Cattle Decapitation photos.
The set traveled back and forth between old material ("A Body Farm," "Diarrhea of the Mouth") and impressively named, strongly instrumented new releases ("Life Stalker," "Do Not Resuscitate" and one called "Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating" something) in a set that, while obviously unplanned and occasionally sloppy, added to the experimental nature of the mostly new narrative. Cattle Decapitation has established an intellectual activist niche within the genre based on lyrics that, despite their titles, bring light to political issues including genocide, animal abuse and the environment. Their new songs follow the same pattern, though with a turn toward the band's creepier style of instrumentation.

cattle-decapitation-17.jpg
Aaron Thackeray
Cattle Decapitation last night at the Marquis. More Cattle Decapitation photos.
Layered with violent, scrambled basslines and sprinting drums, the overdrive guitar combined with Ryan's howls for a sound that is as loud as it is angry. Ryan keeps his mouth so close to the mike it's impossible to tell if he's eating it or upchucking it, and there's equally as much hair-whipping on the stage as in the crowd. Several moshpits formed, freaked out and dissipated as Ryan, bending his body in league with his voice, waved his arms over the tops of heads like a crazed conductor. The only cracks in the band's armor showed when he spoke to the crowd, making small talk while shuffling between songs and deciding what to play next.

"Hi, guys. How you doing?"


CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK

Personal Bias: I've seen this band twice, and they exhausted everything they've got both times.

By the Way: That said, I am currently a vegan, and I would never name my band Cattle Decapitation.

Random Detail: Directly in front of me, a mom in light jeans and a fannypack stood with her daughter next to a man in a T-shirt reading, "TRY OUR WORLD FAMOUS HUMANS." In case you're curious, the shirt advertises cannibalism in many styles: smothered, scattered, covered, chunked and speared.



Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music


Location Info

Map

Marquis Theater

2009 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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6 comments
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DESTROY THE MASSES
DESTROY THE MASSES

also... you live in denver....... don't act like yer better then anyone.... yer not...... yer just another land locked tourist trap..... you should be lucky ANY band comes to play for you yokels...

Jimisyou
Jimisyou

if you don't like cattle d.... then... well.... fuck off..... yer a fart sniffing self righteous fuck bag.... go be vegan and love everything you are.... you drive a hybrid too? wow... you must feel like a world class human..... o wait....... yer not... yer a human..... aka ..... soon to be medical waste.... i have been vegan... i have been vegetarian.... i am currently to poor to be full veg. but i try..... i gotta live and unlike most self righteous fucks who think their morality will save them from whatever it is that is angry at them. I am not opposed to something dying to sustain my life... i do not agree with facilitating and mass marketing beef mechanisms.... but i do agree with eat to live...... back to my point...... when you can get up and play ANY of those instruments as good as them... then yea.... talk some shit.... till then? be a good listener and shut yer fucking face hole.....

Nick Lucchesi
Nick Lucchesi

+1 to the singer for the excellent eyehategod shirt

sarj
sarj

this is a poorly written review.  there was a full night of music and you only bothered to mentioned one sentence about local denver music?  How do you justify even publishing this?  Next time do your research and actually give people a clearer picture of what happened that night. I went to this show and you did not capture the vibe at all.  And by the way, no one cares that you're vegan and that "you'd never call your band cattle decapitation."

VivlianWozz
VivlianWozz

Another restaurant cliaimed to use freshmozz arella cheese,where it's dishes were actually made with economycheddar.the "fresh pasta"advertieshed on another meau tumed out to befrozen.--Agedate. ℃⊙M--a nice and free placefor younger women and older men,or older women and younger men,to interact witheach other. 

GUESt
GUESt

Holy shit, this has to be the worst review I have ever read.  How the fuck to you cover an entire show and not talk about the other bands that played?  I'm not really a fan of Cattle decapitation but your review sounds like a shitty expression of judgement, you did no research and you used too many adjectives to make up for lack inspiration for writing any relevant content in this article.  Since you failed at your job, you also failed to report on this show and the Denver music scene as a whole, step it up.  Seems your own pretensions doomed any relevant review of this from the beginning. Your review was as good as you deemed Cattle Decapitations set and this whole show as a whole to be, shitty.

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