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For over two decades, the controversial and strongly opinionated, Extreme Metal act from San Diego, California, Cattle Decapitation have been pummeling their way through cities throughout North America in promotion of their latest effort, Death Atlas. They brought their Geocidal Tendencies Tour to the city of Portland's illustrious Bossanova Ballroom.

Opening the night, local favorites Vitriol stormed the venue with their dual vocalist attack, setting the night ablaze with relentless, machine-gun, blastbeats and unrivaled aggression in promotion of their latest album, To Bathe From The Throat of Cowardice.  This set was incredible and demonstrated to all in attendance Portland's dominance in the Extreme Metal scene.

The final merge of man and machine was upon us as Tristan Shone, the mechanical genius behind Author & Punisher, became one with his devastating inventions. These “drone machines” were self-fabricated and designed with the sole purpose of systematically pummeling his audience to complete obliteration. Like a technological demigod speaking in a lost tongue, Shone was promoting his latest offering, Beastland, his eighth studio album, as shades of violet and blue pulsated violently to down-tempo beats controlled by the tech-god himself.

Like a chainsaw to the brain, Primitive Man, the sludge-infused, Doom Metal three-piece from Denver, Colorado, provided enough brain-rattling volume that the entire front row took a calculated step back before their limbs spastically lost all control. They unleashed their primal attack while promoting their latest album, Caustic,  only stopping their auditory assault when pure auditory annihilation was complete. Unbelievable.

As the godfathers of technical Death Metal, Atheist, began sound checking on stage, their manic vocalist and sole-remaining original member, Kelly Shaffer, announced it has been 30 years since they stepped on a stage in Portland. And addressing the elephant in the room, looked at his band members in disbelief stating these guys probably weren’t born yet. Surrounded himself with new blood, Schaffer’s latest incarnation of the band played with as much technical ferocity as their predecessors. They revisited such iconic classics as “Unquestionable Presence,” and “Second to Sun” as well as tracks off their debut album, Piece of Time, even pausing to dedicate “I Deny” to the late Chuck Schuldiner of Death. They played with a renewed energy baptizing a new generation of fans from the local Extreme Metal scene with every dizzying array of unmatched complexity.

With nine studio albums to their credit, Extreme Metal pioneers, Cattle Decapitation, played a monumental set, unleashing a barrage of pummeling blastbeats while shoving unmatched technicality to the forefront. The forward-thinking, metal ensemble has never been one to shy away from addressing global issues in their music. Guitarist, Josh Elmore, bassist, Olivier Pinard and drummer, David McCraw, opened with the ferocious first track off their latest album, The Geocide, and ventured into such morbidly-titled, fan-favorites, the vicious “A Living, Breathing Piece of Defecating Meat,” “Bring Back the Plague” and “Manufactured Extinct”.  The band was swallowed in the darkness of the stage for the entire set with only blinding rays of light furiously illuminating the audience as the venue floor became a destructive, swirling mass of bodies with vocalist, Travis Ryan, towered authoritatively above them.

Cattle Decapitation’s Geocidal Tendencies tour is not for the faint of heart or the close-minded. Take a bite of your veggie burger and arm yourself with the knowledge that you’ll not just be leaving bruised and half-deaf, but also awakened to a whole new way of looking at the world through the eyes of one of the greatest Extreme Metal bands of this decade.

Raul Soria Jr.

Photojournalist - Portland

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