Cattle Decapitation have never shied away from confronting the awfulness wrought upon the natural world by the human race, and Death Atlas is their bleakest offering to date. The cover art says it all: a stooped, skeletal Grim Reaper carrying the burnt-out husk of our planet on his back. “The core concept of this record is humanity’s insignificance despite what we’ve convinced ourselves,” explains vocalist Travis Ryan. “That’s kind of why this album cover takes place in space, to remind you that ‘the universe always finds a way to purge’. In the grand scheme of things, our species is merely a fleeting thought.” This imagery is backed up with a ferocious soundtrack, which includes elements of death metal, grindcore, black metal, sludge, doom, drone – with Ryan’s vocals broader and more fully realized than ever before. Death Atlas also features a number of guests: Laure Le Prunenec (Igorrr, Ricinn), Riccardo Conforti (Void of Silence), Dis Pater (Midnight Odyssey), Jon Fishman (Phish) – plus, brass instrumentalists from Ottone Pesante. The end result of these experimentations and collaborations is one of the most devastating records of 2019, and it demands an emotional response.