Review: “Malignant Domination” by Cognizance

When people like Metal Injection are describing you as “One of the best damn Technical Death Metal bands out there” and you’ve managed to get the mighty Jason Suecof (Trivium, Devildriver, Whitechapel) to do the mixing not to mention John Douglas to do the mastering on your new album, then you’re surely onto a winner? Throw in the fact that you’ve managed to persuade past and present members of Job For A Cowboy, Extol, Aborted, The Faceless and Crotchduster to appear on it and you’ve got a formula that promises the Gold bullion of a great train robbery of the Wild West. Leeds Cognizance have been around since 2012 with vocalist Henry Pryce, guitarist Alex Baillie, bassist Chris J Binns and drummer David Diepold the current line-up. They have a rich vein of previous guests too with the likes of Aaron Matts of Betraying The Martyrs and Scott Carstairs of Fallujah appearing on their debut EP “Inquisition”.

Building from a droning throb perhaps likened to a heart beat “Nocturnal Emission” is the 96 second opening intrumental that brings the headbang from the very start. Following a suitably crushing riff with Fallujah inspired solo it offers the promise of a sirens call. Coming in swinging, “A Lesson Through Sickness” is soaked in Blast Beats with the sweat of pure adrenaline. A pulverising display of powerhouse kit work and a demonstration of how to blend Death Metal atmospheres, it’s a ferocious cut that grabs you by the throat and doesn’t stop running. “The Organic Citadel” sees the vocals step down in their guttural lows like a sea monster dragging you down to the depths and crushing your bones. A technical melodic solo is an interesting nuance and break in a thunderous tune that continues the quality. Effectively the album title track, “Malignant Domain” is a sea of blistering kit work and Technical Death Metal riffs that sees Henry Pryce at his storytelling best lyrically. A sweeping melodic passage with a clean vocal verse is not something you’d anticipate on an album like this but it adds a certain charm in the same way the cleans on the new Whitechapel album “The Valley” do and when the song breaks back into its full on onslaught it’s a masterstroke.

First single “Strychnine Shift” is nothing short of a battering ram of a track with the pace and energy of a prize fighter after 12 cans of Monster. The footwork on the kit goes off like automatic weapons fire and it shows how getting Inna master like Suecof to do your mixing pays off with the quality of the sound overall being phenomenal. Following a blistering technical solo that’s more elongated than some of the earlier ones but not long by any means, with a surprise 1999 era Slipknot chug that bursts into a Black Metal passage second to none is simply unbelievably good. One of those tracks that is a see who can play faster hold on to your hats boys hell for leather moment “Ether of the Void” thunders through like a juggernaut with a nitrous tank attached. It progressively slows down slowly to allow for a couple of technical melodic death metal solos before picking back up with the lead guitar work becoming the rhythm section for the final brutal verse. A version of it appeared in 2016 with Jason Suecof himself lending his guitar talents. Keeping up the energy and the technicality “Unforseen Consequences” gallops along like a horse and demands a circle pit. Bright Fallujah inspired tapping sections flow effortlessly into a rich short solo and the riffs just keep coming with a relentless quality that leaves you breathless. A melodic introduction takes “An Existential Battle” into full flow and returns to the energy levels very quickly with a glorious sweeping solo. Racing at times with a meaty bass line getting a chance to shine through the guitar work for a short atomspheric break before building back up, the control and flow is phenomenal. In “Malignant Domination” Cognizance have achieved becoming more than the sum of their parts. As each individual player in the band is a unbelievable talent, together they’ve written something that takes the best of what each of them have to offer, made flow seamlessly together and left the opposition trailing in their dust [8.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Nocturnal Emission (Instrumental)
  2. A Lesson Through Sickness
  3. The Organic Citadel
  4. Malignant Domain
  5. Strychnine Shift
  6. Ether of the Void
  7. Unforseen Consequences
  8. An Existential Battle

“Malignant Domination” by Cognizance is out now via Prosthetic Records and available over at bandcamp here.

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