Review: “Malevolent Thoughts Of A Hastened Extinction” by Cognitive

Formed in New Jersey a decade ago, the return of Technical Death Metal quintet Cognitive with “Malevolent Thoughts of a Hastened Extinction” is one firmly in the highly anticipated category. The band have toured relentlessly in that time, supporting everyone from Fit For An Autopsy to Lorna Shore and even  South African Slamming Death Metallers Vulvodynia with the ability to whip up a circle pit in seconds. The album writing process started just before the Great Plague hit with a trio of songs inked and rehearsed in two sessions before having to finish the album remotely, trading files and ideas over the World Wide Web. Recorded and mixed by drummer AJ Viana and mastered by the Grammy award-winning mastering engineer Alan Douches at West West Side Music (Converge, Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon), the three year wait for a follow up to the well received “Matricide” is finally over…

Continuing where “Matricide” left off with fretboard smoking blistering riffs and soulful solos from Harry Lannon and Rob Wharton, Cognitive continue to cut a path through the Urban Jungle in full on Groove laden Death Metal style while also showing some incredible technicality. Odd time signatures and Mathcore moments add nuance to the tracks with the nauseating opening to “Arterial Red” even touching on DJent as the band keep things moving forward at an incredible pace. There are moments where they remind of “Hunter” era A Life Once Lost with the same level of intense groove but they’re more than happy to swing things back and cut into straight up Deathcore with merciless intent. Everything is done with considered measure, leaving minimal fat to be trimmed with each track finding new ways to push the envelope. Shane Jost’s vocals are unbelievable to the point of being inhuman as he roars over the spine juddering riffs of “From the Depths“, his brutal roar quickly switching up registers to a horrifying shriller tone as he depicts the ultimate evil, while follow up “Orborous” goes harder with slamming intent. Drummer AJ Viana is an absolute machine on that track which has the kind of extended vibrant solo that you’d expect from a more Traditional Metal band to add a measure of harmony before smashing back into the brutality.

Whether it’s the incendiary pure visceral energy and raw emotion of Jost’s flesh from bone severingly brutal vocals, the thunderous whirlwind of Viana’s kit work or skull crushing intensity of the riffs, Cognitive put on an absorbing and captivating display of precision musicianship with enthralling savagery and cataclysmic ferocity that, like the best of horror films means you simply can’t look away, even if you wanted to. That means they can comfortably stand alongside their peers like Lorna Shore and easily hold their own. The stand out track in a collection of stand outs has to be “Tearing Tendon From Bone” which sees Jost wanting to take on the role of a killing machine and decimate the weak, while you snap your neck to the ridiculously heavy riffs and smile at the pure evil of the lyrics. In a genre where you have to do something special to stand out due to the sheer volume of bands competing for the crown, Cognitive have pulled the sword from the stone with this one. Even the melancholic “Destitute“, which is arguably the biggest risk here as it introduces gang vocals and cleans is a slow burn gargantuan moment that crushes by the end had has a ripper of a solo; it’s actually something of a palette cleansing moment for the finale which turns everything up to unstoppable levels [8.5/10]

Track listing

1. Eniac
2. The Maw
3. Arterial Red
4. From the Depths
5. Oroborous
6. To Feed the Worms
7. Malevolent Thoughts
8. Tearing Tendon From Bone
9. Destitute
10. Of a Hastened Extinction

Malevolent Thoughts Of A Hastened Extinction” by Cognitive is out 16th July via Unique Leader Records and is available over at bandcamp.

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