ALBUM REVIEW: Cognitive - Abhorrence

ALBUM REVIEW: Cognitive - Abhorrence

Abhorrence will be released May 17th on Metal Blade Records

New Jersey tech-death act Cognitive comes roaring into 2024 with their fifth album Abhorrence, their first album on Metal Blade Records. Taking the band's progressive and technical elements from their last album, 2021's Malevolent Thoughts of a Hastened Extinction, Abhorrence is the band pushing their sound even further in sonic brutality and impressive technicality. Does it deliver in the brutality and technicality that the death metal community crave from them?

The album opens with the album's title track. With a punishing, slam heavy opening riff by Rob Wharton & Harry Lannon, along with blast and machine gun double bass from AJ Viana, the song is off to a punishing beginning. Vocalist Shane Jost delivers unique hardcore scream vocals, mixed with a hybrid of gutturals and melodic death metal shrieking. I do like the clean vocals on the chorus of the track, showing a unique element to the brutality of the drumming beneath his vocals. The chugging at the halfway mark, with underlying bass gurgles from Tyler Capone-Vitale adds more weight to the riff as it heads to the breakdown near the three quarters mark. A heavy as all hell track. "Insidious" opens with blasting drums by Viana and the snarling/shrieking mix of Jost before the riff turns into chugging, caveman slam with blasting drums. With a slow-burn headbang along riff at the chorus, the drums go crazy as the riff begins to hop along the fretboard. Drums get more complex with fills, blasts and double bass flurries throughout. I do like the heavy and Nile-esque guitar solo near the close of the track before the band sprints to the finish line of pummeling drums by Viana and the guitar breakdown as the song fades out.

"A Pact Unholy" goes for the throat in the opening with drums and Jost's snarling and phlegmy shrieks. Wharton & Lannon are just punishing their instruments with the heaviness and brutality in their playing. Moments of complexity and then switching to chugging heaviness. The chorus contains the shrieking & harsh harmonies like the album's opener and fans of Cattle Decapitation's Travis Ryan will dig Jost's vocal shrieks. The pounding blast beats with Capone-Vitale's bass underneath is sonically relentless. A brutal, double bass breakdown with chugging riffs, double bass and deep gutturals brings this beast of a track to a close. My favorite track off the album. "Ivory Tower" doesn't give the listener any chance to recover as the band goes at it right from the get-go. The guitar playing on the verses instantly reminds me of Archspire in it's almost pinch harmonic style sound. Viana is just all over the kit. With ferocious and constantly intense drum fills and blasts. I love the guitar solo near the close of the track, showing the band play around with the progressive metal elements they began to truly showcase on Malevolent Thoughts of a Hastened Extinction.

Vocalist Shane Jost

The unrelenting drumming and dueling guitar harmonies opens "As The Light Fades". The song is heavy, but somehow upbeat in the guitar's sound, maybe in the tuning. Giving off a Deafheaven-like vibe, before we are brought down to hell with the chugging guitars and guttural vocals by Jost. The chorus' clean/harsh vocals, mixed with unhinged growls, is very diverse and beautiful mixed. Jost has so much emotion and passion in the vocals, its impactful. The clean guitar passage near the three quarters mark showcases the band's mix of progressive metal, while incorporating shoegaze/blackgaze moments in the vein of Alcest or Deafheaven. Along with an almost anthemic heavy metal guitar solo, and a toe-tapping double bass underneath it. One of the most diverse tracks I've heard from the band and I am digging it A LOT. With "Savor The Suffering", the brutality Cognitive is known for is back in FULL FORCE. Double bass leads the pounding aggression, along with the chugging riff behemoth that is Wharton & Lannon. The sadistic nature and brutal death metal origins shows in the BRUTAL slam-heavy breakdown. I was slow headbanging along, instantly stank-facing along as the blast beats pick up with the tremolo guitar playing.

"Containment Breach" instantly opens with tremolo guitars and pounding drums by Viana. Another punishing song, dominated by the deep, almost abomination sounding gutturals by Jost. Capone-Vitale's bass rings throughout the song, with high notes pinging throughout the track amidst the chugs and driving double bass. Viana's "lead the charge" drums start off  "Rorschach". The guitars have a groove to the riff before the verses kick in. With blasting drums and tremolo guitar sections throughout. Jost is just shredding his vocals in so many different ways throughout the song, its downright impressive. With high screams, deep gutturals and hardcore shouting at some points, it's like he is losing it in the recording booth and it's a damn pleasure to listen to. The band mixes it up with another passionate guitar solo with atmospheric guitars behind it. I love the contrast when they do this on certain tracks. Knowing that the song will come back with a unholy as all hell breakdown right after it. "Lunar Psychopathy" is pummeling with Viana's drumming, and the speed up/slow down pacing of the guitars. I can picture the pit going insane for this track, especially with the verses section. Almost creating a spiraling effect in the mix, which instantly makes me picture a circle pit going to this song. The band leans again into the progressive with the development of the song throughout the three minute runtime, which the band does well on the album. The album's closer "Cold Dead Hands", immediately starts with relentless double bass and blast beats. Wharton & Lannon deliver another pounding and aggressive riff medley on the track. Jost is a vocal juggler on the track again. I love his vocal choices on when to scream, growl, or go guttural. Truly underrated vocalist in the genre. Viana is again unmatched in his intensity and play style throughout these impressively heavy and complex track. With the band firing on all cylinders, bringing this titan of a record to a close.

Cognitive pushed their sound further into the technical death metal realm with Abhorrence. You had the uniqueness of vocal choice of "As The Light Fades", which created a unique uplifting and brutal sound all at once, while also delivering die-hard punishing heaviness with "Containment Breach" and "A Pact Unholy". The album shows the band evolving and pushing their sound to a different place, especially Jost. His foray into harsh harmonies and clean vocals amidst the cacophony of his impressive harsh vocal ranges was not only a treat, but adds a unique mix to a lot of the album. Cognitive delivered a commanding and angry record that was impressive in it's musicianship, as well as its brutality. I picture this record making a lot of Best Death Metal lists of 2024. Highly recommend the record.

SCORE: 10 / 10

1) Abhorrence

2) Insidious

3) A Pact Unholy

4) Ivory Tower

5) As The Light Fades

6) Savor The Suffering

7) Containment Breach

8) Rorschach

9) Lunar Psychopathy

10) Cold Dead Hands

FFO: Dying Fetus, Arkaik, Cryptopsy

The band is about to embark on a US tour in May supporting slam death metal partiers Party Cannon. After their July headlining tour with Dysentery and Atræ Bilis, the band will embark on a Canadian tour in September with Benighted. If you would like to check out the band out live, listen to their music or buy some merch, check out the band's page HERE for more info.

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