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Tech-Death Tuesday

Tech-Death Tuesday: COGNIZANCE’s Long-Awaited Album Is A Malignant Dominion Worth Getting Lost Inside


Hey there, tech fiends. It's that time of the week again. Before we dive into today's focus, here's the usual weekly reminder that if you're looking for even more sick bands to hear, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.

Cognizance is a UK-based band I’ve been covering since 2013 when their fantastic first ep which I covered at No Clean Singing at the time it was put out. The group has taken a different path than most, focusing on EPs over full-lengths since their inception, largely due to funds involved with an album from what I was told. Fortunately, going this route has allowed them to continually drop new singles and material near every year, refine their sound at a faster pace, and stay relevant with greater ease. Now that they signed to Prosthetic, the band's long-awaited debut album, Malignant Dominion, was recently released earlier this month. I still wanted to cover it post-release though because this band means a lot to me and this was one of my most anticipated releases of the year for tech-death.

The last we checked in with Cognizance was some early singles before the current album dropped, one of which I premiered here in 2017. However, their last proper effort was their 2016 ep, Illusory, which was premiered in this space in fact. To me, that release was the group's biggest leap forwards sound-wise, simultaneously stripping things down a bit further, while focusing on memorable lead work as a strong guiding point and ever catchier songwriting. Malignant Dominion very much picks up where Illusory left off, with some new wrinkles here and there and a number of killer noteworthy guest spots in tow as well that add something nice to the songs they appear in.

At 29 minutes, Malignant Dominion is a lean affair that never outstays its welcome, a trait I’ve loved about every Cognizance EP and had hoped would hold true if and when they ever released an album. Further, the bands approach continues to not be one of out-shredding, out brutalizing, or going at warp speed non-stop as is the norm for tech-death bands, means that they’ve always occupied their own terrain. Sure, it that fits within tech-death but somehow strips out just enough “excess” common to the sound to make their take on it very recognizable as purely theirs. A rare feat for tech-death and one that ironically or not, I’ve often not been fond of when others do it but Cognizance is simply better riff writers, stronger musicians, and better songwriters than the other smaller class of “stripped down” tech-death out there. Most of those bands also seem to miss out on the virtues of killer melodies and the joys of some brutality, another important layer that adds to Cognizance’s status as a less flashy kind of tech-death project.

Besides the increased lead driven approach on Illusory, that effort showed Cognizance adopting a somewhat more progressive death metal leaning to their material and some subtle atmospheric tinged moments. Both of those elements that took on a larger role on Illusory have taken a slightly larger place yet again with Malignant Dominion and is really the main way this is both an evolution of what they have established and not a re-tread of it with nothing new to share.

With a highly established sound taken just a tad further this go around, Malignant Dominion is everything fans of the band could have hoped for in an album after a very long wait. My hope is this is only the beginning of even greater things to come, something I have no doubt about should the band keep on, as they’ve only gotten better with every release. In the off chance you haven’t given this a listen yet, I would strongly suggest that you do. You can order Malignant Dominion through Bandcamp and Prosthetic Records. You can also follow the group over on the Cognizance Facebook page.

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Tech-Death Tuesday

Hey there, tech fiends. It's that time of the week again. Before we dive into today's focus, here's the usual reminder that all prior...