Malignant Dominion is the kind of exhilarating, adrenaline-pumping music that makes metal so much damn fun. Cognizance are a technical death metal band from England that infuse a tasty amount of melody and groove into their sound, allowing for all the tech wizardry to shine through whilst still pounding away with muscled aggression and creating songs that both draw the listener in and force them to bang their head furiously.
Since they add in so many elements to spice up the sound, they don’t really fall into any specific genre pigeonhole, something that more bands should experiment with. Henry Pryce throws everything and the proverbial kitchen sink at his vocals; meaty growls, earthy cleans, and a range that needs to be heard. The interplay between the guitar and rhythm section are just blinding with all the technical elements fully on show – you can hear how much fun they’re having with buckets of fresh riffs, weaving in and out of each other, down-the-line metal fury, and grooves for miles.
The guitar tone is beyond deep, warmly distorted, and brim-full of impact. One of the true highlights is David Diepold behind the kit – this cat has chops beyond description, marrying up blast beats with fills and cymbal work that lay the solid foundation for the athletic music and still blow the minds of those looking for a technical fireworks display. And just to add to the party, there are guest spots from Job For A Cowboy’s Jonny Davy, Extol’s Ole Børud, and members/ex-members of Aborted and The Faceless, all adding tasty spice to this brutal stew.
The title track, ‘Strychnine Shift’, and ‘A Lesson Through Sickness’ are the songs that will really kick you in the gut, but one really can’t go wrong from one end to the other here – this is half an hour of tight, hugely enjoyable asskickery. For a debut album, this is an urgent, fearsome volley filled with an array of twists and turns that will blow anyone’s mind. Let it blow yours.
Malignant Dominion is out now via Prosthetic Records and can be purchased here.
Words: John Morrow