Cognitive: The Horrid Swarm

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Cognitive: The Horrid Swarm
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Cognitive: The Horrid Swarm
Technical Death Metal
Self-release
July 21st, 2012
Release length: 14:26
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Cognitive formed back in 2011, and hails from New Jersey. The five piece Technical Death Metal group, featuring Rob Wharton of The Adept and formerly Waking the Cadaver, went into the studio earlier this year to lay down the material that would make up their 2012 demo EP, The Horrid Swarm. Coming in at just under fifteen minutes, does this self-released EP end up grabbing the attention of the Death Metal community, or is it something better left to obscurity?

This release has a nice modern audio quality to it that works for the style at hand. The guitars have a decent lower tuning that gives it a nice blunt edge upon impact. The bass guitar accentuates this tuning well, often using more of a twang to give it an interesting approach that one might say is a bit along the Progressive lines given some of the music that appears throughout. The drums all sound tight, especially in the thick snares and the stern click of the bass kick. The cymbals are rather crisp as well, though never end up too dominant in the mix, filling the music up just enough to make a strong impact. Finally there’s the vocals, which are a typical sandpaper-like growl that works with the technical elements, and the somewhat open passages.

The Horrid Swarm is actually a surprising EP, though you wouldn’t know it from the start. “In the Form of a Drone” is more of a typical Technical Death Metal offering that carries a charging aggression to the music, as well as some nice complexity in the riffs of the main verses. For the most part, there’s plenty of changes in speed and intensity throughout that often give the song a commanding attitude, but the guitar solo is a nice touch, adding a bit of a depressing, dismal atmosphere to the catchy song. There’s also “Essence Oblivion,” which is in the same metaphorical boat. Much of the song’s technicality focuses more on the execution of shifts in speed, and the music itself isn’t all that unique in the long run. However, there is some additional dismal material to found later on that slows things down for a rather brief time.

While those two are still great, it’s “Falling Skies” that really makes you take note of the band’s potential. The song’s lyrical focus on HAARP and the slower, dismal music really sets the hopeless tone well. There’s also some audio samples that help to establish the hopelessness, which is a superb touch in some of the slower, less complicated areas. The only complaint to this song is that it ends up rather short without really getting off the group, leaving you with an incomplete feeling once you reach the end. However, “Numbered and Slaughtered” does leave you with some closure, as well as some slower, more intimidating material that can tread back in the depressive tones from earlier.

Cognitive are a superb entry into the modern interpretation of Technical Death Metal. The band adds just enough of a unique touch throughout The Horrible Swarm to make the music a much richer, even emotional experience. The only real gripe is that the title track seems to be a rawer production quality, taking away from the crisp audio of the four previous tracks. But, overall, all five songs are really engaging, and fans of the style will find plenty of reasons to actually come back to this EP time and time again.

01. In the Form of a Drone – 3:28
02. Falling Skies – 2:53
03. Numbered and Slaughtered – 3:08
04. Essence Oblivion – 2:08
05. The Horrid Swarm – 2:49
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10

Cognitivr (band)
Cognitive

Physical review copy of this release provided by Cognitive.