ReviewsCognitive - Abhorrence (Metal Blade)

Cognitive – Abhorrence (Metal Blade)

With well over a decade of brutality under their belts, and three years distance from their fourth album, Matricide, New Jersey’s Cognitive return for a new outing with a new label in tow. Known to these ears as an extreme death metal band that manages to play into a number of different sources without any sort of hiccups, Abhorrence sees the band continuing to one-up themselves in the best way possible. With new label home Metal Blade Records as well, the timing couldn’t be better for Cognitive to lay forth its most promising and realized album to date.

While the formatting of extreme music is still an easy classification for Cognitive, they continue to push boundaries and make the transitions between parts all the more seamless. The first released single for Abhorrence, “A Pact Unholy,” personifies all of the visceral energy you’d expect from the New Jersey natives. The amalgamation of technical death metal riffing and musicianship without taking it too far into absurdity, rolling grooves and intense breakdowns taken from more modern sources while smoothly incorporating them, and sheer death metal venom all merge together, with a few moments of more melodic vocals and hooks that feel like a genuine upgrade from last time all come together for a bone-shattering track. Follow-up song “Ivory Tower” is less experimental in tone but makes up for it in it’s sheer battering ability. A cut that showcases the frenetic energy of the band at it’s finest, it doesn’t have to perpetually go at 300bpm but instead showcases the group’s ability to bring in pulverizing aggression that doesn’t stick to the usual tempo flavors, even adding in a melodic solo to spice things up on the back end. Also on this side of the divide is “Savor the Suffering,” which enters stomp mode really quickly, with some effective accelerations and an eventual devastating breakdown section. Bridging things is “Containment Breach,” which leans into more deathcore and brutal death metal fury, complete with some punishing lows from vocalist Shane Jost. When the song switches gears into more melancholic waters as it progresses, the most impressive part is how it all seems to flow together. Much like the opening title track, which seems to ooze some Suffocation-isms amongst its brutal, slamming tones and reaching all the way up to a more melodic chorus, seemingly showcasing everything album is about to set out to accomplish.

Cognitive continues to make a name for themselves and outdo themselves with each release, and Abhorrence sees them in their best shape yet. They can play technically without sounding too eager to please, roll out massive grooves and beatdown-level aggression without feeling too caveman-like, and toss in copious melodies without making the music seem watered down. In short, it’s a fun, frantic piece of metal that plays to a variety of strengths that only bolster Cognitive’s sound. A pristine combination of extremity.

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