Cognitive – Malevolent Thoughts of a Hastened Extinction (Unique Leader)

Friday, 9th July 2021
Rating: 9/10

An act that has perpetually managed to one-up themselves while staying true to their roots, Cognitive have been a joy to watch as they release each new album. 2018’s Matricide was their last release, and they really nailed down a modern death metal release that was able to show its teeth while providing an experience that was still varied and utterly memorable. Expect nothing less from Malevolent Thoughts of a Hastened Extinction, as Cognitive continues to evolve and bring their A-game while bashing as many skulls as possible.

The main appeal of Cognitive continues to be how decidedly brutal and uncompromising they can make their music, while touching a number of different bases in extremity. For such a vicious act, there’s not ever a trace of that ‘extreme metal blur’ that you get with lesser releases. Instead, each track has a unique vibe and special feeling going for it. Of course, the rather melodic (by the band’s standards) “Destitute” is going to immediately draw the ear, with it’s more melancholic riffing and a few dabbles into ‘clean-ish’ (think Fit for an Autopsy) vocals. It’s a great example of how the band continues to push forward without losing aggression. But you can even dig into an outright bruiser like “From the Depths” and pull some fresh takes. The groove-friendly cut manages to weave in some crazy melodies when the band speeds things up, offering playful intricacies between bouts of punishing mid-tempo segments. Frenetic follow-up “Oroborous” takes things up to 11 on the speed front, but the subtle melodies (a killer solo too) and occasional dip into brutal death metal stomps give the track a much more fun vibe than you’d be led to believe. If a band can provide a sense of playfulness and bounce within such a harsh environment, it’s worth paying attention to. “The Maw” really sums this up, along with a demanding sense of urgency as the band chews on intricate and devastating riffs.

Cognitive does it all within the modern death metal world, and Malevolent Thoughts of a Hastened Extinction sits as one of the strongest releases in the genre so far this year. Why they aren’t a more buzzed about band at this point is a real head-scratcher with their melding of technical musicianship and bone-crushing brutality – there’s few that can wield such a combination in just the right doses as Cognitive does.

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