Cognitive – Cognitive
[Pathologically Explicit Recordings]
Self titled slam debut check list – 90’s death metal riffs and brutal tempo changes? Check. Guttural monotone vocal? Check. Current affairs soundbites? Check. But what about repeat listenability?
It is hard to put into words the disappointment of realising that the first track on the album being reviewed is clearly the best of the bunch. Cognitive‘s self titled album opens with ‘Cut The Fuck Up’, a track that has car crash heavy tempo changes and buzzsaw guitars that peel skin from bone and pop eyes from sockets. Within seconds of beginning the drum attack takes off and before the riff has any chance to take shape the first of many, many time shifts takes place. To give them some due, Cognitive are not afraid of slowing right the hell down. Pit inciting riffs make up the majority of the opening track before giving way to a Cult Of Luna esque picked melancholy which shifts, yet again, into a pulverizing stomp a long. The distant voice of a screaming female embodies the anger and horror that Cognitive try to convey.
Unfortunately, every iota of material that makes up this record is merely recycled from the first track. The majority of the songs shift along at a medium tempo with multiple forays into attempts at creating an outer space vibe with meandering leads. Every slam section is followed by a blast beat and/or another even more snail paced beatdown. The riffs are uninspired and derivative of every death metal band since Cannibal Corpse. The acoustic interlude (seriously, an acoustic slamterlude) ‘Oceanic Erosion’ simply has no place here and adds nothing, while the album closer is simply an extended version of a previous riff with soundbites and samples played over it.
Some bands make the monotonous vocals work, but Cognitive’s frontman simply huffs and puffs his way through the duration, throwing in a weak scream every now and again to little effect. Adding to the already pedestrian musical offerings of the band and the heard a thousand times before production with it’s clanky bass and murky guitars, Cognitive have offered up one stellar brutal death metal track and an album of cloned songs. Better luck next time though guys. – MM
The Wounded Kings – Consolamentum
To be certain, metal is a young genre. Being that, it’s understandable that many bands will still bear heavy marks of their influences from some of the seminal bands that formed the genre. Innovation and coming of age take time and so, some measure of worship or repetition can thus be forgiven. However, there is little praise for blatant recapitulation which adds nothing new. Sadly, this what we find with The Wounded Kings’ Consolamentum. The influence is as clear as day: the singer could not sound more like Ozzy Osbourne, the guitars more like early Tony Iommi. Intonations of dethroned demons, ancient rituals and lighted candles mix with fuzzy riffs to create the well known doom formula.
Honestly, the album doesn’t even deliver these sounds well. The vocalist sounds strained at most times, aching to reach the timbre necessary for his performance. As for the instrumentals, the main problem is the composition: it’s frankly bland and commonplace, centering on the obvious tension between slow riffs and stoner leads. Consolamentum sounds like it was written while actually listening to Black Sabbath and then slightly modulating the sound by increments so that a separate creation would arise with as little difference as possible. It remains unclear then what original sound or idea this album is supposed to introduce into metal. And if it doesn’t, then is it really necessary? – EK
The Drip – A Presentation of Gruesome Poetics
The past few years bore witness to a multitude of hungry young grindcore fans scouring Ebay and Craigslist for Boss’ lauded “Heavy Metal” pedal, holing up in basements the world over and feverishly belting out tunes drenched in walls of buzz sawed madness. Bands like Nails, Black Breath, and Trap Them have carved a wider stretch of road that Nasum and Rotten Sound began to pave many years ago; a sound deeply rooted in the annals of Sweden’s metal history via Entombed, Nihilist, and Dismember. Hence, the birth of Entombedcore.
Leaning heavily on the Nasum side of the movement is Relapse Record’s newest signing, The Drip. Hailing from Washington State, these speed freaks blast their way through six songs of controlled chaos in the span of twelve minutes on A Presentation of Gruesome Poetics, leading one to believe the band name is more synonymous with cocaine than gonorrhea. Vocalist Brandon Caldwell spits forth a venom characteristic of Tomas Lindberg (At the Gates, Lock Up, Disfear, Skitsystem) in tone, sifted through a hangover of sleep deprivation and unparalleled angst. Each track plods forth in traditional HM-2 soaked D-beat and blast interchange, with an accuracy to rival grindcore supergroup Lock Up. The recording is appropriately grimy, but the playing is tight and unyielding.
The glaring issue here is the utter lack of identity. Entombedcore treads the same scandalous ground so many djent bands have faced the past few years, characteristic of a guitar tone by association with certain types of gear, and plagued by the oversaturation with unoriginal bands. Luckily for The Drip, they grind their axe with such ferocity and conviction it will be impossible to ignore them. An undeniable and promising start from a band who will hopefully carve their own niche. – DW