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Cognizance – Malignant Domain Award winner

Malignant Domain
by Liam Easley at 12 August 2019, 4:06 PM

After releasing plenty of EPs and singles since 2012, COGNIZANCE finally unleashes its debut full-length, “Malignant Domain”. This record is an exercise in technicality and melody, and at just half an hour, there’s a lot to take in in such short time. It was exciting to see the single, “Strychnine Shift”, drop, and I actually pre-ordered the album shortly after I listened to the single.

My first impressions on the single were extremely positive. In fact, I might even call the track one of 2019’s best songs so far. The melodies were unpredictable and the chemistry between the melody and the flow of the song gave it a soaring feeling. The format of the song is fast and rhythmic, and the lyrical structure fits just right. What made the song even better was its location on the album: right in the center, the climax of the record.

Now that I’m hearing the full album, “Strychnine Shift” does seem to be the climax of the record, and the falling action is just as astounding. The second half of the album has more intense riffing, and the melodies are much deeper, at least that’s how I found it. Within this short album there is presented complex songwriting. “A Lesson Through Sickness” includes a nice atmospheric section midway through that is hinted at during riffs that came before it. The section then boils down so that it perfectly transitions into the next verse. This is just one example of the great songwriting exhibited on this record.

Malignant Domain” is also notable for its songwriting, showing yet another atmospheric break that descends into a verse of clean vocals. This section is reminiscent of THE ZENITH PASSAGE at their more atmospheric moments. Each track possesses its own sound, each difference becoming a new and exciting composition. Because of this, the album flows by with plenty of personality and without a dull moment. The structure of the album is very nicely laid out. I want to say that the better tracks are focused near the end, but then I think of all of the great things I heard in the first half, and it becomes clear that each track is just placed exactly where it needs to be in order to carry the flow.

From the intensely tight breakdown of “Ether of the Void” to the melodic soloing of literally any track on here, “Malignant Domain” seems to be one of this year’s finest, if not the best, Technical Death Metal releases so far. Make sure you leave time for this one because it sure is a monster.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 7
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Nocturnal Emission
2. A Lesson Through Sickness
3. The Organic Citadel
4. Malignant Domain
5. Strychnine Shift
6. Ether of the Void
7. Unforeseen Consequences
8. An Existential Battle
Henry Pryce – Vocals
Alex Baillie – Guitars
Romain Goulon – Drums
Nathan Marshall – Bass
Record Label: Prosthetic Records


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Edited 09 August 2020

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