I’ve enjoyed following Cognitive’s career, from 2016’s Deformity, through 2018’s Matricide, to their newest album Malevolent Thoughts of a Hastened Extinction, which brings 41 minutes of roaring modern technical death metal to our weary ears. Does it wake us from our lethargy and fire us up with the spirit of death metal’s aggressive energy?
Cognitive’s modern technical death metal brew takes in a few different elements, including touches of deathcore and slam, and influences from both melodic and classic death metal. This is then all distilled down into a serrated modern delivery that the band have been refining right up to this point. Malevolent Thoughts of a Hastened Extinction is the band’s apex so far, and it’s a monstrous collection of tracks.
One of the reasons I like Cognitive so much is that they never let their technicality get in the way of a good tune. They know how to write songs, and on this latest album they’ve pulled out all the stops it seems; Malevolent Thoughts of a Hastened Extinction boasts more variety and dynamic range than ever before. Killer riffs, crushing groove, and melodic aggression swarm the album, and each track has something brutally sharp or some form of jagged hook to recommend itself and draw you back to it. Overall the album bristles with weaponised snares and spikes, all designed to catch the listener and hold them fast. This album won’t let you go until it draws blood.
The delivery from all of the band members is tight, professional, and clearly passionate. I must note the singer in particular though, as his performance is on fire. His voice ranges widely through all manner of screams, growls, grunts, and pig squeals, and he sounds great while he does this. I also really like many of the guitar solos that we’re treated to across the songs. In truth though everything here is of such high quality that it’s hard to pick out highlights, although I will mention Destitute, a song which shows off a few different, newer sides to Cognitive, and potentially offers a glimpse into how they could further broaden their already impressive sound in the future.
Modern death metal rarely sounds as convincing as this. If you’re a fan of modern aggression, then you need to spend some time with Malevolent Thoughts of a Hastened Extinction.
Very highly recommended.