Tech Death Thursday: Cognizance and An Age Lost


Two great EP’s that taste great together; today, we’re exploring Cognizance and An Age Lost.

First up, the news:

  • Atmospheric brutal death metallers (because that’s apparently a thing) Mithras have a new album coming out on October 21st. You can check out the track listing and artwork for On Strange Loops right here.
  • Craig Peters of Deeds of Flesh has a new solo project, Destroying the DevoidThe first single is already up, and the full album is out on August 19th.
  • Psalms of Misanthropy, the debut album from A Loathing Requiem, is getting the remix/remaster treatment. Head here for a preview of the new version (out September 2nd) and compare it to the original; it sounds like a pretty substantial upgrade to an already excellent album.
  • Brutal death metal stalwarts Infecting the Swarm have a new album on the way this fall. Check out “Obscuring the Seventh Sun” for some deliciously nasty riffs and look for Abyss on September 9th.
  • Orphalis have graced us with one last track before the release of The Birth of Infinity next Friday. This is shaping up to be an absolute beast of an album, so keep an eye out.
  • You thought we were done with brutal death? Too bad! Carnophage just put out a new song, “At the Backside of Our Civilization,” from their upcoming sophomore album. This one is equal parts brains and brawn, with the crushing brutality you’d expect and some surprisingly smart moments and an excellent solo. Monument releases on September 23rd
  • Every day I don’t hear something from Arsis, I die a little more. Their latest update has given me a shot of life that I desperately needed in the form of a new song. Check out “As Deep As Your Flesh” from an as of yet untitled/undated album. You can catch them on tour this September with Scar SymmetryShattered Sun, and Painted In Exile.

It seems since all the big tech death bands (Obscura, First Fragment, Vale of Pnutella, etc.) have gotten their new music out of the way already, it’s time for the tech death bands to step up. With Cognizance on the verge of dropping a new EP, it’s the perfect time to take a look back at their prior works. Unfortunately, there aren’t a whole lot of them; only six songs across two EP’s. The plus side to this is that there’s no filler whatsoever; this is a band focused on delivering only quality songs, and boy do they deliver.

There’s not much in the way of purely new ideas coming from Cognizance; in fact, their music is very straightforward, barring a couple weird moments in the closing track of Inquisition. While they might only do one thing, they do it very well and keep the experience surprisingly engaging. Each song shares similar structure and progression, sitting at a comfortable 120BPM and standard time, and the band makes the most of the space they work in. One song might be built largely on low-end, diminished, string skipping riffs, and the next is carried on melodic scale runs and a changing triplet- to 16th-note feel. It’s hard to really do it justice in text, but I admire how much the band does within those confines.

The performances are incredibly tight as well, moving as a unit through a gauntlet of blistering guitar work and blast beats. Each member plays off the other, keeping their own parts interesting and distinct while following the others. The vocal patterns aren’t always conventional, the guitars don’t stick to solid tremolo picking or sweeping, and the drums aren’t simply mirroring the guitar the whole time. I also really enjoyed the guitar solos; they’re all memorable and don’t feel interchangeable, a refreshing change of pace from the normalcy of shredding. Most importantly, the music is fun; it’s hard to ask for more than that.

For as much as I listen to ridiculously fast music, I do require the occasional break from the caffeine/cocaine-addled nonsense of the tech death scene at large. It’s times like those when I’m grateful for bands like An Age Lost, a chill progressive death metal unit from somewhere in Colorado. Make no mistake; despite their slower pace, this is still complex music. It’s just presented in a more palatable form than the audio equivalent of slamming ten Red Bulls. There are layers upon layers of instruments floating through a fog of synthesized strings and choirs, moving forward carefully and taking time to choose its path. As such, nobody is lost in the haze; for everything that’s going on, it’s surprisingly easy to keep track of it all. Part of that is due to the excellent mix, but it also shows how well each of the parts complement the others.

This is also one of the prettiest albums to make its way to TDT. Though the middle of “Temple of Solitude” picks up in speed and the first couple minutes of “Visions” are dissonant and tense, the majority of the music is quite calm. It’s easy to sit back, close your eyes, and get lost in the soundscapes. For each heavy moment on the album, there’s another that fosters quiet reflection. It’s quite relaxing in spite of the growled vocals and heavy riffs.

The Path of Solitude is a very somber album both musically and lyrically. The music is expressed in pale shades of green and grey, and no sunlight pierces the veil of thick mist. The lyrics deal largely with death and decay; not exactly uncommon subject matter, but it’s rare to hear a band that genuinely sounds resigned to it. An Age Lost takes you on a journey, but it’s not one that ends with a triumphant return home.

Cognizance and An Age Lost can both be found on Facebook and the Bandcamp links above. All of their music is available for however much you feel it’s worth; show them some support if you can. That’s all for this week, and as always,

Stay Tech

(Images VIA, VIA)

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