Tech Death Thursday: Cosmic Atrophy – The Void Engineers

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It’s been a long time coming, but Cosmic Atrophy is finally back! Sit back and get ready for some space monster grooves.

First, a bit of news:

  • Mordant Rapture have a playthrough video up for “Unsightly Beast,” showcasing some mighty instrumental prowess. Be sure to check out the full album if you haven’t gotten to it yet.
  • The Odious Construct also have a new playthrough out of the title track of their newest EP, Shrine of the Obscene. This one is also worth your attention if you like speedy, shreddy tech.
  • If brutal death metal is more your speed, you can check out a full stream of Torturous Inception’s upcoming album over at Metal Injection. It’s a bit brainier than your average slam, but rest assured you’ll still be able to whip out those hammers when it lands on December 7th.

A quick disclaimer before I jump into this one: typically, I like to have a fair amount of time to sit with an album before jumping into a review. I only just got my hands on this one a week ago, so this is largely going to be first impressions. That said, I’m pretty excited for this one, and I want to make people aware of it so we might not have to wait 10 years between albums again. I’m also fairly certain that once you hear what this album has to offer, you’ll be excited for it too.

If you’re not already familiar with Cosmic Atrophy, I highly recommend going back and getting yourself acquainted with Codex Incubo (embedded below). It’s comparable to this year’s Exlimitir album in that it’s Demilich worship at its core, but takes the sound in some novel directions. For its part, Codex both explores the jaunty, groovy side of their Finnish predecessors and pushes a bit more dissonance into the mix. Fans of the outpouring of spacey death metal in recent years will dig the lead guitar work, and some clean vocals and synths add some interesting textures to the mix. It’s a bit on the rough side, but that’s part of its charm, so hop on the train to the X-Zone and treat your ears to what I can only assume is the sort of thing you’d hear at a space squid dance party:

Smash cut to ten years later and we are treated to The Void EngineersCodex Incubo’s chunky, slimy little brother. It’s a sequel in many ways to the former (including lyrically from what I understand) and is generally speaking a pretty substantial upgrade. That keystone of Demilich-inspired riffing is still intact, and it’s presented with much tighter production and performance. There’s more variety in riffs and structure from song to song, ranging from glacial doom to bouncy grooves and staving off any feeling of redundancy.

The long stretch between albums and addition of Phil Tougas on guitars does mean they’ve undergone a slight shift in identity, however. The frantic feeling present throughout Codex has been replaced with an air of menace, due in no small part to the deeper exploration of the lower end of the guitar. Synths and orchestrations are featured much more prominently than they were on the debut, and there’s a bit more of that Timeghoul-ish clean singing present as well. I wouldn’t count these things as marks against the album, though; the leads are substantially better this time around, and the integration of those synth and orchestral bits (as well as the omnipresent clean guitar on “Umbral Altar”) blend together with the rest of the instruments for some truly unique soundscapes. Even if you’re an old fan of the band and find the changes jarring, you’ll find everything is still appropriately weird on Engineers.

Even based on my limited time with this album, I think it’s fair to say that people are going to be all over it. I can’t imagine it growing stale anytime soon; it’s dense enough that I know there are things I missed on my first couple listens, particularly with the monstrous two closing tracks. It lands right in that sweet spot between tech death and weird old school Finnish death metal, so if you’re a fan of either, you’ll want this one on your radar.

The Void Engineers drops tomorrow, November 30th, and you can pick it up at… Bandcamp, I assume? I’m actually not a hundred percent sure, so keep your eyes on Cosmic Atrophy’s Facebook page for some solid details and hype yourself up on those singles.


Is your band tech as heck? Got a juicy piece of news or an upcoming release to watch? Send it my way at techdeathtovh@gmail.com and I’ll check it out. I might even talk about it.

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