Review Summary: With this 2006's overlooked tech-death gem, Anomalous breaks into the scene with authority.
There's room for everything on this 28 minutes piece of music: crazy leads, amazing solos, utterly complex guitar parts, tempo changes, buildups, ambient sections, intensity, and pretty much every thing you would expect (and want) from a tech-death outfit. Cognitive Dissonance
stands out because it leans towards the brutal side while successfully integrating slow, atmospheric sections, creating a sharp contrast without sacrificing the album cohesiveness. It sounds brutal and tasteful at the same time. Adding a Meshuggah touch into the death metal aesthetic, it creates an interesting brutal sound that gives album a strong individuality.
When album is heavy, there's no middle ground. The guitar work is fantastic and there is hardly a weak spot. Guitarist Max Seeman, even for the genre, shows amazing skills shredding through songs at amazing speed, pumping the blood to song's veins with urgency. His leads and riffs are stalwart and imaginative, never denying his influences, rather elaborating on them. The slower, quiet sections experiment with textures and mood, serving both as buildups and transitions between sections or songs, adding dynamics and depth to the music. Max shows musical sensibility in these sections: "Merge" is entirely subtle guitar notes played on top of a dreamy atmosphere for almost four minutes, but never feels like filler.
Songs averaging 6 minutes, they have enough space to develop and flourish, alternating between the industrial-ish sound, death metal and atmospheric sections with ease, less worried about individual parts and shocking value than songwriting and overall excitement. While most technical death (and in general, all technical music) comes out like unnecessary overly complex and boring at times, the guitar dexterity shown on here serves completely the songs, making for an amazing, highly enjoyable listen.
For a two-man band - guitarist Max Seeman and vocalist Tim Hale, with Nate Vennarucci recruited for bass – Anomalous does a notable piece of work. Unfortunately, with programmed drums, a lot of the music organic interaction is sacrificed, but not so much to take anything away from the songs. Also, Anomalous scantily overcome their Meshuggah influences, both vocal and musically, and despite the organic and cohesive musical work, Cognitive Dissonance
does feel incomplete, like just a sampler for an unfinished album.
is a great EP, that unveils a highly talented band, and with a full-length finally on the horizon, it forecasts a bright future. This EP is worth every listen you will give to it, since it will be on repeat.