Cognizance
Upheaval


3.7
great

Review

by Robert Garland STAFF
October 5th, 2021 | 18 replies


Release Date: 09/24/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Worth the strain.

It’s taken me a while to write this review, not because I don’t know what to say, but because I don’t really know how I feel about Cognizance’s sophomore release. The group’s debut, Malignant Dominion had some promise, an album full of direction and purpose—but it lacked a sense of identity, falling (if unintentionally) into the category of genericism. That sounds a lot harsher in print than the warm sentiments I’m trying to portray. You see, while Malignant Dominion shared enough traits with modern death metal’s recent alumni (Vale of Pnath, Virvum or First Fragment for example), the album itself contained some of 2019s better takes on the genre. In many ways Upheaval continues where the debut left off and this time around I’m a little more convinced that this burly, lurching display of musical chops will continue to grow as Cognizance continue to flex their death metal muscle.

Even as I lay down the hefty proclamation above I need to admit that the gravity of Upheaval wasn’t immediate. My initial listens left behind feelings of competency, wrapped in a deluxe package of whirling riffs and burly, low-end death metal. Akin to the Cannibal Corpse type meat-headedness that benefits from a higher sense of technicality. Largely, Upheaval felt safe while unloading huge swathes of technical progression and flowed to the nth degree. That was the crux and it clicked. Flow. Suddenly Cognizance’s debut full-length hit home. The introductory blasting of “Hymns” hit short and sharp, its two minute (plus) run time took a sledgehammer to the walls of my subjective expectation while introducing melody in just enough measure to make a listener start ‘thinking’ about what they’re listening to. By the time the one-two punch of “Drifting (R)evolution” and “Decaying Gods” saunter in, musical cohesion is already well in place. If I can circle back...it’s like Cognizance overstuffed the meat-mincer, but remembered to lace the mix with gold flakes. Not only did the mincer keep up, but Upheaval is a tasty sausage—prime for digestion.

As we enter the album’s mid-section, tracks like “The Mouth Which Cannot Speak” continue to provide dizzying musicianship, centred around the track’s (and album’s) larger use of melodic chops. Not afraid to throw caution to the wind, the song itself features one of the year’s better guitar solos in the genre. Despite the flashiness and the overall flamboyance of that section, it’s not overdone, making way for the continuance of proficient, yet lumbering riffs. Even the two-part, “Syntheticus” has a air of completeness, despite being in such a compact and efficient album. At just over half an hour, its formula isn’t new by any means (here or anywhere else), but I’ll be damned if that isn’t one of the most satisfying selection of riffs and melody to hit the death metal genre this year. “Refuge” continues to provide Cognizance’s wholesome take on modern death metal. As you would expect it bears a similar bearing to its counterpart track, but it’s become more angular, focused and bludgeoning. Cognizance gives brutality its place; front and centre on this summary of modern death metal.

At thirty-three minutes Upheaval may not have the glorified chops of some of the year’s better releases, but fundamentally it’s not that far away. Cognizance’s sophomore album is a racing example of where death metal can take its influences and lurching soundscapes. As a whole, Upheaval has one foot squarely planted in the very real influences of death metal’s forebears while diving head first into the type of music modernism that’s very much in reach for the group with the reach to grasp it.




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user ratings (26)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2021


15262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Buy/ listen/ digest here: https://cognizance.bandcamp.com/album/upheaval



I do like the colour palette of that art.

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2021


16814 Comments


I listened to the first two tracks a couple of weeks ago and found it solid. I have to check properly.

I do like the colour palette of that art [2]

Digging: Cradle of Filth - Existence Is Futile

combustion07
October 5th 2021


9284 Comments


Nice review! Agreed on the artwork. Was browsing the new releases on Apple music and I immediately clicked on it because of how much the cover stood out. I've only jammed it once but I dig it quite a bit.
Also how do you add the Bandcamp box on the bottom? I never knew that you could do that here

Digging: Nefarion - Self Immolation for Daemonic Positioning

Azog
October 5th 2021


595 Comments


I do like the colour palette of that art. [3]

Brings to mind Nile. Not bad at all.

XXMurdaBeatzXX
October 5th 2021


61 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So happy this got a review, fantastic album

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
October 5th 2021


15262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Wouldn’t mind if these guys got a bigger following on Sput, but I anticipate they’ll release one of those “defining” third or fourth release and everyone will be all over them

UniverseCalling
October 6th 2021


26 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really dig this a lot. That first track hooked me pretty fast.

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
October 6th 2021


1582 Comments


That cover is gawjus and your words build an interesting picture of this band. Think I'll start with their firs release and report back in future times

Dedes
October 6th 2021


7908 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This in some ways feels like a more subdued Archspire. By no means lesser, but less flashy and no rap gurgs. The flow off this is wicked and there's so many small moments that are surprising in the best of ways. I.e that ending glitchy bit on The Mouth Which Cannot Speak. Oof.

UniverseCalling
October 6th 2021


26 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I get hints of The Faceless in the more technical riffs, personally. But maybe that’s because The Faceless sound like someone else I just haven’t heard yet.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
October 6th 2021


15262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

--I get hints of The Faceless in the more technical riffs, personally.--



I hear what you're saying, but I'm loathe to this description.

UniverseCalling
October 6th 2021


26 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I figured it might not be a popular thing to say. Think of it as the best aspects of The Faceless.

Azog
October 6th 2021


595 Comments


You just may want to look into Sunless.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
October 7th 2021


15262 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Yeah that album's going to be a bop. Oh wait, it is.

nash1311
October 7th 2021


3173 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Something is missing here but Idk what it is. Like this is good but never wows

Digging: Every Time I Die - Radical

Shadowmire
October 8th 2021


6646 Comments


the english might be a bit clumsy but the only error i see there is "It’s"

cool album art

Madbutcher3
October 8th 2021


2930 Comments


there are some good riffs but it trips over itself with some clumsy random jazz chord parts that aren't particularly well put together

Evok
Contributing Reviewer
October 13th 2021


8519 Comments


Sweet review. Album looks hella promising. Will check.

Digging: Ayesha - Potential Energy



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