Following their 2019 debut album, Cognizance return with their sophomore album Upheaval. They have harnessed the disruption of 2020 and channelled the excoriating energy into the 10 tracks that comprise Upheaval. The title reflects the band’s response to not only the impact of the pandemic, but also the societal shifts and humanitarian disasters that preceded it.
Since the release of Malignant Dominion, Cognizance have welcomed a second guitarist – Apostolis “Yage” Karydis – solidifying their lineup as a five piece. Upheaval will be released via Prosthetic Records on September 24th, 2021.
How do you top the near perfect technical death metal album that was Malignant Dominion? If you’re Cognizance you just make another one. Albeit one that also shows just how they’ve grown over the past two years.
Upheaval is another masterpiece of tech-death fury, one that is less rooted in sci-fi but still has moments where that side of things comes into play.
Kicking off with a whirlwind slamming of furious heaviness, Hymns is a short re-introduction to just how heavy Cognizance can be. However, it’s also an introduction to their newer, groove-orientated sound. Fear not though, they’re still playing their instruments as though they’re possessed and they need exorcising. The same goes for the vocals which sound as demonically charged as ever.
A blistering showcase of razor sharp technicality, the guitar solo in Drifting (R)evolution is hectic stuff but the stompy and meaty groove of Decaying Gods is where the neck muscles really come to life. Cognizance proving in the first three songs that they’re even more capable of capturing the tech-death world’s imagination than they were a few years ago.
Oneiric than delivers contemptuous fury and jagged riffs for a hefty brain-busting slab of noise, The Mouth Which Cannot Speak is darker and more focused, almost melodic at times and Forbidden Alchemy provides head-banging chuggy groove with ruthless death metal force.
It’s then back to the world of sci-fi with the two-part track Syntheticus. I – Atrophy and II – Refuge telling a futuristic horror story, driven by undertones of 21st century excessive consumption. Two absolute star making tracks that showcase the best of Cognizance’s past and future.
There’s no drop in quality as Cognizance provide us with two final bangers in the form of Fever Dream and Aeon Sickness. The former showcasing the incredible level of technical death metal proficiency this band has reached. While the latter is a heated showcase of melodic riffing and mentally assaulting bursts of heaviness.
This band are absolutely killing it.
Cognizance – Upheaval Full Track Listing:
2. Drifting (R)evolution
3. Decaying Gods
5. The Mouth Which Cannot Speak
6. Forbidden Alchemy
7. Syntheticus I – Atrophy
8. Syntheticus II – Refuge
9. Fever Dream
10. Aeon Sickness
Cognizance - Upheaval (Prosthetic Records)
The Final Score - 9.5/10