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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  • Lacertilian

    Glad I didn’t buy that A Loathing Requiem last year now, might pick up this remaster. That release was one of the few tech albums I came back to multiple times during the year.
    Thanks Spear!

    • Spear

      Mr. Pugh is really good at that whole musicking real fast thing.

  • I see Mike Hamilton is finally done with Deeds of Flesh. Guess it was getting too techy for his taste. I don’t blame him. He’s been ripping it well with Exhumed any ways.

    • From Mike:
      “The time has come for me to step down as the drummer of Deeds of Flesh. I’m So Very proud of my career with DOF and I am honored to have been a member of such a Great Band that has always been at the forefront of Extreme Metal. I want to first thank Erik Lindmark for always believing in me and pushing me to be the best drummer I could be. I would also like to thank Craig Peters ,Ivan Mungia ,past members of DOF, my Family ,Friends and all the Fans that have supported me and DOF over the years. This was a personal decision and by no means an easy one. I wish DOF all the Best in their future endeavors!

      • Now they have Darren Cesca. You know, that guy with the ridiculously giant drum kit. Dumb…

        • I feel like that has to be more of a pain in the ass than it’s worth, transporting and setting up and tearing down that shit all the time. Fuuuuuck that.

        • Dave Vincent’s Perm

          I’ve seen a guy in a music shop playing Sarcofago’s Nightmare on a standard kit with one pedal, so what’s the point of having something ridiculous like that?

          • That’s rad.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            1 foot blast Supremacy

          • Howard Dean

            I always think of Chris Reifert from Autopsy when I think of primitive death metal drumming. I’m not even sure if he’s a one foot guy and I know next to nothing about drumming, but it sure sounds that way to me. No frills. Just beats you over the head. Also: That guitar tone >>>>>


          • Oh yeah, most all of the early shit was one footed blasts (Not counting bomb blasts). I’m talking traditional blast beats in vein of Mick-Goddamn-Harris. It took some time before drummers learned how to be lazy, Lol. Like you say as well, you can tell when it’s one footed. The kick sounds so much more powerful and dense. Two footed blasts can come off as uneven and soft. The oldschool days were the best because of this style of drumming. There were not tricks, it’s was all balls to the wall power and aggression!!! That’s why the glory days will forever be my favorite and why I love bands that worship the oldschool ways now.

          • Howard Dean

            It’s amazing that he can play live doing vocals AND beating the shit out of a drum kit like that. That’s got to be exceptionally difficult. Props to dudes like Reifert and Proscriptor who can do it.

          • No doubt man, that’s why I love the fuck out of MACHETAZO! Dude crushes on the drums (One foots the blasts) and does death metal vocals over top. Incredible!!!


          • Howard Dean

            Goddamn. I’m out of breath just watching him!

      • Scrimm

        Mike’s a nice dude. They didn’t waste much time finding a replacement

        • Yeah, he seems like a really soft spoken guy. I’ve seen a few interviews with him. Dude is a beast of a blaster!!! I never saw him as much of a tech-death fan so this departure is really no surprise to me.

          • Scrimm

            Yeah, wonder if the lack of live work was a factor too.

          • Good point, he has been relentless with his touring with Exhumed in the past. I think he likes to be busy/active. Deeds is far from that, Haha!

          • Scrimm

            When I first saw him with Exhumed he hinted that was bugging him.

          • Ah ha, there you have it.

      • Howard Dean

        My fav DoF is the debut EP, Gradually Melted. 14 minutes of delightful brutality. They were still more technical than a lot of peers, but they were a lot more straightforward and brutal–even bringing the slam in places. Byah!

        • Hell yes dude! This was some filthy Deeds right here. I need to pick this one up eventually. If I can find it of course. This band was once really great, I even enjoyed their later shit too. The more hyper blasting shit like Reduced To Ashes. It just became too techy for me though.

          • Howard Dean

            Pretty much my exact feelings on Deeds of Flesh.

            It looks like discogs has a bunch of the Gradually Melted CDs floating around, both the original 1995 Wild Rags press (for $33) and lots of the repressed/rereleased CDs from a few years ago.

            There’s also quite a spectrum of distros that have it stocked for a HUGE range of prices ($152? Really, Amazon?!)

          • Amazon can be really strange when it comes to prices for obscure metal releases.

        • Xinen

          Jesus what did I miss. I have their cd’s from PotW and up, but this is awesome. The production is pretty damn good. I’d prefer more upfront guitars but that’s just me. I love the slammy moments. I’m seriously going to get on those older albums and this ep.

          • Howard Dean

            Yeah, I love that there are slams in this. Glad you enjoy it!

  • Scrimm

    Wondered if Carnophage was ever going to put anything else out.

  • Ouuuuh, yeah. An Age Lost is a gooder to me with those proggy melodies. Thanks, Spearrow, for your commitment and killer weekly recommendations.

    That new Arsis sounds nice.

    • RustyShackleford

      As someone who only plays guitar and is totally clueless about what the fuck drummers are doing, I dig a good playthrough video like that!

  • Eliza

    The two bands featured here have really different styles, but are both very good in their own right. I like An Age Lost more, though not a lot more. Also, that Carnophage song is great.

  • *girds loins for new Mithras*

  • RustyShackleford

    There is a disturbing LACK of purple in the album art here today! Half kidding, but I do feel that Cognizance cover would be better if they’re logo wasn’t in yellow, kinda throws me off. Both good jams though! An Age Lost is really up my alley this morning. Very melodic, but definitely still heavy. Downloaded. Yep!

  • Howard Dean

    So I’ve got to say I’m pretty excited for the new Mithras album. Been way too long coming for those blokes. That being said, the weird grainy Möbius strip cover art leaves a lot to be desired. Poopy. I will still blast Forever Advancing… Legions today in honor!

    P.S. The dickcrusher at 0:25 in the below track is legit.

  • I’m actually surprised cognizance hasn’t released a full album yet.

    • Spear

      It’s just a studio project and all the members are in other bands, so they don’t seem to be in a rush to do so.

  • RJA

    Atmospheric brutal death metallers (because that’s apparently a thing) – It’s crazy that you wrote this, I just came across this album the other day labeled the same – look at this fucking band name!

    • Spear

      Ugh. It takes longer to read their name than it does to listen to one of their songs.

    • Eliza

      I wonder what the process of coming up with that name was.

  • Also this Cognizance is pretty damned good for being “just” techy death. Reminds me a bit of later Monstrosity.

  • Glad to see ALR’s album getting remade. The production on that one always turned me off.

  • Abradolf Lincler

    this An Age Lost be aight

  • Is Disqus being a poop for anyone else? For the past few days it’s been really shitty.

    • Dubbbz


  • Waynecro

    Dude, Destroying the Devoid sounds killer! A LOATHING REQUIEM!!! I can’t wait to blast the Orphalis and Carnophage albums in the gym, that new Arsis song rips, and Cognizance is pretty bad ass. I can totally dig the somber jams of An Age Lost. Thanks for yet another swell Tech Death Thursday, Spear!