Review 2059 : Cognizance – Phantazein – English

Nothing seems able to stop Cognizance.

Formed in 2012, the English band begins by releasing three independent EPs before tackling albums, with the support of Prosthetic Records. In 2024, Henry Pryce (vocals), Alex Baillie (guitar/vocals, ex-XisForEyes), David Diepold (drums, Obscura), Chris Binns (bass, ex-XisForEyes) and Paul Yage (guitar) announce the release of Phantazein, their third album, on Willowtip Records.

Ceremonial Vigour kicks off with some already impressive riffs, hinting at both the following complexity and melodiousness. The addition of massive vocal parts only confirms the band’s musical direction, combining mastery with violence over a frantic pace, leading us into dissonance on A Brain Dead Memoir, a track that features some more jerky patterns. Leads seamlessly fit into the aggressive basis, whether with a touch of madness or a more melodic edge, before the band moves on to the heaviness of Chiselled in Stone, a composition that couples blast and double kick to create a strong contrast with the more worked-out passages. Although still violent, these more ethereal moments are seen as breaths of oxygen before the musicians trample us again, just like on the dark Introspection, which develops heavier sounds, but always put at the service of rage. Attention is always paid to the parts’ natural sequencing, which finally give us a little respite with the ominous introduction to Futureless Horizon, quickly followed by the usual surge of fury and as precise as chaotically chiselled riffs. The final slowly fades away, giving way to The Towering Monument, which immediately returns to the path of aggression, with a fast-paced rhythm interspersed with more ethereal parts that occasionally soften the raging eruption. The same appeasement is to be found in the solo, then in Alferov, a strange interlude that leads us to the equally effective and thoughtful Shock Heuristics, which pours out its tormented riffs while letting them clash in raw explosions. The band wastes no time in continuing with Broadcast of The Gods, a new composition in which the five lads combine their efforts to offer us a wave of strength that only stops to be reborn in dissonance, finally giving way to In Verses Unspoken and its spasmodic riffs from which a few airy harmonics emerge at times. The mood darkens in the track’s final moments, before Shadowgraph in turn imposes its half-planar half-wild, but always conscientious touch at an energetic pace to close the album with extreme coherence and even a hint of melancholy.

Cognizance didn’t want to choose between Melodic and Progressive Death, creating a sound that perfectly marries the two worlds. Phantazein is a massive well-crafted album that will delight fans of both musical complexity and heavy sounds!


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