These days, the phrase technical death metal is often enough to make me cringe and take hesitation in listening to a band described as such. It's genre often mired with pretentiousness, heartless musicianship, and riffs haphazardly thrown together and called songs. Bands like this are seemingly a dime a dozen. Thankfully, there's always exceptions to this. Cognitive are a pleasantly surprise for an exception.

The Horrid Swarm is the band's debut outing. It's a an evenly balanced mix of brutal death metal with a healthy dose of technicality (not fret board masturbation, touches of Atheist), a helping of classic NYDM (Suffocation, Internal Bleeding), a touch of slam groove (a la Devourment and Dying Fetus), and a pinch of good hardcore/metalcore (face it uppity bastards, it exists and probably influences many bands you like). All of this is done so without blatantly ripping off their influences and it is matched with a heavy and clear production that, unlike most tech death bands, doesn't sound lifeless.

These 5 songs fly by at fast pace. The band is tight, focused, and unrelenting. Pedal to the metal, The Horrid Swarm is a fantastic conglomerate of a vast majority of what I love about heavy music, especially the solos. These are one of my favorite aspects of the EP and I'm stoked to be able to say that as they're tasteful and add great textures to the songs without disjointing them. This is an excellent debut. I do wish it was a bit longer (comes in under 15 minutes), but if it's a tease of what's to come I am quite excited with anticipation. It's refreshing to hear a band within the brutal death community to not allow themselves to be pigeonholed as just brutal death, but also remain true to it's roots. They are currently working on a full length followup. I'm hopeful for them expanding on what they've done here especially the Atheist technicality without losing any of those memorable melodic solos or brutality.