Cog - Culling (Tower of Doom)

This is the kind of album you’ll keep coming back to. It is immense.

The six guys in Cog are loathe to call themselves progressive or even technical, but words truly fail Culling; it’s the kind of oddball release people will be lopping into one genre or another without ever reaching a common consensus. But heed these words curious reader: Cog may be hard to pigeonhole, but they sure aren’t weird (as in Slough Feg weird). Nuh uh.

All the ingredients in this mammoth (it clocks in at an hour plus) sophomore album are familiar ones. You can’t miss the thrash vein running through most of the songs, even the deep growls and alternating croons, much less the supreme saxophone playing by Garon Honasan, which the band utilises like a third guitar to accentuate the melody. It’s a great sweetener to an already tasteful, if excessive, aural dish.

The torrent of music arrives in a trickle at Dissolve’s gentle start then gets expectably heavy and slow before the bare-knuckle thrash boils on Promethean. The band pull a 180 for Illumination where the holler-some Yagi Olaguera does these catchy clean vocal lines interspersed among his rougher growls. This Means War proves quite cacophonous and distracted ears may be surprised to catch the subtle saxophone notes winding itself around the churning melody.

The musical bombardment, beautiful as it is, keeps hammering away until the guns fall silent for the industrial tinged impasse The Sky Is Falling. Heaps of lyrical drama and fancy noodles bury the listener until Cog ease the album’s pace for the emotionally charged Calliope. At this point in the album you’re either weary of the sextet’s musical meandering and might decide to just cull the experience…or might as well stick to the very end for the massive climax From These Ashes where choir like backing vocals lend an epic dimension to the heavy metal maelstrom swirling at the cusp of nothingness. (Man, this sounds really pretentious.) By the time the dust has settled and everything’s been burnt to a cinder, Congeal comes crawling toward a suitable finish.

Like this scribe mentioned, Culling is immense. Even with the production so crisp it will take repeated listens to unravel the many layers this album is built upon. Holy shit.

Culling is out now on Tower of Doom