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Vulvodynia - Cognizant Castigation album reviews


Up until maybe this year or so, I really hadn't listened to much Vulvodynia. Sure, I had seen people wearing their shirts at concerts and overall people seemed to really enjoy them. But for whatever reason, I just didn't think much of it. Then I actually heard this album and let me tell you, it's insane. Vulvodynia is a death metal band from South Africa of all places, and fit firmly within the "slamming" brutal death metal genre with traces of deathcore here and there. They take their name from a condition of the vagina which causes extreme pain with no identifiable cause. Pretty gnarly, eh? Lately, I have been on a huge death metal kick again, including the more brutal "slam" style and deathcore. So I think it is about time I reviewed the first album from one of the genre's possibly most important up-and-coming bands, Vulvodynia. This is "Cognizant Castigation", and it's going to impale your anus with a literal school bus full of decapitated special education children.

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Beginning with an atmospheric clean intro that is "Molecular Reconstruction", the album quickly kicks it into gear with "The Oppressor Unseen". This is pretty much what the album stands for. Disgusting, brutal death metal with a really good production and a knack for destroying everything in its path. The guitars on this thing don't have much variation in them but with slam, this really comes as no surprise. There are some killer, crushing breakdowns along with the slams that work extremely well with the album's overall songwriting formula. This isn't a technical band such as Suffocation or Dying Fetus so don't expect to hear anything too crazy in that department. It's not trying to wank around too much, and that's totally fine! The guitars feature more groove and, as previously mentioned, slams than any of the more technical brutal death metal bands. In fact, the only real guitar solo on the album is a short number at the very end of "High Frequency Active Auroral Research Engine [H.A.A.R.P]".

In the vocal department, this thing is a monster as well. Duncan Bentley doesn't do anything too out of the ordinary, with this album featuring a mix of low guttural growls, some high screaming, and the occasional pig squeal here and there. Either way, his performance is tight and focused, making for a very effective album. There are guest vocalists featured on this album as well with vocal segments also handled by Jason Evans (Ingested), Luke Griffin (Acrania), Anthony Davis (Swine Overlord), Aiden Zhang (Maggot Colony), and Alexander Eastman (Malodorous). Vulvodynia regularly enlists guest vocalists on their records, with every album to date featuring a great selection of borrowed talent. These vocalists all sound great as well, just as they would in their respective bands.

So, about the production I mentioned earlier, it's really great. The drums are probably my favorite element about the album. There is something about that snare tone that just pumps me every time. It's just...well...disgusting. Vile. Nasty. Gross. All in a good way. It's a bit tinny but doesn't give off the trash can sound either, so it's basically the best sound for the atmosphere the album creates. The drumming itself isn't too different than what other bands in this genre do but here, for some reason, due to the production of the instrument and that nasty snare, it really sticks out.

Vulvodynia has become the most-played death metal band in my library as of late and with good reason. The music really does live up to the hype it receives in the underground scene. This album so far remains their strongest, but I'm always looking forward to what this band will do in the future. South Africa's death metal masterminds.

Last edited by ketstaco (2017-11-24 21:02:55)


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