COG ”Culling”

Tower of Doom – 2010 – Philippines

Cog may not be the most br00tal band out in the market today, nor are the sextet’s ‘progressive’ inclinations too far out, yet on their sophomore release “Culling” they blend aggression and complexity with such elegance you don’t know what hit you. Originally a band that musically wandered in the frontier of thrash and hardcore, Cog has evolved into a far more colorful creature three years removed from their “Conflagration” debut in 2006. The genre they fit into may forever be in doubt, yet beyond the usual head scratching is a band who’ve woven a tapestry so immense, it will take a good month of listening to the material at hand before the listener can grasp what they’ve accomplished.

Matters begin on a soft note with an unassuming intro that calms the listener before opening track “Dissolve” segues into grinding heaviness. Cog aren’t grind, mind you. It’s just the impression given by the pummeling grooves and percussion they mix with vocalist Yagi Olaguera’s rumbling howls. Furious uptempo thrash takes charge at “Promethean” and the song zips by in what seems like a matter of seconds before the aching twists and hypnotic vocal melodies of “This Means War” commence. By the time the album sounds as if it were a single piece of music divided into a dozen parts, a wonderful interlude spares our ears further damage and it’s here where guitarist and producer Eric Perlas flexes his talent for droning ambience. “The Sky Is Falling” has this unmistakable industrial feel to it and distracts the listener long enough for the rest of the guys in the band to catch their breath.

Unraveling like a story, “Culling” peaks at the three song combo of “The Onus,” “Calliope,” and “I Am the Storm.” By the time “From These Ashes” rolls in the album is on a downward spiral, its climax having erupted in a choir-driven mess that just as easily dies and meanders on the outro “Congeal.” A weird, satisfying release that really doesn’t belong anywhere, whether it’s the odd samples and the inclusion of a saxophone into the band’s repertoire, Cog have buried so many surprises inside their new album. It should be the biggest incentive to check these Filipinos out; they’ve executed a unique work of art and it will take serious concentration to discern its details.


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