Shards of Humanity – Cold Logic Review

There may not be any band out there that all the Angry Metal Guy staff like. I suppose that’s not surprising once you consider how many writers we have and the heathenous poseurdom among those whose prose is not currently caressing your fovea. Consensus is a tall order for this crew, the kind you only get when work is paying for it. If we really got our shit together to pick a favorite, we performed the kind of rigorous internal study necessary – laproscope and all – it would trigger years of bloody sectarian violence. In the end, even if Iron Maiden emerged atop the highest pedestal, Death would command the most zealous supporters. Since our website is the sole source of metal criticism available, I am forced assume our views are universal. Death-worship bands like Shards of Humanity confirm this.

In their first mass, the Memphis death-thrash adherents laid offerings of shred and shriek at the altar of mid-career Schuldiner; Cold Logic is not a reformation of their creed but an expansion of the pantheon. Converts are welcomed to this sect in a bacchanal of blast beats and bellows. Shards of Humanity reach further into thrash and deliver ever more intricate musical tribute. Testament and Megadeth riffs bounce off each other and fretboard-melting licks ascend to please the all-Marty. “Demonic Crystallized Intelligence” burns an extended solo to the Halen above, that Prometheus of shred. “Moths of Zeta” swirl around the embers, sputtering and shrieking as the great Hanneman saw fit. In Shards of Humanity’s service, the choir are the only preachers, and every prayer is a psalm.

With the power of the divine coursing through them, Shards of Humanity rarely misstep. The album is always centered on Todd Cochran and Larry Mercado’s raucous guitar work; the duo’s riffs embody the incessant technicality of Mekong Delta and their solos are eclectic, electrifying, and beautifully recorded. Cold Logic feels like nothing of the sort; a live, burning hot, and unpredictable force. Every lead on this album growls and shrieks into existence like an exorcised spirit. There’s little to complain of moment-to-moment, but Cold Logic’s relentless pace can be excessive. Too many rapid-fire riffs and cascading solos in a row smear together the mid-album cuts “Cold Logic” and “Breathing Raw in the Blood of Pigs,” and after the insanity of “Demonic Crystallized Intelligence,” “Mechanical Phosphene” makes for a somewhat weak denouement.

Yet once inducted to the faith, devotees of death-thrash will be overcome by Cold Logic. Shards of Humanity’s faith is pure and their sermons powerful; who are we to resist the will of the divine? Even in its imperfections Cold Logic is charming. No bass? No problem, I suppose – without a DiGiorgio to challenge the six-stringers, mixing out the low-end is par for the course. There are things I would change about Cold Logic; Gods I might add to its pantheon, verses I might remove from the holy text. But while the record lasts, I would rather fall in with its effervescent ancestor worship.

After six years of intense study Shards of Humanity have returned to conduct the next mass of their Death cult, and it’s just as powerful as the first. Fractured Frequencies and Cold Logic are a brilliant, if slow, start for the band and I can only hope they deliver again sooner rather than later. Their music may be a throwback, but it’s a sincere and skilled one that recalls the best of the death-thrash of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. And while we can’t resurrect that dead era, we can at least pay it our respects. So let us end with a prayer of thanks:

“Our fathers, who art in Florida, hallowed by thy names…1

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Unspeakable Axe Records
Websites: | of humanity
Releases Worldwide: April 13th, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. Thy kingdom come, by guitar and drum, for us, as it is for Satan.
    Forgive us our poseurdom, as we forgive it in those who are poseurs.
    And lead us not into the triple album, but deliver us to evil.

    Praise Jørn

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