Alex Cohen is a dynamic and versatile drummer who has toured the globe with artists ranging from legendary death metal acts to pop-rock to avant-garde and improvised music. He is part of the seminal metal bands Pyrexia and Malignancy and was one of the founding members of Pyrrhon, voted NYC’s Best Metal Band in the Village Voice and widely considered one of the most influential acts on the New York underground scene, and he plays double-drums alongside Kenny Grohowski (John Zorn/Secret Chiefs 3) in Imperial Triumphant. Alex has worked and performed with such notable artists as Will Lee, Al Pitrelli, George Porter Jr., Mark O’Connor, Alasdair Frasier, Tony-Winner Lena Hall, Chris Amott (Arch Enemy), Motown legend Melvin Davis, Mac Miller, and others. As an educator and writer, Alex’s written and recorded works are regularly featured in Drumhead (currently the world’s #1 drum magazine) and can be seen alongside articles and tracks by Robby Ameen, Dave Mattacks, Mike Mangini, Jonathan Mover, and Gary Chaffee.
Beginning at age 12, Alex became a prodigious student of drums. He began his studies at the Drummer’s Collective, a well regarded school in New York City. In the coming years, he took lessons with such drumming greats as Dave Weckl, Jonathan Mover, Mike Clark, Billy Drummond, Ari Hoenig, Dafnis Prieto, and Adam Deitch. In addition to these studies, Alex enrolled and graduated with honors from New York University’s Jazz Studies Program, earning a Bachelors of Arts. While attending NYU, Alex continued to work on New York City stages, including venues as varied as CBGB’s, the Blue Note, Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center, Irving Plaza, and numerous clubs and private stages.
Given his knack for demanding percussion technique, combining speed and polyrhythms, Alex became attracted to New York City’s metal scene. During his senior year of high school, Alex embarked on his first local tour with NYC melodic-death metal band Hung, and he played on their first record ‘Progeny,’ with producer Eric Rachel (Symphony X, Dillinger Escape Plan). Alex also played several dates on the Camplified, Warped, and Jagermeister Tours.
In addition to metal, Alex strived for versatility. While at NYU, Alex played alongside Jazz legends such as Joe Lovano, Kenny Werner, and Wayne Krantz. During this time, Alex also began to write the ‘Wear and Tear’ column for Drumhead Magazine, and later, a series of educational duets. His recorded work for Drumhead appeared alongside the likes of Vinnie Colaiuta, Mike Mangini, Mike Clark, and Dave Mattacks. Alex also continued study at the Drummer’s Collective under Jason Gianni, and took lessons with table/drum set master Dan Weiss as well.
After completing his degree at NYU in 2011, Alex moved into session work and has worked/performed with such artists as Will Lee, Al Pitrelli, Mark O’Connor, Chris Amott (Arch Enemy), Tony Award-winning Lena Hall, Colin Marston, Grammy Award-winning engineer Chris Finney, Martin Bisi (Swans, Sonic Youth) George Porter Jr. and others. At the same time, Alex further mastered the technique needed to become a more prominent player on the New York City metal scene. He was a founding member of the now-seminal band Pyrrhon, having released the albums An Excellent Servant… and The Mother of Virtues on Selfmadegod and Relapse Records. Both albums have been hailed as modern classics, and each earned rave reviews from fans and critics alike. Pyrrhon regularly performed alongside such noted metal acts as Tombs, Hate Eternal, KEN Mode, Misery Index, Castevet, Artificial Brain and more. Pyrrhon shows have been mentioned in Time Out New York, The New Yorker, and Pitchfork, with Pyrrhon described as some of the best music the New York scene has to offer. In addition, Pyrrhon was voted ‘Best New York City Metal Band’ in the Village Voice for 2014. In 2015, Alex parted ways with the band, but remains committed to collaboration with his Pyrrhon partners, as they all remain friends.
Alex is the also the regular substitute for Fear Factory drummer Mike Heller, both in legendary Death Metal band Malignancy, and as a teacher of Mike’s students. Alex’s first experience with Malignancy was a Summer 2013 trans-Europe tour playing alongside the likes of Origin, Cephalic Carnage, Suffocation, All Shall Perish, Suicide Silence and others, in front of audiences of thousands. Alex played a second Malignancy tour that took place Winter 2013, opening for Dying Fetus. In addition to his work in Pyrrhon and Malignancy, Alex is also one of the most in-demand metal session drummers in NY, having recorded the critically lauded albums Abominamentum and Abyssal Gods and EP Goliath with Imperial Triumphant, alongside Secret Chiefs 3/John Zorn drummer, best friend, and frequent collaborator Kenny Grohowski. Abyssal Gods was critically lauded, and received a glowing review in The Boston Globe. As of 2015, Alex is also recording the new Pyrexia album on Unique Leader Records.
Most recently, Alex toured Europe and the UK for with six weeks with pop-rock band Late Cambrian (Voted #1 band in Deli Magazine in 2014) as an opening act for Wheatus and MC Frontalot. Alex continues to play with Late Cambrian, and is currently working on the band’s latest album.
In addition to his performance career, Alex teaches on a regular basis in NYC and beyond, where his students have included John Hadfield (YoYo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, Deep Purple). He has also recorded video lessons for Drumhead and Sickdrummer Magazine that have received praise from such luminaries as Ari Hoenig, Jason Bittner, Derek Roddy, John Longstreth, and more. As of 2016, he is now an adjunct faculty member and lecturer for Ithaca College Jazz Studies at their program in NYC.
Alex’s most recent venture has been opening and operating a state-of-the-art recording studio in Pennsylvania known as ‘Solitude Studios’, which is an invitation-only space specializing in providing the highest quality sounds through the best equipment possible. Solitude is the brainchild of Alex and noted sound designer/technician Evan Crown. Crown’s credentials include soundstage and equipment work for greats ranging from The Rolling Stones to Lady Gaga to Beyonce and Prince. Evan continues to work with Alex to produce a rare and unprecedented sound at Solitude, using a combination of vintage and mainline equipment assembled through Evan’s extraordinary catalogue of contacts and music sources.
As of 2017, Alex appears on over 50 records, with an additional 15 slated for release in the coming months. He will be performing multiple dates with cellist Valerie Kuehne (The Super Coda) and violinist Jeff Young (World/Inferno Friendship Society, thingNY) as well as recording a new full-length with the trio at Solitude. Late Cambrian’s new single ‘Dark Heart’ was recently trending on Twitter, and the band is gearing up for a new release as well as a revamped live show. Alex has also rekindled his passion for sketch art, and is now being commissioned for drawings and illustrations by fellow musicians and patrons.