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Review: Cognitive – Cognitive

Review by Andriana.

Cognitive is a New Jersey­ based death metal band. Cognitive is their debut full­ length and was released in 2014. It can be listened to on Spotify, Bandcamp, Reverbnation, and purchased from Big Cartel.

Cognitive is an interesting album because it is mainly a death metal album, but it has grind/slam elements (don’t kill me for bad genre labels). Everything about Cognitive is anger ­fueled: the vocals, guitar riffs, bass lines, solos, and drums. One thing I really liked about the guitar work is that the riffs change up and keep the songs engaging. It can go from slow and heavy to fast and technical in seconds, and it blends together seamlessly. “The Aftermath” is the first song to come to mind; it starts off moderately paced and heavy then the riffs get a bit quicker after a short bridge of sorts. Cognitive features a lot of skilled drumming as well, hitting different cymbals and bass kicks accentuates the visceral guitar, bass, and vocals.

“Regurgitated Existence” is one of the more traditional death metal sounding tracks and alternates between slow and fast sections. The riffs and rhythms on “Regurgitated Existence” generate a somewhat malicious atmosphere by the tremolo picked riffs with supporting down ­tuned chords. “Worlds Beneath” and “Regurgitated Existence” remind me of Ingested at parts by the deep chugs and high pitched bends. “Worlds Beneath” is one of the more versatile songs from Cognitive because it has everything I mentioned about the album as a whole. It has the slow to fast sections, down ­tuned chords, a nice solo, deep vocals, everything. Because of that, “Worlds Beneath” is the song to listen to to get an idea of what Cognitive is all about.

There are also quite beautiful moments on Cognitive. For example, “Willingness of the Weak” starts off with melodic (and almost prog sounding) chord ­and ­note guitar duality. A riff plays behind the sweet solo before transforming into a more evil sound. Before anger takes over, it is lovely. There is also a short interlude after 5 tracks. “Oceanic Erosion” has an acoustic guitar played over a soft thunderstorm. It’s pretty out of place on Cognitive because every other track is filled with rage and anger, then there’s “Oceanic Erosion”: a track one would play during a meditation session. Perhaps I don’t understand the concept much, but it does sound out of place compared to the other tracks. Making an EP with songs like “Oceanic Erosion” would probably be a decent concept EP, but Cognitive is just not the right place for it.

“Fire From the Sky” is one of my favorite songs from Cognitive. It goes right into a fast, heavy riff that leads into a tooth­ grinding song. This is also one of the more evil sounding songs. All of the songs sound angry and evil, but “Fire From the Sky” definitely sounds malicious. The deep, guttural vocals compliment the pummeling double bass and distorted chords.

The production was great on Cognitive: vocals and instruments were presented in a professional fashion. It does not sound like a band’s first release, which is impressive to me. I loved how anger inducing some of the songs were, like “Affliction Humanity.” The brashness of the cymbals, solid rhythms and leads, and killer vocals made Cognitive a pleasurable experience. If “Oceanic Erosion” was taken off of the album, it would be much better for me, but it doesn’t take much away either. The deep bass plucking turned my stomach and made me (in a good way) appreciate how heavy Cognitive can be. If you like death metal I would recommend listening to this, especially if you have spare time.

Rate: 7.5/10

If you do listen: do you agree with my review? Did I leave anything out?

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