It’s rare I get to have the pleasure of reviewing all the releases from an active band.  Cognitive are one such band.  I reviewed their ep, The Horrid Swarm and interviewed guitarist Rob Wharton several years ago.  The band dropped their self-titled debut 2 years ago and I was pleasantly surprised to hear more technical death metal drippings, something they briefly dabbled with on their ep.  Cognitive retained their brutal east coast edge with slams and a killer production at Full Force Studio, in NY.  Enter in Deformity, Cognitive’s Unique Leader Records debut and it’s a continuation of their last album.  30 minutes of unabashed brutality.

Opening with the “Awaken the Miscreation” instrumental, complete with some movie snippets, this instrumental surprised me.  It’s pretty damn intense.  While it slowly drifts off, “Birthing the Deformity” comes blasting through and the Full Force Studio production is in your face.  Jorel Hart’s vocals are ferocious on this recording.  When he goes deep, they tend to sound a little muffled; however he is growling with a lot of pissed off aggression and after all that is how I best love my death metal.  At the 1:49 part there is a nice rumbling heaviness before a cool guitar solo comes in, with some quick blasting, then back into the rumbling heaviness then back to the blast.  Jorel begins his higher register screams, which are cool, not my favorite type of singing, but he has decent range on this album.  Then the tune goes into a killer slam with some fantastic bass guitar slapping away from Ian.

Teeth of the Divine owner, Erik “The Hitman” Thomas happens to really like the song, “Dead Soil”, which at 4.18 is the longest track on this album.  So I figured let me go and review the tune.  The opening with the pinch harmonic squeals are killer.  The rumbling heaviness to the mid-paced opening is killer and Jorel’s growl comes in at the perfect time.  Some fantastic riffing, then erupting into a blast, then back to the rumbling mid-paced, then blast.  The 2.15 moment with the dreamy guitar solo has a little Fallujah influence and this atmospheric part is well done.  Then back to the brutal mid-pacing, equipped with pinch harmonics.  Truly, the way this tune opens, Cognitive needs to make this their live opening track.  People would be swinging all day in the pit.  It really is a perfect live opening song.  Hell, get me in there I’ll start swinging and picking up change at the same time and do a triple lindy somersault, and I’ll do it as I eat a meatball parmigiana sub, with extra cheese and I will not drop the sub!  Oh can you imagine after this as an album opener, they go into “Beneath the Floorboards”??  Oh Heavens to Betsy, no one would be left standing.  It would be beyond destructive!!

Cognitive, are still listed as technical death metal, but they still have not made the leap all the way.  The majority of their music is brutal Tri-State Area slam death metal, with some technical sprinklings, here and there.  The production is loud, powerful; however on some of the faster moments the guitars, while evident, the riffs kinda get jumbled together, tough to make some of the riffs out.  When they are slamming and going for the mid-paced parts the riffs breathe through incredibly well, but not so much with some of the high intensity blasting.  The booklet is multi-paneled, equipped with liners and lyrics.  I love the album cover and Cognitive changed their band logo for this album. The new logo goes perfect with this cover.  I love the use of light on this album, with the dark landscape.  It’s like a warped Thomas Kinkade painting, from a horror movie.

Rob “The Slob” Wharton needs to be proud of his Cognitive offspring.  He puts blood, sweat and tears into the DIY approach with promoting and I’m so very happy for Cognitive to be on Unique Leader Records, they fit perfectly on the roster.  The label has multiple package deals, for every fan out there and go grab a longsleeve-ya bastards!! This is a strong album and there are some surprises on this album.  A little black melody on “Merciless Forest”, really adds some depth to the band.  Overall, despite some minor quibbles, Deformity from start to finish will make you level neighborhoods with atomic leg drops and abdominal stretches all day long.  Buy or Rot in Hell!!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
November 14th, 2016


  1. Commented by: guilliame

    This kicks ass. Like the balance of aggression and Tech. The riffs sound great. Nice review.

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