Imbuing of Wrath

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Cognitive is a brutal technical death metal hailing from New Jersey.  I met guitarist, Rob Wharton, through Internal Bleeding guitarist, Chris Pervelis, last year and Rob and I hit it off pretty quickly with our sarcastic sense of humor.  He sent me their ep, The Horrid Swarm and I was an instant fan.  I met up with him on their tour with Wormed, last fall, and was able to talk at length with him, regarding the band and everyday life.  Cognitive put on a blistering set that night and it was awesome to see them crush!  I even picked myself up a shirt, that has some vicious looking demon on it, with sharp teeth, giving a gruesome smile.  Scares the hell outta my kids everytime I wear the shirt.

Cognitive recently released their debut, self titled album, through Pathologically Explicit Recordings.  The album is my pick for tech death metal album of the year, with one of the most lethal and punishing productions I have heard in a long time.  The band having the slamming brutality of many of their Tri-State area brethren, but also technical abilities, similar to The Faceless and Obscura.  With an outstanding album cover to match the album theme and music, this is one of the best of 2014-trust me on that.  Please show your support for this killer up and coming band by picking up their cd, merch, attending a show and keeping in touch with the band.  Read this cool interview I did with Rob recently, so you can get an idea of the inner band workings as well as some other things you need to know about this great band.

Rob, a lot has happened in the last 6-7 months in the Cognitive camp.  First off how was the entire touring experience with Wormed/Condemned and Infernal Revulsion, back in the fall of 2013 and how did it come to be?

That whole tour was amazing.  We had a killer time with every band.  We were excited to tour with Wormed fresh off their Exodromos release, just everything about it was sick. Also, it was cool to have Hideath from Infernal do his guest vocal spot on “Falling Skies” live, (he had appeared on our demo). We were offered the tour by uselesschrist records, they have helped us out a lot, and it was cool to know they thought of us for this tour.

You lost a few members in the process after that, your bassist and vocalist?  Did you think they stunk it up on the tour-what led to their departures and how are the new members working out?

We haven’t had a permanent bassist in a long time, we played that tour bassist less because our fill in couldn’t do the tour. We parted ways with our singer after that just due to personal reasons. Sometimes shit has to happen, we’re not the first band or the last band to go through a line-up change. The new members are nothing short of fantastic and really bring a lot of awesome things to this band, and I think we’ll be more capable now more than ever of taking things to the next level.

You guys have been signed to Pathologically Explicit Recordings, recently, how did that come to be and is it just a 1 album deal?

Yeah just one album for now, 2nd is an option. Fernando had hit us up on facebook, and it was perfect timing to get some help with recording costs and printing. He also did Wormed and Ulcerate, so seemed like a killer chance for us to keep things moving in a positive, productive direction.

Explain to us what went into developing the concept, music and album cover for your new debut album, Cognitive?

I personally felt a ton of pressure, because The Horrid Swarm was so well received this past year, and I wanted to top it, try new things, and keep old elements. I didn’t want to rehash things, but I didn’t want to deviate from our basis as a band either musically. The whole band wanted to just push ourselves harder, and I think we did a good job at it. We’ve got some crazy tricks up our sleeves this year, and I’m curious to see what this year brings us. The artwork by Tony Koehl came out far grander and crazier than expected. The album art was representing this information age we live in, constantly being forced so much information, and everything in today’s society that is made so apparent on TV, our cell phones, the internet, it’s everywhere, and nobody has a choice in it much anymore. Our brains, our “cognitive thinking”, is hardly used any more. Our phones think for us, Microsoft word thinks for us. Our brains are becoming useless.

How do you feel the album compares to your first ep, The Horrid Swarm?

I’d like to think it’s better. Hey at least it’s longer!!!!

The ep had the brutality of the Tri-State area death metal scene, but there were those sprinklings of technicality that bled through nicely.  It seems that you embraced those elements a lot more this time around, with passages during songs, like “The Aftermath” and “Fire From the Sky”-please share your opinions.  Also I noticed some progressive elements in the mix too.

We really wanted to be up front in your face, but still try and bring elements in from some of our favorite bands such as Candiria, Meshuggah, Ion Dissonance, Cynic, Martyr, The Faceless and so on.

So how did everything go recording with Joe Cincotta at his Full Force Studios for the album?  Was your goal to get the most punishing sound from him, because the production on your album is one of the best to come out of that studio, with all the instruments coming through clearly.

We just wanted it to be heavier, but still audible, with our style of riffs plus our down tuning, we need the notes to be there, we’re not always chugging away. There are some hard riffs on this cd, and more tremolo picking on this album then the last for sure. Working with Joe is always a pleasure, I recommend him all the time. Killer guy, good friend, great prices. RECORD THERE!!!

Not just because I know you, but your new album is one of the best technical death metal albums I have ever heard.  I notice some old The Faceless influence, Obscura, Dehumanized, even some Whitechapel-that is due to some of the vocal delivery, but the album is brutal, technical and catchy.  What is your goal with Cognitive and how difficult is it to come up with technical, yet memorable music?  Also you do a lot of promotions for the band and attempting to be a promoter at the same time, how is this all working out for you?

First off , the fact u just  said the compliment baffles me, but I really appreciate the kind words. What you said is the goal of Cognitive, to create technical, heavy but catchy music. Sometimes it’s hard to get a song to be cohesive and fit well, some songs we fire out super quick, and others take months and months to write. This cd I’m really happy with and I can’t wait for the next one. As far as promoting, I’m happy with the steady progress we are making as a band, the ultimate goal for this band is to go as far as we can, we love what we do. We’re adults and don’t expect to be millionaires, but to be able to tour and see the world and pay some bills off of it is the goal, and we are truly trying our hardest to obtain and reach that goal. I do as much as I can for the band, and then on top of it as you mentioned I’m a promoter as well. I handle metal shows, original rock shows and cover bands, you can imagine what my email and facebook inbox looks like, but I love my job, and it’s a fun challenge to pull off.

How many times a week do you guys practice and what do you prefer, jamming, recording or live settings and why?

We jam two times a week. Sometimes three if a huge gig is coming up. Live setting all the way, we all love seeing new faces and familiar faces, anywhere any time. Recording is way to stressful to enjoy hahaha!!

Any summer tours planned and do you guys have a management company to help with promotions and tours and maybe get you overseas?

We have a 6 day tour in May down to South Carolina and back, as well as a 6 day tour in June to Chicago and back. Really excited for them, just hoping we can get some out of country gigs soon. No management companies yet *cough cough emg or pantheon hit us up cough cough*

Are you familiar with another awesome technical death metal band, by the name of Cognizance and what do you think of them?

I had no clue about them, and am going to have to look into that.  Just got served by an old fart hahahaha!

The new album has a very prominent and amazing bass guitar sound, was that a goal for you guys to bring that aspect out more, especially since it does help in death metal to hear that instrument?        

We always want each instrument audible, we tried to make it heard on the ep as well. Glad you liked the sound of it, we didn’t want it buried and not to be heard!!!

 What equipment did you use for the new album to help get that punishing guitar tone, it’s ridiculously heavy?

We just used a vader cab and a peavey triple x, and we’re more than happy with it and the tone!

 Any final comments for our readers?

Keep reading Frank/Teeth of the Divine and all the other webzines, blogs and websites out there!!! Facebook is killing the bands with restricting all of our reaching potential, so keep to outlets like this!!!! And please, continue to go to shows!!!  It means the world to any musician, and it’s the only way any of us bands can continue to make music for everybody to hear!!!! Hope to see you guys at a show, pick up some merch and spread the word about us, tons of exciting things happening this year for us!!!! Thanks again for your time Frank, you’re the man.



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