The Perennial Struggle

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Several months ago, Lacerated Enemy Records sent me the Inquisition EP from UK brutal tech-death metal band, Cognizance. I was blown away by the production and song structures. This did not seem to be a band that had only one EP under their belts. Then the band released a two song promo EP and the songs continue along the same lines as on their first EP; brutal riffing, blast beats, guitar solos, pummeling double bass drums and bass twangs to snap your ribs outta your body! If you dig bands like The Faceless, Obscura, Deeds of Flesh, Rings of Saturn then you must check out Cognizance — an up and coming band looking to eventually put out their debut album…

Go and like their Facebook-page, buy CDs and they also have some new merch for sale as well. You might as well go and replace some of those old raggedy ass shirts you keep in your closet and replace them with some brand new shirts sporting the Cognizance logo. So give it up for Alex Baillie, who plays the guitar and does some vocals for the band too!

Alex, please introduce yourself as to what part you play in Cognizance and what gear/equipment do you use?

Hey man! Besides playing guitar for the band, I also write the songs/arrangements, come up with the lyrics and the concepts for them. Then I help engineer some of the sessions, usually I record Henry’s vocal sessions and he has the joy of recording me haha. Although this time around our new bassist Phil has taken on some of the engineering for the pre-production vocals. Me and Henry take it in turns to engineer the bass recording.

I primarily use Ibanez guitars although I’ve just got my hands on a PRS custom 24 so I think that will see some serious action in the studio. Other than that I use a kemper profiling amp, which rules.

So is the band just made up of you and Henry, who sings and then you get session players to fill in the gaps? Is this just a studio project or are there plans to make this a full time act, playing shows etc?

Recently we’ve recruited a full time bass player-Phil Archbold who is probably best known for being the guitarist/Phillion Dollar man in Newcastle symphonic metal band XisForEyes. I’ve previously done work for Romain Goulon who played on our last CD so we usually help each other out with tracks for each of our projects, he isn’t a full time member but certainly helps out a lot and is a great guy to work alongside.

I can’t comment too much on the future lineup as we have some cool things in the works. Although we are aiming to play some shows towards the back end of the year.

What makes a good guitar riff? How exactly are you able to craft such memorable riffs where it does not seem to all run together?

As much as I love riffs they can be a tricky one dude, it really depends on what vibe you’re trying to create or whereabouts in the song the riff is. Usually I start with jamming around with a real simple phrase or pattern then go from there and play about with different timings until I think I’ve got something cool that will work in a song.

Most riffs I end up tweaking a good few times until I’m totally happy with it and then have a solid listen with fresh ears. If I don’t think it flows too well I usually scrap it and build it from the initial idea.

What is the primary goal for the band and how has the reaction been thus far?

To be honest we haven’t really sat down and discussed a primary goal. But I think in essence our primary goal is to keep putting music out there and working up to the odd live performance/tour.

Describe to us the Inquisition CD cover as well as lyrical content and how the production came about?

The Inquisition cover was worked on my Tom Bates, I basically told him the lyrical themes we had then went from there. He seemed to put emphasis on a biblical theme, which doesn’t actually have a great deal of coverage in the lyrics. I try to stay away from the whole slating religion thing, it’s been done a lot before and there isn’t much meaning in it for me.

You have a brand new 2 song promo demo out now. Is this a way to shop for a record contract and are you writing material for a full-length, as we speak? Would you consider putting out the album on Lacerated Enemy Records, who did the EP?

Lacerated Enemy didn’t put out the Inquisition EP, we did it all ourselves and then half a year later LE began distributing a limited edition version. That worked out great for us because it extended the reach for our debut which was a real DIY effort.

The demo was put out for a few reasons, besides just wanting to release some new material. With being a studio project I feel the release strategy needs to be and has to be a little different from regular bands.

I can’t comment on the album but we’re recording new material very soon. All the pre-production was completed a couple of months ago.

The production on the promo is even better than the EP, how did that happen?

Thanks man! Both CD’s have a killer mix and we worked with awesome producers. Sacha Laskow mixed Inquisition and Eyal Levi mixed the demo. Both mixes are quite different but I think the main difference between the final products was the fact that I feel we performed and recorded much more professionally on the demo. Myself and Henry are pretty new to the game so we’re always learning and trying new things so that makes a massive difference to the final product.

I love the songs and Deep Geological Disposal features some killer little bass bomb drops in there-can we expect those parts to continue on future recordings?

Haha, we’ll have to see mate. I’m a sucker for them too but you can’t overuse things like that.

Any new material that you’re writing for an album, are you planning on re-recording the older songs, I mean I think they sound great as they are, but sometimes bands will re-record older songs, due to pressure to get enough tunes on a full length?

There’s a good chance we might re-record one or two older songs when it comes to the album. It depends on how much material we have and how necessary we think it is to re-record them. Although if people want it, then we’ll do it!

So what is like to grow up in the United Kingdom and being in Leeds, do you go to a lot of shows and show your support for the scene?

Leeds is pretty cool, although Henry is the only guy who is actually from Leeds. There isn’t that many live shows in the city for the style of music we’re into, as there doesn’t seem to be the fan base for it that there used to be. Last time I went to a metal show in Leeds was Job For A Cowboy and Beneath The Massacre which was downsized to a tiny upstairs venue. Goes to show there is a reason why not many extreme metal bands come here. Although Leeds does have Ghost Fest and Damnation festival which are both incredible metal festivals.

Any final thoughts/comments for our brutal readers?

Thanks for the support and keeping the speed metal alive. Get stoked for our next recording venture, it’s shaping up to be our biggest plan yet. Cognizance gonna run a train on you!



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