Cognizance – _Inceptum


The quest for the palatable metalcore album continues.

While doing so is controversial, it makes sense to group all of the metal hybrids which organize themselves as post-hardcore bands did under the metalcore banner. This is because compositionally they are heading in the same direction. That direction involves high contrast stop-start riffing and use of fills instead of connecting riffs together so their contrasts form a narrative, as death metal did.

Cognizance leap into this fray with a new EP, _Inceptum. The cyber-title reflects the mania in metal since ’94 to seem like the next generation, of something. But stepping past this, _Inceptum presents two songs of medium length in the metalcore style. The vocals are open throat and lead the rhythm of the song, which plays off against it jazz-style with the drums and by alternating between percussive rhythmic riffing in the “prog-death” style and sweeps/fills as has been the tendency of metalcore since Necrophagist. Lead guitars take the license they get from jazz fusion in the rock school and break from rhythm, which allows more flexible exploration of related themes.

This exceeds the norm for metalcore. These songs still spend too much energy on being catchy and creating contrast, which reminds me of the 1980s carnival metal they sold as an alternative to speed metal, mixing gothic, hard rock, heavy metal and industrial in these sample platter albums that went nowhere but would distract you with something “new, unique, different” (NUD) every iconoclastic second. The tendency of vocals in metalcore to blurt out a repeated rhythm is offensive not on an aesthetic level but a musical one, as it forces the rest of instrumentation to discoordinate. That was sort of new when Napalm Death did it… twenty-five years later, it plays out as contrived. Where this band shines however is in their ability to tie together songs with a central harmonic theme and thus despite the wide range of technique, still use the craft of songwriting to guide listeners through a musical experience more than an aesthetic one. Lead guitars are far above average and make the best use of their flexible style, although sometimes the melodies and patterns that emerge could be the basis of additional songs in their own right.

As they saying goes, with metalcore “you either do or you do not,” and many of us firmly underline the do not option because we prefer death metal for its greater expressiveness. Among the post-metal hybrids however Cognizance provides one of the better options by keeping musicality at the center of their songwriting and refusing to allow it to be swallowed up by instrumentalism, pushing back against the most wanky aspects of the metalcore genre. Musical performances show competence extended to the point of some comfort with the performance, which allows this band to relax a bit and write some songs instead of spending too much time using Visio to script their riff transitions. While _Inceptum shows us only two songs, it reveals a positive side of this band that may offer new breath for the flagging metalcore genre.


  1. The Succession of Flesh
  2. Aeon of Creation

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16 thoughts on “Cognizance – _Inceptum

  1. Celtic Frosted Flakes says:

    Who cares about metalcore man?

    1. Richard Head says:

      Isn’t Metalcore Man the new addition to the Justice League? I think he’s a pretty cool guy.

      1. Celtic Frosted Flakes says:

        Really? I thought it was Gender-Neutral Politically Correct Person… (thoroughly dislikable if you ask me)

  2. Shit 666 says:

    The first post in several where the band is at least listenable. A better option would be Dreams Of Death and Dismay by Anata. Closer to 90’s death metal (Morbid Angel meets At The Gates) but with the variety show-off songwriting of a band like this.

    1. fenrir says:

      Anata really sucks. They’re incredibly overrated. They were the first (in metal) to attempt certain things and that’s earned them a lot of praise but they were never very good at what they were praised for (a little polyphonic riffing).

      1. Shit 666 says:

        I don’t think they were the first to attempt anything in particular. The album I mentioned is merely a better metalcore option than these Unique Leader style bands, Opeth, or Behemoth.

        1. The best way to be killed by wild animals is…

  3. 1349 says:

    Female music. It doesn’t know where it wants to go and it isn’t sure if it’s sure about what it’s trying to mumble.
    Someone would say this is “progressive”, but it’s rather an uncontrolled stream of (a pacifist’s) consciousness put into music. No will or vir. I’ll better stick to the stupid Impaled Nazarene ’98.

  4. ralfe says:

    Guys, if you’re open-minded enough for post-hardcore, I’d recommend the earliest stuff, before it hybridized with metal. Back when the word actually described hardcore punk bands organically evolving their tradition. Husker Du, Scratch Acid, Big Black, Rapeman, The Jesus Lizard. etc.

    All pure gold.

    This modern metalcore stuff, it’s coal and you’re scraping it for gold particles.

    1. Metalcore may even be coal before any process of compression has started (e.g. raw organic matter of some sort…).

    2. BB says:

      Jesus Lizard & Rapeman are great indeed. Big Black is a bit overrated I think. Don’t know much about Husker Du or Scratch Acid.

      1. Richard Head says:

        You are really missing out on Husker Du. I agree with you regarding Big Black but, seriously, how could you not know much about Husker Du? Just start with Zen Arcade like everyone else and then check out whatever sounds good from there.

  5. Richard Head says:

    Yep this sucks. Somehow even worse than the Decimation track posted a few reviews back. It is Malmsteemcore. All those random sweeps and spastic arpeggios do nothing but distract you from the fact that the guitars are not playing anything but nonsensical patterns at high speed.

    Listening to this kind of wank is like sitting down to watch a Moto GP race, but instead of accelerating forward in the same direction and moving into the first corner, all the riders just started spinning burnouts and doing wheelies back and forth up the main stretch.

    1. Imposition says:

      “…like sitting down to watch a Moto GP race, but instead of accelerating forward in the same direction and moving into the first corner, all the riders just started spinning burnouts and doing wheelies back and forth up the main stretch.”

      Spot on! This evokes a good visual representation of metalcore!

      However, this band is much better than average.

      Still, I hate the aesthetics. Absolutely no mythology. The band members come of looking ridiculous. It’s like a white, middle class, goofy version of the posturing inherent in gasta rap.

      1. Richard Head says:

        I agree that Cognizance is “better than average” but that’s not saying much. Take my illustration again; a Moto GP pilot is the best in the world but you go to a race to watch him be the best racer in the world, not to watch him show off skills that are unrelated to racing (the musical analogue being sweep-picked arpeggios and senseless rapidity for the sake of maximum notes-per-minute). See my comments on the article about the Decimation demo for more in-depth descriptions of why technically proficient musicians make sucky music.

        By the way, when new music? I still listen to Memento Mori every once in a while. It’s up there in plays quite behind Sacramentum and Emperor, but up there, no less.

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