Cognitive is an American technical death metal band. Characterized by their seamless blend of a wide variety of styles into a package that is theirs and theirs alone, they have managed to make themselves a name in a very short period of time through nothing more than sheer hard work and dedication and are poised to finally have all that work carry them to greater heights.
Formed in Jobbstown, New Jersey in 2011 by Scheenier Ramirez (vocals), Rob Wharton and Jake Iannaco (guitars), and Mike Castro (drums), the band initially went without a bassist before finding Pete Ware the following year. Not ones to waste time, they quickly put out the The Horrid Swarm EP in July of 2012 before going on a brief East Coast run. Ware didn't last, however, and was gone by the end of the year. Not ones to let a lack of a bassist hold them back, they soldiered on without him and managed to get Elijah Masiko to fill in for a few shows, but he was never a full-time option. A very short fall 2013 run with Wormed, Infernal Revulsion, and Condemned was next; immediately after this "tour", Ramirez was thrown out. Not long after this tour, the band filled the vocal and bass slots with Jorel Hart and Art Sikora, and the recording process for their full-length debut had officially kicked off. Their self-titled debut was released in April of 2014, and several self-funded tours and one-offs followed. 2015 brought a major shake-up; Iannaco had decided to step down because he wasn't really able to commit, and Sikora (who was also an accomplished guitarist) moved to fill his vacant slot. Ian Bainbridge came along a little later to fill the bass slot, but Sikora didn't last much longer and left by the end of the year. In his place came Harry Lannon, and the band quickly finished up writing their second full-length and recorded it. Not long after recording it, Mike Castro announced in 2017 that he was stepping down, citing a need to focus on his newborn child. After a brief search, Armen Koroghlian (who had previously been a live fill-in) was welcomed in as Castro's replacement, and the band announced that fall that they had signed to Unique Leader Records and would be putting out Deformity (their second full-length) that October. 2017 brought a short Northeastern run with Artificial Brain around the beginning of the year followed by a US tour with Seeker, and while Hart left after the Artificial Brain run (being replaced by Shane Jost), the band is already preparing for a third full-length and additional touring.
- The Horrid Swarm (2012) (EP)
- Cognitive (2014)
- Deformity (2016)
- Matricide (2018)
- Malevolent Thoughts of a Hastened Extinction (2021)
The band contains examples of the following tropes:
- Ascended Extra: Armen Koroghlian, Tyler Capone-Vitale, and AJ Viana.
- Badass Beard: Ian Bainbridge and Armen Koroghlian.
- Bald of Awesome: Rob Wharton and Ian Bainbridge.
- Big Fun: Shane Jost and Ian Bainbridge.
- Butt-Monkey: Rob's tendency to make shortsighted and impulsive posts on social media has made him the butt of many a (friendly) joke.
- Concept Album: Deformity.
- Fan Nickname: "Robnitive" for Rob.
- Filk Song: "Eniac" and "To Feed the Worms".
- Gaia's Vengeance: "Omnicide".
- Genre-Busting: They're not a straight example of technical death metal by any means, but they mix in elements of slam, brutal death, deathcore, and mathcore in a way that keeps them from really fitting in any other subgenre. Individual members have even acknowledged that they are all over the place stylistically and that even they aren't sure how they stay as musically cohesive as they are.
- Lead Bassist: Ian Bainbridge is a Type A.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: The band is notorious for their gigantic and ever-growing cast of live fill-ins due to the work schedules of most of the band; aside from Rob and Tyler, it is likely that at least one member will be a fill-in on a given tour.
- Lyrical Cold Open: "SPIRALING INTO THE VOID!"
- Metal Scream: Ramirez and Hart were both Type 2s who occasionally pulled off Type 3s, while Shane Jost mostly sticks to a Type 1 and a Type 3 but can also pull off Type 2s.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: A hard 10 for their entire career, dipping into a soft 10 on their absolute lightest songs.
- Nice Guy: Rob's general reputation. While he is something of a Butt-Monkey in his circle, few people are known for their commitment to the scene and helping other bands out as much as Rob, and there is a reason why most people in that general sector of the death metal scene will name Rob as one of the most trustworthy people there.
- Part-Time Hero: Harry Lannon, as his day job frequently has him out of town and on distant job sites for weeks at a time, and while he can make tours every now and then with the guarantee that he will not be called away in the middle of the tour, he is primarily a writing and recording member who seldom plays live.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: Shane Jost is absolutely tiny.
- Revolving Door Band: To the point where Rob is the only remaining founder. The turnover is mostly due to members with heavy and inflexible work schedules that do not allow them to be out on the road for more than a couple of weeks at a time, and the live lineup is currently Rob, Tyler, usually (but not always) Shane, and anyone who can make the tour on the other two slots, usually Ansh Goswami and Matt Tillett.
- Special Guest: On the album front, Ray Mazzola (Full Blown Chaos), Mark Kloeppel, Will Smith (Artificial Brain), Don Campan, and Sanjay Kumar (Perihelion, Wormhole, Equipoise) have all done guest spots. On the live front, Elijah Masiko, Darren Liwen (The Kennedy Veil, Dismal), Jon Warfish (Disgorgement), Dylan Potts, Russell Carollo (Hejira), Alex Cohen, AJ Viana (Hath), Alex DeRose (Bog Wraith), Anshuman Goswami (Perihelion, Wormhole), Matt Tillett (Wormhole), Vishnu Reddy (The Summoned), RJ Bunda (Alukah), Sanil Kumar (Wormhole), Tadpole Jones (Anisoptera), and the aforementioned Sanjay Kumar were strictly fill-ins, while Armen Koroghlian, Tyler Capone-Vitale, and AJ Viana were eventually welcomed in as full members.
- Start My Own: Formed by Wharton shortly after he left Waking the Cadaver.
- Technical Death Metal: A less flashy and more aggressive example.
- Wicked Witch: The initial antagonists in Deformity. Unfortunately for the townspeople who killed them, they were essentially avatars of a far worse being, and with the witches dead, things go From Bad to Worse.