Cognizant – Cognizant (2020 Reissue) Review

Fast Rites: because sometimes brevity is fundamental.

Dallas-based death / grind outfit Cognizant sees a CD reissue of their first album here, thanks to the kind souls at Selfmadegod. This fancy little slab of tech-grind majesty was originally self-released to Bandcamp back in 2016, with an initial CD pressing issued by No Why Records following in 2017, so Cognizant has been around for a bit. Nevertheless, Cognizant is a grand grind effort, which is why it’s now making another go-’round, so now that have knowledge of and / or are aware of this album, here’s your third chance to get it.

And why should you get it, you ask? Well, because you like well-crafted skronky death-tinted grindcore, and that’s exactly what Cognizant is. Guitarists Irving Lopez and Alex Moore weave twisted riffs and discordant chords around one another, while grindcore go-to guy Bryan Fajardo (he of PLF, Triage, Gridlink, Noisear, and formerly of Kill The Client and Phobia) blasts away beneath it all. It’s nine songs in sixteen minutes, the longest at just over two minutes, and that one one of the album’s best, the dissonant drone of “Entropy,” angular arpeggios leading to a filthy little tremolo-picked closing riff. Elsewhere, “Ennui” provides nothing of the sort, all bent riffs and broken twisted-metal chord voicings below Kevin Ortega’s guttural growls, while other one-word rippers like “Dichotomy” and “Solipsism” slice and dice at a full-on raging tempo.

Don’t get me wrong: I love a good primitive punky grinding as much as the next guy does, but these types of thinking-man’s blastfests tend to reveal more and more layers with each listen, letting those weirdo skronks unpack themselves in your brain after invading your earholes…

Third time’s the charm, right? Get it.


With COVID-19 disrupting everyone’s lives, the fine fellows in Cognizant decided to digitally release their split with the Rochester-based bashers in Blurring, the post-Kalibas outfit that features, among others, Erik Burke (Sulaco, Brutal Truth) and Danny Lilker (Brutal Truth, Nuclear Assault, about 25 other bands). Both bands are deserving of your time and attention, and thus, both halves of the split are killer. Cognizant brings more of the same technical stylings to their four songs, as well as a slightly stouter production than on their thrice-issued debut, whilst Blurring’s two songs are longer, less clinical and crisp but equally aggressive, dissonant in a slightly different way. Smart-guy grinding is fun, kids.

Get this, too.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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