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Mare Cognitum – Luminiferous Aether Award winner

Mare Cognitum
Luminiferous Aether
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 20 March 2017, 7:06 AM

MARE COGNITUM is a one man Black Metal band from California, featuring Jacob Buczarski.  This is a similar setup to another one band Black Metal band, SONUS MORTIS; the overall sound is furious and dark but it does step outside the usual constraints of Black Metal. The first track, “Heliacal Rising”, sets the overall tone of this five track album.  The background features an ambient and ominous tone, like the rumble of an oncoming storm that is still miles off.  The foreground features light use of clean guitar, keys, and drums that builds up this storm; it’s almost tranquil in its darkness.  About the 2:08 mark, depressive, almost frightening blackened rasps spill forth from Jacob’s throat.  They are very abrasive but somehow they glide over the ambient music with easy.  Around 3:11, a beautiful, melodic guitar solo cuts in, very reminiscent of something METALLICA might have done during their “Ride The Lighting,” era.

Lightning strikes soon after, with a heavy riff, crushing your ears in.  It isn’t a fast riff but instead an explosive thunder of doom, reminding me a lot of the heavier aspects of MY DYING BRIDE.  The guitars slowly build up, becoming more complicated and melodic as it steam rolls through the ambient textures that are still there and still working well.  Jacob’s guitar work is astounding; he puts a lot of thought into each note, every ounce of sound is used with nothing that could be filler---it all has a place. The next track, “The First Point of Aries,” is more of your typical Black Metal sound, but a thousand times tighter and focused.  It begins with the super-fast guitar picking and some drumming with some INSANE double bass foot work and cymbal crashing.  It seems that Jacob isn’t just a jack of all trades...he is a master of EVERYTHING he plays.  Around the six minute mark, some spooky, ambient keys come in and really give the brutal song some awesome atmospheric touches.  The lead guitar joins soon after with a melodic and fast guitar solo that makes your brain feel like its expanding.  The song slows down towards the end with drums that sound like someone is falling down the stairs...but in rhythm.  The guitars go full melodic, mixing in with the black metal screams, drums…the song ends up being a cocktail of blissful darkness that just sucks you right into its vortex.

I guess you could say the next track, “Constellation Hipparchia,” is the first epic of the album, at over twelve minutes in length.  It indeed takes you to the stars with some more melodic ambient goodness but the song really kicks in some groove reminiscent of SATYRICON.  The best part of a song that is nothing but good parts, is the 9:22 mark when it just goes balls to the wall heavy metal and just rampages out with fast drums that manage to stay intricate, rattling the cage built by the equally impressive guitars.  It transitions from this brutal assault into the end of the song that features the deadly blackened vocals being supported by a slightly more melodic tone. Speaking of transitions, that is the real highlight of this amazing album.  The way Jacob structures and plays the songs is just straight up impressive; even with all the different textures and tones in the album, and the songs themselves, it just feels so natural, so organic even, when things switch up.

Track four, “Occultated Temporal Dimensions,” is one of the best songs I’ve heard this year in extreme metal.  The drumming might have ripped a temporal dimension inside my brain; it’s so fast, so furious, so all over the place that I wouldn’t be surprised if he just went into a room and played everything he could think of for 12 minutes and then wrote the song around that.  Despite the chaos, it never sounds messy or unnecessary—again, it has a place, as does everything on the album.  The riffs, raining down the fire and blast up the fret board, are so intense that it puts most death metal bands to shame. At “just” 8:25 in length, the last track “Aether Wind,” is the shortest on the album but by no means is it not just as epic.  The sense of melody in this song is stunning; it isn’t in your face but it peaks its head around the corner just to show that it’s there, just give you a little glimmer. The song is very fast but just as quickly, it slows down at the end, the riffs cascading away, like a spring rain washing away the dawn of a new day.

This album is a must hear and must purchase.  MARE COGNITUM has created a beast of an album that is Extreme Black Metal throughout but also maintains an ambient and melodic tone that actually adds to the bleakness and brutality, rather than take away.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10


5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Heliacal Rising
2. The First Point of Aries
3. Constellation Hipparchia
4. Occultated Temporal Dimensions
5. Aether Wind
Lineup:
Jacob Buczarski – Vocals, All Instruments
Record Label: I, Voidhanger Records
     


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