Mare Cognitum

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The Sea Which Has Become Known (2011), 5/10
An Extraconscious Lucidity (2012), 5.5/10
Phobos Monolith (2014), 6.5/10
Luminiferous Aether (2016), 7/10
Solar Paroxysm (2021), 6/10

Mare Cognitum, the one-man project of Los Angeles' multi-instrumentalist Jacob Buczarski, concocted sentimental black metal a` la Blut Aus Nord on The Sea Which Has Become Known (2011) and An Extraconscious Lucidity (2012), particularly the latter's Collapse Into Essence. It wasn't until the four suites of Phobos Monolith (2014) that an original style emerged, although it was a style that Darkspace had pioneered ten years earlier. Mare Cognitum, however, was obsessed with cosmic themes, a sort of Sun Ra or Tangerine Dream of black metal. The music also stands apart for how intricate, multi-layered and elegant the fnal product is. Stately melodies are nested in carefully architected layouts. Weaving the Thread of Transcendence (13:04) is more austere composition, with calculated transitions of mood and style. The more spontaneous Entropic Hallucinations (8:12) bridges death-metal and romantic yearning with terrifying rapture. Noumenon (13:07) is much more conventional midtempo pop-metal disguised as black metal, and the super-heavy sections of Ephemeral Eternities (15:16) with cavernous vocals feels childish compared with the first two pieces.

Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum collaborated on Sol (2013), which contains Mare Cognirum's 29-minute Sol Ouroboros.

Luminiferous Aether (2016) leverages the vast sound that the man can produce. His space-themed black metal is not so much "black" as multi-colored, and the feeling is more symphonic than ever. Notably, the angst-filled tension that rises from the torrential drumming of Occultated Temporal Dimensions (11:23) and the almost ebullient and almost festive romp of The First Point Of Aries (9:23) can be understood as black metal's take on orchestral music (without the actual orchestra). The plodding and martial Heliacal Rising (8:50) feels like a requiem and keeps little of the genre's cliches. Additionally, he is capable of crafting a relatively melodic fantasia like Constellation Hipparchia (12:29), the latter with a spectacular shift of tempo after two minutes. The album ends with Aether Wind (8:25), another sweeping aria disguised as black-metal onslaught.

Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum collaborated again on the two-hour triple-album Wanderers - Astrology of the Nine (2020), a concept album about the nine planets of the Solar System, basically the black-metal equivalent of Gustav Holst's "The Planets". Mare Cognitum contributed the standout, Venus (The Priestess).

Solar Paroxysm (2021) excels at both extremes, with the relatively melodic Antaresian (11:16) and at the same time with the dense and ferocious Ataraxia Tunnels (12:30), but also seems to embrace prog-rock in Terra Requiem (10:34). The musicianship in Luminous Accretion (10:50) and Frozen Star Divinization (10:58) is of very high caliber. The only drawback is that much of the album feels like routine, although very classy routine.

(Copyright © 2024 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )