MARE COGNITUM

Atmospheric Black Metal • United States
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Mare Cognitum is a one-man atmospheric black metal act from the United States. The sole member is Jacob Buczarski, who started the project in 2011, self-releasing his first album, The Sea Which Has Become Known, the same year.

The second album An Extraconscious Lucidity was released in 2012 in very limited qunatities via Lunar Meadow Records. Mare Cognitum would later sign a deal with I, Voidhanger Records, which saw a remastered edition of the album receive a wider releases in 2015.

In 2013 Mare Cognitum took part in the split release Sol with Greek act and fellow one-man band Spectral Lore. Each artist contributed a track each and collaborated on a third.

The third Mare Cognitum album Phobos Monolith was released in 2014.

In 2016 Mare Cognitum released Resonance: Crimson Void, a split with the artist Aureole and later the fourth full-length album Luminiferous Aether. A limited boxset of the first three albums
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MARE COGNITUM Discography

MARE COGNITUM albums / top albums

MARE COGNITUM The Sea Which Has Become Known album cover 4.17 | 6 ratings
The Sea Which Has Become Known
Atmospheric Black Metal 2011
MARE COGNITUM An Extraconscious Lucidity album cover 4.06 | 8 ratings
An Extraconscious Lucidity
Atmospheric Black Metal 2012
MARE COGNITUM Phobos Monolith album cover 4.74 | 10 ratings
Phobos Monolith
Atmospheric Black Metal 2014
MARE COGNITUM Luminiferous Aether album cover 4.27 | 9 ratings
Luminiferous Aether
Atmospheric Black Metal 2016

MARE COGNITUM EPs & splits

MARE COGNITUM Sol album cover 4.50 | 6 ratings
Sol
Atmospheric Black Metal 2013
MARE COGNITUM Resonance: Crimson Void album cover 4.07 | 5 ratings
Resonance: Crimson Void
Atmospheric Black Metal 2016
MARE COGNITUM Wanderers: Astrology Of The Nine album cover 5.00 | 3 ratings
Wanderers: Astrology Of The Nine
Atmospheric Black Metal 2020

MARE COGNITUM live albums

MARE COGNITUM demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

MARE COGNITUM re-issues & compilations

MARE COGNITUM Cassette Box Set album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Cassette Box Set
Atmospheric Black Metal 2016

MARE COGNITUM singles (0)

MARE COGNITUM movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

MARE COGNITUM Reviews

MARE COGNITUM Wanderers: Astrology Of The Nine

Split · 2020 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine (2020) is a part split and part collaboration album by US solo project Mare Cognitum and Greek solo act Spectral Lore. Both acts belong to the atmospheric black metal genre. Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine is the second release that the two have got together for after Sol (2013), to which Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine can be considered a thematic sequel; with the former being about our Sun, and Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine taking a journey through the planets themselves, openly owing a nod to Gustav Holst's Planets Suite in conception. And yes, the planets do include Pluto, so take that International Astronomical Union. In fact, Pluto gets not one but two tracks to its name here, with both acts collaborating on them.

Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine is a gargantuan release. The pair's prior offering Sol was already a substantial effort – a near seventy minute release spread across just three tracks, but Mare Cognitum and Spectral Lore have really outdone themselves with this one. While no individual track comes close to the 29:10 and 25:53 long beasts that were their individual contributions to Sol respectively, there's a lot more tracks overall. Ten, to be exact. That's four each for each act on their own and the two Pluto tracks working together. It all comes together as a double album that is almost a full two hours long. Even without each other and their collaborations there is more than enough material here apiece for each to have released an individual studio album. Perhaps more than any other split that either has taken part in, including Sol, Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine, really does feel like it could serve as the fifth studio album of each act.

Our journey though the planets isn't told in sequence. We start with Mercury, but then skip to Mars, backtrack to Earth and Venus, before passing the asteroid belt and reaching Jupiter to complete the first disc of the album. Disc two picks up at Saturn, before going ahead to Neptune, back to Uranus and finally to the two part Pluto. Thematically it seems a little odd that they didn't follow the planets in order of distance from Sol, but then Holst didn't follow the traditional order either. I expect this was done for reasons of musical flow, because the order of tracks on the album does present something that feels very natural. I'll have to re-order the album sometime to see how it works by switching the tracks around. The ordering does also mean that the album does not follow a strict baton pass between the two acts, with Mare Cognitum getting two consecutive tracks on disc 1.

The burning question over the release, at least for those who don't make atmospheric black metal or even black metal in general one of their main listening interests, is whether almost two hours is too much for one release even with two artists performing and does it outstay its welcome? After all, it's well known that Mare Cognitum and Spectral Lore are on very close pages with their takes on atmospheric black metal and that's been even more apparent since they first released Sol together. Well, if it was two lesser bands attempting this then the results might be very different. But Mare Cognitum and Spectral Lore both happen to be acts that are among those are the very top of their game in the current scene. Both have released albums of the top tier like Phobos Monolith (2014) and III (2014) respectively. Working together they produce the kind of music that is a clear example of something being better than the sum of its parts. And when the parts were top notch to begin with you're dealing with something really special.

Are both artists evenly matched or does one get an edge over the other? Honestly that will come down to prior personal preferences I think. First impressions told me that Mare Cognitum had a split edge on Spectral Lore here, but the latter closed the gap after several listens to the album and the Spectral Lore tracks proved themselves to be growers. Of the Pluto tracks the first one, subtitled Exodus Through the Frozen Wastes, sees the duo instead performing space ambient music, as they did on Sol's collaborative track Red Giant. Ambient undertones can be found across the whole release, but this is the only time they fully embrace it. For the second part of Pluto, The Astral Bridge, the pair debut their music metal full collaboration together. Perhaps not unexpectedly it's one of the album's very best tracks.

Arguably Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine is the most essential release of either Mare Cognitum or Spectral Lore to date. Quite possibly it is the first masterpiece that the black metal genre has produced in the 2020s, setting the bar that others will have to aim for from this point forward, the acts themselves included when they release new material without the other's support. It's very rare that could be said about something which is primarily a split, a format that for most artists I personally don't pay any attention to. But with Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine it feels like maybe more like-minded artists should get together for releases like this. For my money it may be the greatest split ever released.

MARE COGNITUM Phobos Monolith

Album · 2014 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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Those who say that there is no atmosphere in space should check out Jacob Buczarski's Mare Cognitum project, whose Phobos Monolith is a masterpiece of atmospheric black metal. Mare Cognitum is not the only black metal project in this field - Darkspace is there, for instance - but whereas Darkspace produces material reminiscent of a cold, empty, uncaring void, Mare Cognitum creates an impression of deep space as being a transcendent realm teeming with unseen power and potential. This sense of wonder, shared by music and lyrics alike, sets Mare Cognitum apart from the pack, and on Phobos Monolith it is brilliantly realised.

MARE COGNITUM Luminiferous Aether

Album · 2016 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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On Luminiferous Aether, Mare Cognitum play an accessible style of atmospheric black metal which feels almost orchestral - not in terms of the instrumentation, mind, but in terms of the production and the atmosphere that production enables. The album has a really "big" sound, creating the sense that project helmsman Jacob Buczarski is playing his instruments in the middle of a vast, empty concert hall, his music blasting the cobwebs out of the deserted seats and echoing through the darkened aisles.

To say that the production is the best thing about the album may sound like damning with faint praise, but I honestly don't mean it that way. The thing about atmospheric black metal is that it's all about the atmosphere - the clue is rather in the subgenre name - and it's easy to underestimate how important production is to that, but this album really illustrates the difference a really artistically apt production aesthetic makes.

MARE COGNITUM Luminiferous Aether

Album · 2016 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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Following hot on the heels of Resonance: Crimson Void (2016), a split with Aureole, comes the fourth full-length album offering from the US one-man atmospheric black metal act Mare Cognitum, Luminiferous Aether (2016). The brainchild of one Jacob Buczarski, Mare Cognitum has by this point already made quite the lasting impression on me with its spacey styled black metal style, most especially with the previous full-length release, Phobos Monolith (2014).

Current trends in atmospheric black metal seem to be the extensive use of clean vocals and/or cleaner, post-rock and shoegaze styled guitar work, a style that has become known as blackgaze. You'll find none of this on Luminiferous Aether, which instead comes across as refreshing in the way that Jacob Buczarski is able to create something that remains atmospheric but also isn't afraid to crush listeners with both aggression and outright heaviness. When he plays a cleaner, lighter passage of music he makes it come across as rather brooding and ominous, a perfect reflection on the spacey themes.

The album is in fact kicked off in such a way with Heliacal Rising, a slowly building piece that gradually introduces more elements of Mare Cognitum's sound into the mix. A relaxing track by atmospheric black metal standards even once its gotten fully going, one that quiets down again before its end, but listeners shouldn't get complacent: there's an onslaught to follow starting with The First Point of Aries. This is not the first time that Jacob Buczarski has incorporated more aggressive guitar riffs into Mare Cognitum's music; even as early as the debut album The Sea Which Has Become Known (2011) his music has seemed to have a tendency to go above and beyond the norm for atmospheric black metal in this respect, but here he goes whole hog with the idea and the track isn't a one off. Heliacal Rising despite its near nine minute length feels like an introduction; this is the sound that Luminiferous Aether is all about and it's what gives the album identity from previous Mare Cognitum releases.

And yet that also doesn't even go half way to describing what this album sounds like. Jacob Buczarski's lead guitar playing dominants as well in the form of melodies while underneath it all some ambient aspects can be heard creeping through, contributing to, but not defining, the album's overall atmosphere. On top of the music Jacob Buczarski also provides a strong vocal performance. As is often the case with extreme metal bands I do have trouble discerning his lyrics, but his growling style complements the music so well that at the end of the day it matters little. Vocals are an additional instrument in music such as this.

As is usual for a Mare Cognitum album there are not many individual tracks on Luminiferous Aether, just five this time around, though all have fairly long durations of course. The First Point of Aries has the obvious benefit of wow factor when first listening to the album, but I think to my ears the album's crown jewel has to be Occultated Temporal Dimensions, though with that said this album deserves your rapt attention from start to finish. I say this as a massive fan of Phobos Monolith, but Luminiferous Aether is easily the best album of Mare Cognitum so far. It's sound is simply immense, something which the production job, also done by Jacob Buczarski, shows off well. Resonance: Crimson Void was a great split, but was merely a foretaste of what Mare Cognitum was capable of in 2016. Black metal album of 2016? It could well be.

MARE COGNITUM Resonance: Crimson Void

Split · 2016 · Atmospheric Black Metal
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Resonance: Crimson Void (2016) is a split release by the atmospheric black metal acts Mare Cognitum and Aureole, both one man bands from the United States. I think it's easy to think of splits as throwaway promo releases for the artists involved with material taken from the artists' other, more major releases, however Resonance: Crimson Void is one of the ones that exists solely as its own entity with material written for and only available on it and with a length of about forty-one minutes feels very much like a full-length album in its own right. Just one made by two different artists. The release is available either as a vinyl or as a free digital download at this point in time.

Of the two artists on Resonance: Crimson Void I'm only previously familiar with Mare Cognitum, who at this point has built up an impressive back catalogue including the excellent Phobos Monolith (2014) and Sol (2013), a similar stand-alone split/collaboration album with Greek atmospheric black metal act Spectral Lore. I'm also incredibly hyped for the currently upcoming fourth full-length album Luminiferous Aether (2016). Aureole on the other hand is a new name on me, but the music, though it has its differences, compliments that of Mare Cognitum, which makes Resonance: Crimson Void a coherent listen. There are just four tracks in all, with Mare Cognitum handling the first half the album and Aureole handling the second. On the vinyl release that's one side each.

Having listened to Mare Cognitum's Phobos Monolith several times now, the sound that starts Resonance: Crimson Void is instantly familiar but feels somewhat more ambient in the background. Mare Cognitum has always stood for cosmic, spacey black metal but that vibe feels a little more amplified here compared to the last album. Aureole's tracks come over as somewhat more harsh and fuzzy sounding with less clear vocals, but the ambient parts when used come to the foreground more. To stick with the space analogy it could be said that Mare Cognitum represents the majestic side of space, while Aureole represents the harshness of it.

While I do slightly favour the tracks of Mare Cognitum to those of Aureole, Resonance: Crimson Void is an excellent black metal voyage through space throughout; a release that stands out well in Mare Cognitum's discography and I expect will do the same for Aureole once there are more releases to sit alongside, Aureole's only prior release being the debut album Alunar (2014), which Resonance: Crimson Void has made me want to check out, so I'd say that this split has been successful in that respect as well. And of course this has made me salivate all the more for the release of Mare Cognitum's Luminiferous Aether, which could easily end up being the black metal event of the year for me. In the meantime though Resonance: Crimson Void more than satisfies.

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