SPECTRAL LORE — Wanderers: Astrology Of The Nine

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SPECTRAL LORE - Wanderers: Astrology Of The Nine cover
5.00 | 3 ratings | 1 review
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Split · 2020

Tracklist

1. Spectral Lore - Mercury (The Virtuous) (08:36)
2. Mare Cognitum - Mars (The Warrior) (09:25)
3. Spectral Lore - Earth (The Mother) (11:56)
4. Mare Cognitum - Venus (The Priestess) (12:27)
5. Mare Cognitum - Jupiter (The Giant) (15:04)
6. Spectral Lore - Saturn (The Rebel) (10:14)
7. Mare Cognitum - Neptune (The Mystic) (11:38)
8. Spectral Lore - Uranus (The Fallen) (12:24)
9. Mare Cognitum & Spectral Lore - Pluto (The Gatekeeper Part I - Exodus through the Frozen Wastes) (11:30)
10. Mare Cognitum & Spectral Lore - Pluto (The Gatekeeper Part II - The Astral Bridge) (12:00)

Total Time 115:14

Line-up/Musicians

Mare Cognitum:

- Jacob Buczarski

Spectral Lore:

- Ayloss

About this release

Release date: March 13th, 2020
Format: Digital, CD (500 copies, Vinyl (600 copies)
Label: I, Voidhanger Records

Thanks to adg211288 for the addition

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SPECTRAL LORE WANDERERS: ASTROLOGY OF THE NINE reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

adg211288
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.

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