An epic space saga sounds like a pretty good thing right now. This has been a week of relentless garbage, with each day seemingly trying to outdo the one before it in bringing annoyances and stress that I wouldn’t care to measure. That’s a huge reason why jettisoning beyond our planet and toward others, if even on a fantasy scale, would be most welcome at the moment.
Luckily, an interesting and ambitious new split from Mare Cognitum and Aureole has landed courtesy of Fallen Empire. But this isn’t your everyday shared recording where each band gets a chance to show what they can do. Instead, this is a cosmic story that you might have to listen to a completely different album to grasp in full. “Resonance: Crimson Void” contains events that take place before Aureole’s debut album “Alunar” (great, weird album that I highly recommend). So it’s a prequel of sorts. Aureole crafted the story, but Mare Cognitum share with the telling, as each group contributes two tracks that spreads the thematic elements. The story centers around the Citadel Alunar, its bell tower, and a civilization that is in collapse as its inhabitants reach to the stars for answers. The citadel eventually encounters and is engulfed by the Rosette Nebula (see the amazing cover art), causing chaos, a great struggle, and the suffocation of life by hands emerging from the bell, until the bell tower finally collapses. Yet, the citadel lives, and from this, it emerges with newfound knowledge and must rebuild itself. That’s a rudimentary summary, but the lyrics (found on the bandcamp site https://marecognitum.bandcamp.com/album/resonance-crimson-void-2) can guide you even further.
Mare Cognitum is a project that’s no secret to our readers, as we’ve talked about the Jacob Buczarski-led force quite often. In fact, we’re going to travel into his atmospheric black realms again in a couple weeks when the new Mare Cognitum full-length drops in our laps. As for Aureole, it is helmed by Ukrainian musician M.S., and the “Alunar” album was our first real introduction into his musical world, a place that can feel intergalactic and medieval at the same time. This pairing makes a lot of sense musically, and their work blends together nicely. The fact they both could work on such a complicated story together and send into new dark corners is stunning.
Mare Cognitum start with “Crimson Abyss: NGC 2237,” a 13:44-long track that washes in from nowhere and brings with it intoxicating star dust. Fittingly, bells begin to chime, with tempos shifting, the light and dark clashing, and the vocals being emitted as shrieks and growls. “Hold the flame aloft, into the black abyss,” Buczarski wails, as the song continues its fluid pace before going on a mesmerizing twist. Howls erupt anew, swimming through orbit, as the speed kicks up, sounds glaze and rain down, and the track ends with a stirring surge and more bells ringing out. “Crimson Abyss: NGC 2238” is a shorter one at 5:20, and it wastes no time, clobbering out of the gate, curdling your blood. Melodies crush as they mix with fury, as strong riffs peel flesh, and the intensity burns brightly. “Ghastly fingers run like daggers across the skin to tear asunder fading blood within,” Buczarski unleashes, as great soloing blinds your eyes, and the cut comes to an abrupt, dramatic finish.
Aureole get going on “Void Obsidian: NGC 2244” that basks in planetary soundscapes before charging up into a thick drone fog. Ugly, gritty guitars join the fray, as M.S. cries, “The towers swallowed, the amalgamation cast, yet the bell ever tolls,” as it heads into a pocket of melody. The track splits open again later as a volcanic push drives the power, blowing heat and causing your skin to flood with perspiration. Late guitars pick up and pull the song to its finish, bleeding out and opening the gate for “Void Obsidian: NGC 2246.” There, a violent outburst reaches out to strangle, with weird, echoed cries that make your muscles quiver, and a hypnotic fog settles in. Things are burly and weird through the bulk of the run, with whispery growls swirling overhead, and drone mixing into electrified pooling. Massive guitar work takes over the brunt, churning and spinning, heading into a chiming hypnosis, and sending Alunar onto the next phase of its volatile existence, a chapter Aureole already has written.
Splits are nice, and we cover a ton of them, but it’s even better when you have a piece in front of you like “Resonance: Crimson Void” that is more than just a collection of songs. Mare Cognitum and Aureole taking this story and stretching it out creatively and sonically gives you something a little extra, a destructive plot line that’s both exciting and terrifying. Both of these bands push the limits of what they can achieve on their own, so it only made sense they’d find explosive new ways to challenge your mind in the same creative space.
For more on Mare Cognitum, go here: https://www.facebook.com/MareCognitumMusic/
For more on Aureole, go here: https://www.facebook.com/AureoleBM
To buy the album, go here: http://store.fallenempirerecords.com/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/FallenEmpireRecords