PICK OF THE WEEK: Mare Cognitum stare human condition in gory face with ‘Luminiferous Aether’

Mare CognitumThe state of humankind is grave and getting more troublesome. That’s obvious just from turning on a television set or going outside and interacting with others. This decline has been happening for some time now, though recently it seems to have superglued the acceleration pedal to the floor.

What can stop this downward spiral, if anything? Is this the condition in which we live? Will it keep getting worse and worse? That’s a tough question to answer right now, but it’s something Mare Cognitum explore on the expansive new record “Luminiferous Aether,” yet another challenging piece from one of black metal’s constantly interesting bands. This record, as ambitious as it is, is only a small part of an overall manner of thinking when it comes to considering the human condition. No one else in the universe is fretting what is going on with our Earth and the things we do to one another. Destruction, especially of the self, could be the only answer, but even then, will it be enough to carry on past the brush fires and pits of waste that result? This record chooses to have a sense of hope that we can rise beyond this state and that the human spirit can rise up in the end and remind us all of our interconnectedness and dependency on one another. But that’s nowhere near a certainty.

Mare Cognitum coverIt’s no secret Mare Cognitum are a favorite here. We said as much a couple weeks back when we talked about the project’s collaborative split effort with Aureole. The band is the creation of multi-instrumentalist Jacob Buczarski and has been creating otherworldly, atmospheric black metal for the past five years. The first Mare Cognitum release arrived in the project’s year of birth 2011 with “The Sea Which Has Become Known,” and from there, Buczarski returned a year later with the eye-opening “An Extraconscious Lucidity.” A split/collaborative effort with Spectral Lore followed, and a year later, third full-length “Phobos Monolith” landed. “Luminiferous” is Mare Cognitum’s most direct and heaviest record to date, an album that unloads the power and devastates everything within its creative space. It’s a jarring journey that asks tough questions and responds with equally quaking answers.

“Heliacal Rising” begins cleanly, letting noises slowly filter into the mix and take on weight. The whole thing floats along, seemingly content to meander to its destination when all hell breaks loose. Monstrous growls erupt behind mournful guitars, as a gaze spreads over everything, and the riffs charge up and burn. Passionate howls blister, while a coldness arrives, with emotion and murk combining and drifting into the air. “The First Point of Aries” detonates right away, as if with the intent to burn a million souls. Fierce growls and powerful melodies unite, as the thunderous assault rips forward, with the pace shifting again and again. As the song winds down, so does the fury, with dramatic color gushing and the night sky gulping it whole. “Constellation Hipparchia” begins with strong melodic guitars creating waves, with the track coming to life and galloping heavily. The scathing vocals follow the tempo nicely, and with each valley, the song returns with a new gasp of steam. “Witnessing the crucifixion of the self, leaves nothing to be sought on these worlds,” Buczarski howls, as the track keeps opening new volcanic pockets that fill the void with chaos and burn everything to ash.

“Occultated Temporal Dimensions” begins in a sound swarm before pure black metal chaos is unleashed. The song is blinding and furious, with wild cries smashing and cavernous growls joining them in crippling the senses. Much of the track is raw and noisy, with waves of violence reddening the terrain, and the only answer to everything is total decimation. “Pathways/bittered with/sinew from/dead stars!” Buczarski screams, with the song barreling to some unknown, but certainly catastrophic, ending. Closer “Aether Wind” blasts open, with guitars taking control and the vocals scathing. The song is fast and punishing, as the guitars keep things compelling, and the bulk of the track feels like a relentless onslaught. Melodies sweep in and carry you into the air, with shrieks mixing with deep growls and the fury rushing out, rousing you from this tornadic sound dream.

Mare Cognitum already were a fascinating, challenging band before “Luminiferous Aether,” but with this fourth album, the ante is upped even further. It’s an angry, fierce record that bathes in darkness and forces the listener to face ultimate destruction face to face. Even if hope is in our midst and there are ways to push through the madness, this record reminds that fire and death await if we can’t get our collective act together and realize we’re all in this united, good or bad.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/MareCognitumMusic

To buy the album, go here: http://i-voidhanger.com/shop/

For more on the label, go here: http://i-voidhanger.com/

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