Spectral Lore/Mare Cognitum – Sol (split)

Spec_Mare (200x200)Evoke the Cosmos: a lofty goal, figuratively and literally, yet on this split, two ambient/Black Metal artists have given their all in order to accomplish it. In doing so, neither Jacob Buczarksi of the USBM project Mare Cognitum nor Ayloss of Greek BM project Spectral Lore rely solely upon themselves to embrace the terrible beauty of the universe; each musician takes full advantage of the other’s differing skillsets in the effort to succeed, and in so doing, create a 69 minute opus that outweighs their individual contributions upon it. For Sol exemplifies the height of collaborative effort as much as it celebrates the destructive and creative forces that make up all matter and anti-matter.

Mare Cognitum starts off the journey with ‘Sol Ouroboros’, an appropriately off-world sound invocation, taking the heart and mind of the listener away from his or her surroundings in the manner of an astral projection. And what we are doing here light years from home, the well-written lyrics inform us, is bearing witness to the birth of a star, compared in twisting parallel to the pain of a childbirth. As the ambiance gives way to a speedy but melodic Black Metal affront, we sense the incomprehensible forces at work, tearing and reforming again and again to bring forth starlight. As the fusion nears, a chaos increases in potency, heralded by a full-on (yet not fully unexpected) turn toward technical Death Metal, hinted at prior in a few three or four second measures amidst the Black structures, rounded out by partner Ayloss’ lead guitars. Though you may at first find yourself sinking back to reality when this midsection arises, the rightness of it all takes hold, for we all know that without devastation, no creation can result. And so we move on.

Spectral Lore transports us still farther away from the maelstrom so we can view the galactic sight in all its terrifying glory. ‘Sol Medius’ offers up the knowledge that, at the moment of birth, self-consumption begins, and ‘impermanence and transformation’ will reign, bringing the newly-born entity to death. This message is delivered much more directly than the previous composition, via a Black Metal strewn with a lower-range vocal (colored by partner Buczarski’s howled voicings) and frozen riffage that has a dissonant, perpetual devolution. As the tension mounts and finally breaks, a not-out-of-place Emperor influence rockets the listener deeper into the dark matter, just before despairing angrily into a frightening Doom passage humanizing the cold, bleak reality of space with excellently-phrased leadwork. As the pace continues to build back to that of the song’s origin, a disharmony arises, then begins to fade. The effect lulls the listener into a simmering disquietude, its vehicle a slow descent into an atonal and acoustic (dare I say epic?) jazz exit.

And then: the coup de grace. The instrumental closing track, ‘Red Giant’ is composed and recorded together by Buczarksi and Ayloss, and the talents of both coalesce into a singular, awe-filling presence that does honor to the final moments of the star whose birth and life have been transcribed during the first two tracks. More drone than song, more monument than monolith, nevertheless ‘Red Giant’ conveys that infinite, anguished sorrow that all life – sentient or no – shares as one; the unavoidable, unmistakable sorrow of death.

It is unclear to me whether Sol is meant to allegorically deal with our own light- and lifegiver’s end or not, but listening to this artwork I’m compelled to contemplate that impending occurrence that awaits our world. When the Sun burns red, all planets of our solar system will be consumed, including our own. Anything and everything that remains of us will become the fodder for that dying star, and the absurdity of our race will transmute to something less than obscurity … all of our triumphs and failures, minutiae and great moments alike will disperse into atoms. Pondering on this, I realize I am neither happy nor sad. I am instead grateful that something as arguably insignificant as a Black Metal record has brought me here: to a place of thoughtful, cosmic appraisal. -Jim

I, Voidhanger Records

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~ by cliftonium on August 28, 2013.

9 Responses to “Spectral Lore/Mare Cognitum – Sol (split)”

  1. great review

  2. Thankee kindly, sir! Can’t stop spinning this one …

  3. Mmm sounds very interesting. Great idea by these two gents. Will check out.

  4. Listened to this album 3 times today. Been listening to it for a while. Last night before going to sleep. Just awesome.

  5. Has anyone heard either artists other former releases? Wondering how they are. Don’t want to get into them yet before I fully absorb this split though.

  6. Glad you’re digging this split as much as I am. I’m pretty sure Jake is into their older stuff …

  7. This is indeed an awesome album. Epic! That last ambient track just swallows me whole. Just ordered it.

  8. @Patrick: Their third full-length, Sentinel, is somewhat similar in feel. It’s more focused, fairly technical (read as: not wanky), very unique black metal. I haven’t heard it enough to speak much about it, but everything I’ve heard about it speaks very highly for it.

    Before that they were a slightly more traditional black-and-white-drawings-of-forest atmospheric black metal. It feels somewhat similar in atmosphere to TRIST from Germany during the more droney, spaced-out moments, but it also has a very active side that’s uncharacteristic for the genre with frequently odd-ball riffs and time signatures. I really like I and II for their atmosphere, but I’m tempted to say that the last album and this split seem a lot more polished and carefully put together.

  9. That ended not quite how I wanted it to. I and II (particularly II) are still really good, original, and worth checking out, but the newer stuff is, “objectively” speaking, probably better on the whole.

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