Mare Cognitum – Phobos Monolith

MareCogAfter experiencing and re-experiencing again and again the amazing 2013 Sol collaboration between Mare Cognitum and Spectral Lore, I expected Mare Cognitum’s follow-up to be the musical equivalent of terra-forming, and it does not disappoint. From the opening/ominous keyboards that rise from the space between stars, to the densely-layered choir of guitar lines and riffs that take your mind by the hand and pull you into an astral plane by the means of noise-canceling headphones, you will know a scant two minutes into this wonderwork that what lies before you can be classified as black metal high art. Moreover, Phobos Monolith stands (like my placement of the aforementioned Sol last year) as one of 2014’s best extreme metal releases. Thus, out of sunny Santa Ana, California cometh once again the dark musical vehicle of Jacob Buczarski, the singular talent behind this, Mare Cognitum’s third full-length release. Through unrelenting drums, droning yet harmonious black metal riffs with death metal underpinnings and Jacob’s strangling throat, you have adequate propellant to take you closer to a cosmic genesis than you ever have before. But make no mistake – this is much more than a contemplative glide to the far reaches of the Universe. Phobos Monolith launches you as you’d expect a starship actually would: excoriating, buffeting, jarring, and tearing you free from our familiar magnetic field with a unique combination of hyper-tempos and always combined melody/dissonance that never quite settles or unsettles in the ear; the music just forces your mind’s eye ever-forward, attentive to the glorious riffery and awe-imbued arrangements that await you. Mare Cognitum’s assault isn’t without some mercy, however; on ‘Nuomenon’ an interstellar aural play of the broadest kind brings through an array of emotion as widely-varied as the disparate, Ouroborous-like guitars could possibly have the capability to display. But the whirling, death metal dervish of ‘Ephemeral Eternities’ comes quickly thereafter, again firing forth from the speakers with enough zeal to break anyone out of any elliptical orbit of contentment.
There are moments when I fear Metal is coming close to saying all it can say, and bemused I find myself returning for long periods to albums past for the feeling of that old spark of depth and ingenuity. But then albums like Phobos Monolith – though rare – are found, always waiting around Art’s corner, ready to restore my faith in this music stemming from the shadow-side of existence, this music that resonates, and will do so, always. -Jim

I, Voidhanger

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~ by cliftonium on October 8, 2014.

2 Responses to “Mare Cognitum – Phobos Monolith”

  1. “There are moments when I fear Metal is coming close to saying all it can say, and bemused I find myself returning for long periods to albums past for the feeling of that old spark of depth and ingenuity.”

    Amen. Obviously I am an old fucker, so it is harder for me to find ideas I haven’t heard before. And I still find releases all the time that I enjoy, as good songs are still good songs. But I feel a lot of metal bands are just picking at the fringes of new ideas. There aren’t any truly trans formative releases anymore.

  2. Have any albums come close to being so for you in recent years (I ask to see if there’s something I need to check out)?

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