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Mare Cognitum - Solar Paroxysm Music Album Reviews

Jacob Buczarski’s cerebral, complex melodic black metal is an elegy for a dying planet. There is little hope on offer here, but plenty of silvery, well-executed riffs.

As cheap recording tools and solo projects have proliferated, the early-2000s glut of so-called “one-man black metal bands” has fallen out of vogue with artists of all genders. But with Mare Cognitum, Jacob Buczarski offers a convincing argument that the model is far from dead. His cerebral, complex, and often startlingly lovely black metal speaks for itself; Buczarski is an accomplished musician with a clear vision for his work and the chops to back it up (the man simply loves a solo, and who can blame him?). His atmospheric black metal feels ripped straight from the cosmos, a stroke of luck for fans seeking a little soul with their shredding. On the band’s fifth full-length—and third for the I, Voidhanger label—Buczarski comes armed not only with a sterling assortment of riffs, but also a warning: He envisions the album as a cautionary tale “about what happens if we don’t shape up and, firstly, deal with our rapidly approaching doom to climate change, and secondly, pay real attention to the societal ills [of] fascism, racism, and hatred in general that are plaguing us and dragging us away from real solutions.”

Muscular album opener “Antaresian” sets the stage for an album that promises to tear Mare Cognitum’s gaze away from the heavens and cast it down upon the filth and fury of terrestrial reality. Solar Paroxysm is a requiem for a dying planet, and a condemnation of the overgrown primates blithely hastening its demise. “We have unveiled the harrowing end of our world/We have foreseen the devouring of our galaxy/And when the light has gone/So too will be our memories,” Buczarski howls in his workmanlike rasp. Rather than hew to the genre’s tired obsessions with Satan, nihilism, and the like, Mare Cognitum’s lyrics are more in tune with Neil Gaiman than necromancy: Each song on Solar Paroxysm lays out another aspect of our potentially cataclysmic future in excruciating, albeit poetic, detail. The album cover—an apocalyptic scene of heaving earth and fiery skies—offers a stark vision of inevitable collapse.

The album’s focus may come as a surprise to those unaware of Mare Cognitum’s position on metal’s political left flank, but reading between the lines has always been critical to black metal fandom, and Solar Paroxysm is no exception. There’s a deep well of disappointment in humanity, which has progressed so far and yet fallen so short. The stormy, sublime “Terra Requiem” is both the album’s beating heart and its most caustic messenger, coldly assuring us that “so great is the debt we have incurred/So too will we wilt and fade into dust/We’ll pay with the ashes of our humanity/And cease to walk upon this earth/And the earth will forget our name.” There is little hope on offer here, but plenty of silvery, well-executed riffs.

Buczarski has perfected his formula, and spends this album teasing out ways to deconstruct it. Each song tops 10 minutes and flows nearly seamlessly into the next, knitted together with the expected tremolo and blastbeats as well as a surgically precise commitment to melody and atmosphere; Solar Paroxysm may not have its head as deeply in the clouds as its supernal predecessors, but it’s still located in the same galaxy. For all its kinship with contemporary purveyors of melancholia and experimental twists like Darkspace or Spectral Lore, Mare Cognitum’s musical lineage often leads straight back to the 1990s (though, thankfully, steers clear of errant Nazis). The bright guitar melodies on “Luminous Accretion” are gorgeous, and “Frozen Star Divinization” is a particularly effective exercise in both grandeur and nostalgia. Both summon a partial comparison to the frostbitten likes of Windir or early Enslaved, ’90s melodic black metal bands whose mastery of the embryonic form helped etch a blueprint for generations to follow.

Don’t be fooled, though; Mare Cognitum is ultimately about progress and pushing forward, whether that’s into the next galaxy or the wretched depths of the human soul. Solar Paroxysm’s remarkably consistent ride ends on a high note with the commanding closer “Ataraxia Tunnels,” an elegy disguised as an intricate, bombastic final salvo. As its narrator slips away, so do the album’s last notes, lingering for a long, pregnant moment before finally succumbing to silence. Solar Paroxysm is one of the year’s strongest black metal albums, but it is also a depressingly effective reminder that there’s only so much time left.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Mare Cognitum - Solar Paroxysm Music Album Reviews Mare Cognitum - Solar Paroxysm Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 Rating: 5

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