Mare Cognitum - An Extraconscious Lucidity
I, Voidhanger Records
Atmospheric Black Metal
6 songs (49' 23")
Release year: 2012
I, Voidhanger Records
Reviewed by Andy
Archive review

One-man black metal project Mare Cognitum already garnered rave reviews from me for 2014's incredible Phobos Monolith, possibly one of the best atmospheric black metal albums I've ever had the pleasure to listen to. Its author, Jacob Buczarski, has now re-released previous episodes of this awesomeness, and recently a promo for one, An Extraconscious Lucidity, came across my desk. After the latest, it's a no-brainer for me to review it. Though it isn't as incredible as Phobos Monolith, it's still a formidable work, bristling with melody, layered guitars, and tremolo picking that will satisfy anyone who liked the band's latest masterpiece.

Collapse Into Essence takes almost three minutes to fire up, but the same hallmarks of excellence found in Phobos Monolith abound here. The guitar dominates, layered down to infinity, filled with tiny melodies that are studded with blastbeats. Buczarski's voice is completely unintelligible and ultimately forgettable, buried in the layers as just another enhancement to the music; here, melody rules supreme and his black metal shrieks only exist to enhance that. The heartbreakingly lonely feeling of the music combines wth the creeping layers upon layers of sound; like a whole ensemble worth of violins, the tremolo picking of the guitar combines with itself in all those layers to make a whole new sound. Pyre of Ascendence has more of a traditional sound, with less of the cosmic feel that Phobos Monolith engendered, and the guitars get a solo and less of the layering that came later on in the evolution of the Mare Cognitum sound, though in some of the melodic turns and riffing one can see the direction being taken. Despite this earlier feel, there's still a substantially cosmic atmosphere in the music. The triumphal sound that Phobos Monolith had isn't quite in this one, but the delightful tremolo riffing in Degeneracy Pressure still contains that note of complex, lonely joy.

Sound-wise, the mix is phenomenal and contains no traces of retro attempts or lo-fi pretensions; An Extraconscious Lucidity is a modern metal album and makes no bones about it. Nascency's slow grind, a long, winding journey around crunching pillars of power chords, gives way to the initially quieter Ergosphere, a song with a bigger, more distant feel that's accentuated by echoes and background noise as it slowly builds up to its peak. Finally, Pulses in Extraconscious Lucidity becomes a grand finale of its own, possessing a layered guitar background overridden by a sharp lead that drops in every once in a while between the vocals. It keeps coming back, providing a haunting counterpoint -- but the whole song ends abruptly without fanfare.

An Extraconscious Lucidity is an earlier stage of Mare Cognitum's existence that is not as polished or as beautifully crafted as Phobos Monolith, but it is nevertheless excellent. The sound of this album owes more to the band's influences, and that gives it a flavor all its own, with more emphasis on lead guitar, tremolo picking, and Buczarski's vocals, and fans of Phobos Monolith should check this one out.


Killing Songs :
Degeneracy Pressure, Pulses in Extraconscious Lucidity
Andy quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Mare Cognitum that we have reviewed:
Mare Cognitum - Luminiferous Aether reviewed by Andy and quoted 92 / 100
Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith reviewed by Andy and quoted 95 / 100
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