Mare Cognitum
Solar Paroxysm


4.0
excellent

Review

by Brendan Schroer CONTRIBUTOR (151 Reviews)
March 29th, 2021 | 145 replies


Release Date: 03/19/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The vastness of space... in both its wonder and its horror.

I’ve long been fascinated with records that explore the sounds of space from an extreme metal point of view. There’s an inherent excitement to basking in an expansive atmosphere while being bombarded by aggressive guitar work and pummeling blastbeats, as bands like Blood Incantation and Mithras have definitely proven. No matter how intense the music gets, there’s something strangely soothing and dreamlike about it; it’s almost as if the music could threaten to become background noise if you’re not paying enough attention. But much like the aforementioned bands, Mare Cognitum - consisting only of California native Jacob Buczarski - brings just the right amount of musical variety and neat embellishments to (mostly) avoid the pitfall of overt repetition. The fact that Solar Paroxysm has no song under 10 minutes might seem like a doozy, but believe me: this album flies by very quickly.

Every song here is a mini-epic rife with the tropes you’d typically hear from a progressive/atmospheric black metal project: long tremolo-picked passages, layered wall-of-sound instrumentation for that “vast” soundscape, and of course the harsh shrieks to top it all off. There’s a remarkable sense of progression in these tracks despite the album’s often long-winded nature, largely due to the fact that most of them come from a similar beginning. The majority of the tracks kick off with a familiar tremolo/blastbeat-driven base, and while that does make the intros a tad predictable, it allows Buczarski to use them as a launching pad to fly off in whatever direction he sees fit. Opener “Antaresian” opts to settle into what I could consider a “funeral waltz” using increasingly progressive 3/4 and 6/8 chugs before climaxing with a beautifully melancholic solo; meanwhile, “Frozen Star Divinization” is a long showcase of mesmerizing tremolo guitar harmonies, almost as if they’re locked in a never-ending duel in the middle of a wintry tundra. “Luminous Accretion” is probably the most technical song on offer, constantly shifting tempos and riff patterns while giving the drums a serious workout; finally, “Ataraxia Tunnels” is probably the most traditionally black metal-oriented track here while maintaining the sense of atmosphere that defines the rest of the album.

“Terra Requiem”, however, doesn’t fit quite as nicely on a stylistic level… and that’s because it’s the best song on the record. Most of it is played at a snail’s pace and really gets at the heart of this record’s dark take on a cosmic sound. The tremolo harmonies and double bass drumming are still prevalent here, just used to color a more funereal and despair-filled picture. Everything comes together beautifully in the middle of the song, as the keyboards soar above the melodic guitar solo; it strikes a brilliant balance between awe and hopelessness that I haven’t heard in quite some time. Speaking of the “picture”, the lyrics of Solar Paroxysm are very appropriate to the music as well. It’s your typical vaguely space-y imagery, but there are some pretty cool stanzas I’ll single out. Check out these ones from “Luminous Accretion”:

“Corporeal fractures
Essence separates
Violent transposition
Self-observed from above, lingering

Communicants, wretched spires
Materialize, surround, engulf
Great tongues through which
Creations are spoken (and thus conceived)”

Or these ones from “Terra Requiem”:

“The last leaves have fallen
The last vine has withered
The ocean has boiled for so long
Choking our breath with fetid steam

We claw for shelter from the heartless sun
Which cracks our skin and dries our wells
So great is the debt we have incurred
So too will we wilt and fade into dust”

Again, pretty vague and hard to decipher, but the imagery itself really fits the sound of the album so I don’t mind in the slightest.

Whether or not you will enjoy Solar Paroxysm will probably depend on your tolerance for the familiar tropes Mare Cognitum often employs to flesh out his sound. It’s true that nothing on this album breaks much new ground for atmospheric black metal, but the quality lies in how it’s executed here. The songs, while often starting the same, eventually lead us to incredibly neat locales by the time they’re done because of Buczarski’s adventurousness with this well-worn genre. Solar Paroxysm is my first experience with Mare Cognitum, and it looks like I have one hell of a back catalogue ahead of me if this album’s any indication.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2021


8591 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hey everyone :]



You can check this out through the album's bandcamp link: https://marecognitum.bandcamp.com/album/solar-paroxysm

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2021


24160 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Well that was quick ;)

Digging: Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The LSO - Promises

garas
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2021


5890 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nice read, invisible pos'd!

Digging: Keygen Church - ????????????

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2021


8591 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Dewi: yeah, I already had my thoughts on this album gestating for a while. It was just a matter of getting them on paper.



@garas: thanks!

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2021


13918 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Quicky. Subscribed

combustion07
March 29th 2021


8167 Comments


Cool band for sure. Didn't know this dropped already either. This year is already pretty damn great for metal at least

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2021


8591 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, it’s definitely been a great year for metal. Great year for music in general so far tbh

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2021


13918 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Expecting to see plenty of metal on both the staff and the user's global lists this year.

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2021


13918 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Whether or not you will enjoy Solar Paroxysm will probably depend on your tolerance for the familiar tropes Mare Cognitum often employs to flesh out his sound.



Seems like a light cop-out.



Solar Paroxysm is my first experience with Mare Cognitum, and it looks like I have one hell of a back catalogue ahead of me if this album’s any indication.



That feeling you get when you know something's not falling on deaf ears. : ]

DDDeftoneDDD
March 29th 2021


16912 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I was waiting for this to say





THAT CLOSER IS AAAAAWEEEESOME!!!!!

Digging: Zao - The Crimson Corridor

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2021


7430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nocte already sporting that 3.9, hella nice



Ok so first riff already got me headbanging hard, mucho coolo. Also cool rev Brendan!

Digging: Andy Stott - Never the Right Time

DDDeftoneDDD
March 29th 2021


16912 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

The real headbanging is generally on the end of tracks, where he does this meaner riffing (it feels very welcome on me), opposing to the tremolo space feel on the whole tracks. Reinforcing, that folkier closer bumped the 4 on me.

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2021


13918 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

--Nocte already sporting that 3.9, hella nice--



I've done my waiting/13 years of it/in Azkaban



something something.

DDDeftoneDDD
March 29th 2021


16912 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

dedex is dying for it, just check his soundoffs lol

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2021


13918 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Mate, 2200 soundoffs is very little to scoff at. I'm very much on board.

DivergentThinking
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2021


8591 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

3142 ratings is also nothing to scoff at either, lol



Thanks for the feedback Dedex!

ChoccyPhilly
March 29th 2021


13297 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Upon first listen I prefer his previous album but this is still a good listen. Somewhere between 3.5 and 4.0 for sure

Digging: Solbrud - Vemod

Elynna
March 29th 2021


823 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nicely written review. I think it’s certainly up to par (if not better) than his previous output.

Digging: Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The LSO - Promises

dedex
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2021


7430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

lol y'all too nice



this is super good, feeling a 4 atm

garas
Contributing Reviewer
March 29th 2021


5890 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Strong 4.0 for sure.



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