A fascination with the universe can match the infinity of space itself, and this allure naturally attracts bands within a genre of endless possibilities like Metal. One such project is led by sole member Jacob Buczarski, and nearly five years after 2016’s Luminiferous Aether, MARE COGNITUM has returned with the next full-length cosmic exploration titled Solar Paroxysm. This sudden attack from the sun is paralleled musically through an onslaught of scorching riffs, but a paradoxical heat effect is suggested as the melodies and atmosphere within these riffs perpetuate the icy darkness of space. Solar Paroxysm scorches with its coldness while venturing into the deepest regions of the unknown cosmos.
Spectral sounds initiate this dark voyage on “Antaresian,” along with bleak tremolo melodies that convey the ambience of outer space. These melodies continue their dismal development until a change of tone comes with the chugging groove of the main riff. Another melodic progression breaks into a spacey hook of searing tremolo melodies, and the song culminates during a melodic solo before deeper-toned riffing echoes further into the distant void. “Frozen Star Divinization” follows with a lightspeed flurry of intricate tremolo melodies and blast beats. A mid-paced striking rhythm occasionally breaks this ferocity, which otherwise continues relentlessly as riffs and melodies travel from majestic high points to deep brooding heaviness, and the vocals mirror this range with raspy screams that drop into a death growl to compliment heavier moments. The song peaks through another definitive solo before monstrous layered vocals carry it to the end.
The core of this voyage is reached on “Terra Requiem,” and a deep space vibe is truly captured through its depressive pace and suffocating darkness. Spaced-out tremolo melodies likewise pierce into deeper states of consciousness with their hypnotic and captivating effects. This entrancement intensifies through a melancholic solo that progresses alongside the spacey melodies, and the fury reemerges with blast beats driving toward “Luminous Accretion.” This track rises from its shadowy predecessor while maintaining a desolate cosmic coldness. A complex whirl of energy charges an epic solo after developing through layers of ethereal melodic elements and rhythmic death-laden riffing. This momentum powers through the dissonance for a cumulative blast of raw melody, soloing, and crushing heaviness. The finale is reached with a surge of elaborate celestial melodies and icy riffage coursing through “Ataraxia Tunnels,” which leads into a climactic solo with vocals that transcend the unbounded universe.
An overarching concept of life, death, and rebirth conveyed through cosmic imagery seems to permeate the lyrics. “Antaresian” portrays omniscient creative entities of a dying galaxy who unify and seek preservation by transferring their memories and wisdom out into the greater cosmos. “Frozen Star Divinization” also describes the renewed transformation of various energy forms and ideas as they pass through a link between two universes. “Terra Requiem” is where the sun blatantly ravages humanity, and a disintegrated energy becomes whole again through the ultimatum of “Become a torch or burn to ashes” on “Luminous Accretion.” A negative being also reaches its final catharsis on “Ataraxia Tunnels” after enduring countless cycles of torturous reshaping. Individual interpretations will ultimately reveal many layers and analogies within Jacob’s lyrics, which he has stated is the intended purpose of their ambiguity.
MARE COGNITUM demonstrates that Black Metal is a highly effective medium for expressing the frontier of space, and Solar Paroxysm is a galaxy with regions of desolate cold, hypnotic blackness, and harmonious majesty awaiting discovery. Navigating through these epic tracks is like traversing the void of space itself, and multiple ventures are required to fully appreciate their detailed immensity. They are multi-faceted compositions that show no weakness in their execution, which is impressive for a one-man project. Solar Paroxysm is undoubtedly the Black Metal odyssey of the year, and its scorching coldness shouldn’t be missed by enthusiasts of the genre and outer space.