Mare Cognitum – Luminiferous Aether (I, Voidhanger Records)Sunday, 9th October 2016
Mare Cognitum (named after a sea on the Moon) have come for the outer darkness with new album Luminiferous Aether (a theory dealing with how light travels in space). I’ve briefly touched on the explanation of theses aspects because I think they are important when describing Mare Cognitum’s sound, especially on Luminiferous Aether. If you were just to look, and not scratch the vernacular veneer of the concepts involved, the importance of Mare Cognitum’s vast opulent take on black metal would be undermined. No, there is more to this beast than meets the eye and to disregard Luminiferous Aether as just another black metal album would erroneous.
Luminiferous Aether begins with a hefty atmosphere with “Heliacal Rising” which starts with the slow burn of jarring clean guitar ambience before expanding its grasp into lush guitar melodies which weave in and out of one another while a lumbering mid paced beat keeps the track at a dirge like tempo. The track breaths with atmosphere evoking images of distant undiscovered planetary darkness and isolation.
Even when things speed up like on “The First Point of Aries” Mare Cognitum continue to keep the atmosphere heavy in its darkness while still retaining a firm grasp on memorable melodies (think melodic 2nd generation Swedish black metal) even mixing with some excellent solo guitar playing that carries the song forward into higher tonal realms, rather than coming off as an excuse to over indulge in shredding wank.
There is a large amount of under the surface atmosphere built with well-placed synth and atmospheric guitar work, which really binds this album together, giving it an existential and ethereal atmosphere. Though it does contain the basic elements for a great old school melodic black metal album, Mare Cognitum employs use of these atmospheric tropes at the proper moments, which makes Luminiferous Aether a far more interesting and original release than your standard fare.
I always appreciate albums that aim to take the listener into a different plane of existence, and Mare Cognitum have gotten the formula perfect on Luminiferous Aether.