I, VOIDHANGER RECORDS
PRESENTS

 

 
 

"A SPIRAL PATH WE MUST WALK
TOWARDS AN EVER-DARK HORIZON"
[SPECTRAL LORE]

 
 

 

 

 
 

SPECTRAL LORE AND MARE COGNITUM
EMBARK ON A 70-MINUTE COSMIC BLACK METAL JOURNEY

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Far from being a typical split album, "SOL" is a collaboration on many levels, starting from the conceptual and moving on to the musical.
Themes and riffs have been cross-referenced and transfigured, structures have been put in proportion, lyrics have been written in parallel.

Conceptually, it is an attempt at a kind of cosmological philosophy; searching the vast, cold expanses of the universes for traces of meaning and purpose.
What it is out there that is fundamental, absolute and shared? What can we learn about ourselves by looking outward, to the void and the inanimate?

 

 

SPECTRAL LORE
MARE COGNITUM

"SOL"
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FORMAT: CD    CATALOG N. IVR018

 

I
MARE COGNITUM
"SOL OUROBOROS"
(29:10)

II
SPECTRAL LORE
"SOL MEDIUS"
(25:53)

III
SPECTRAL LORE & MARE COGNITUM
"RED GIANT"
(14:24)

Total time 69:28
 

SPECTRAL LORE:
Ayloss
- all instruments and vocals

MARE COGNITUM:
Jacob Buczarski - all instruments and vocals
 

Noble 4-panel digipack, 8-page full colour booklet

Artwork by Josef Barton
Layout by Francesco Gemelli

Released June 27th, 2013

 

AVAILABLE NOW AT OUR STORE

   
 


LISTEN TO THE WHOLE ALBUM AT THE BANDS' BANDCAMP PAGES:   SPECTRAL LORE  Bandcamp  ///  MARE COGNITUM Bandcamp

 

 
 

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SPECTRAL LORE DISCOGRAPHY

III - CD (to be released by I, Voidhanger Records - 2013)
SOL Split with MARE COGNITUM - CD  (I, Voidhanger Records - 2013)
SPECTRAL LORE / LOCUST LEAVES
- Split CD  (Order Of Theta - 2012)
SENTINEL
- CD  (Stellar Auditorium Productions - 2012)
UNDERJORDISKA / SPECTRAL LORE - Split CD  (Stellar Auditorium Productions - 2008)
SENTINEL
- CD  (Stellar Auditorium Productions - 2012)
II
- CD  (Self-released, 2007 - Reissued by Temple Of Torturous, 2010)
I
- CD  (Saturnine Society, 2006 - Reissued by Temple Of Torturous, 2010)
 

MARE COGNITUM DISCOGRAPHY

SOL Split with SPECTRAL LORE - CD  (I, Voidhanger Records - 2013)
AN EXTRACONSCIOUS LUCIDITY
  (Self-released digital - 2012)
THE SEA WHICH HAS BECOME KNOWN
- TAPE  (Self-released digital, 2011 - Reissued on tape by Milam Records, 2012)

 

 
 

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REVIEWS
 

METAL SOUNDSCAPES
Review by Dimiarch

Spectral Lore from Greece and Mare Cognitum from USA, have joined forces, creating a very special album, entitled “Sol“, a must for fans of cosmic atmospheric ambient black metal. “Sol” is far from the typical split albums, since the two bands cooperated, creating a concept album, with 3 long songs. The first track is by Mare Cognitum, with guest guitars by Ayloss of Spectral Lore, the second one by Spectral Lore with guest vocals by Jacob Buczarski of Mare Cognitum and the closing track is worked by both of them. The album was released by the Italian label I, Voidhanger Records on June 2013.
Mare Cognitum is the personal project of Jacob Buczarski, from Santa Ana, California, formed in 2011. He has already self-released two full-length albums, “The Sea Which Has Become Known” in 2011 and “An Extraconscious Lucidity” in 2012. The first track of this split, the 29-minute long “Sol Ouroboros” belongs to them. The song combines ambient synths, instrumental black metal, raw black metal outbursts and atmospheric melodic black metal, while I can even listen to some technical death metal elements! Its long duration and several changes make it sound like a full album, rather than one song. The production is very good and despite the space ambient atmosphere of their music, guitars are very dominant and technical, unusual for bands of this style! Jacob isn’t afraid to experiment and the result in this song totally justifies him.
The second track “Sol Medius” is composed and performed by Spectral Lore, the personal project of Ayloss from Athens, Greece. This ambient black metal band was formed in 2005 and so far has released 3 full-length albums (“I” in 2006, “II” in 2007 and “Sentinel” in 2012) and 3 split releases. “Sol Medius” is another huge song, lasting for almost 26 minutes. Spectral Lore’s composition moves in a more chaotic avant-garde atmospheric black metal style, with a couple of ambient, almost silent passages and some wonderful melodic lead guitars. It has a more underground raw sound and a less technical approach compared to the first song. The participation of both musicians in each others song, as well as their common concept, abridge the differences between the two bands.
The last track is composed by both bands. It is a completely ambient song, entitled “Red Giant“, with a total duration of almost 15 minutes. This collaborative work by Ayloss and Jacob Buczarski is a very atmospheric and quite silent song, a typical example of space ambient. As written above, the lyrical concept of the album is common, since lyrics were written in parallel and as the band members say: “it is an attempt at a kind of cosmological philosophy; searching the vast, cold expanses of the universe(-s) for traces of meaning and purpose”.
“Sol” is a wonderful album by itself, with quality music (especially the two basic songs), but it is also a great opportunity to discover two great atmospheric ambient black metal bands, Mare Cognitum and Spectral Lore. If you like this album, you better explore their previous works too, since they totally deserve it. “Sol” is released by I, Voidhanger Records in a digipak edition with 8-page booklet, including the lyrics. The beautiful artwork is by Josef Barton and the layout by Francesco Gemelli. Below you can find links for both bands and listen to their music on your own, since this genre is mostly judged by the atmosphere it creates and isn’t easy to describe with words.

[8,5 out of 10]

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ZWARE METALEN
Review by Bart Alfvoet

Kwam er plots een mooie kosmische digi op mijn mat te liggen, een leuke verrassing. Het betrof een split van Spectral Lore uit Griekenland en Mare Cognitum uit Amerika. Twee eenmansprojecten die elk een nummer brengen van dik 25 minuten en dan samen een instrumentale creatie.
Atmosferische black metal is net zoals blackgaze en ambient black in grote expansie. Net als het universum spreidt het zich steeds meer uit en wagen steeds meer mensen zich aan het scheppen van dergelijke muziek. Veelal zijn het eenmansprojecten, projecten die het vooral van hun sfeer moeten hebben, niet van de complexe technische lading. Mare Cognitum is niet anders, al is het in vergelijking met veel andere gelijkaardige entiteiten bovengemiddeld gelaagd en doordacht. Het 29 minuten durende Sol Ouroboros is niet meteen het meest gestroomlijnde nummer en dat wringt enigszins. Een industriële muzikale uitvoering krijgt vooral door zijn perfectie vaak een hypnotisch effect, bijvoorbeeld na eindeloze herhaling van verschillende loops en bijbehorende doorkruisende geluidseffecten. Hier is de timing soms niet perfect, zijn de wendingen onverwachts en avontuurlijk, komen verschillende gemoedstoestanden aan bod. Emperor, Wolves in the Throne Room en Burzum, tijdens het eerste gedeelte van dit nummer komen ze allemaal voorbij, vooral dan Emperor met materiaal tussen Anthems en Nightside. Het nummer wordt enkele keren onderbroken door ambientscapes, waardoor de spanning volledig wegvalt, maar aan de andere kant ook weer volledig tot opleving kan komen.
Spectral Lore is vrij gelijkaardig aan Mare Cognitum. Hier krijg je een groter contrast tussen stijlen, het verloop varieert van esoterische doom tot ambient black, met een dunner en rauwer geluid dan zijn voorganger. De zogenaamde wall of sound is wel een pak indrukwekkender, de constante aanvoer van snerpende gitaargewelven en penetrante ambient heeft een grotere inwerking op je evenwichtsorgaan dan op je cognitieve hersencentrum en neemt je dan ook mee naar donkere uithoeken van de kosmos. Dat draagt mijn voorkeur weg, zonder twijfel.
Het derde nummer is een coöperatie tussen de twee heerschappen, een eerbetoon aan mars, of een andere bol hier ver vandaan. Een waardige afsluiter van een zeer aan te raden plaatje van wie houdt van bands als Midnight Odyssey en Walknut.

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WINGS OF DEATH
Review by Chris

Ongeveer een jaar geleden besprak ik het album Sentinal van het Griekse Spectral Lore, eenmansband van ene meneer Ayloss. De mix van atmosferische black metal en ambiente geluidstapijten viel me nog niet eens zo tegen eerlijk gezegd. Ik heb sindsdien ook nog de split met Locust Leaves hier liggen, waar ik eigenlijk (en helaas) nooit aan toegekomen ben. Tijd om het goed te gaan maken, en die kans krijg ik nu met een nieuwe split-release, deze keer met de gelijkgestemde ziel van Mare Cognitum. Ook dit is een eenmansproject, en wel van de Amerikaan Jacob Buczarski. Overigens kende ik die band nog niet.
Dit splitalbum heeft eigenlijk wel een geinige insteek: we horen een nummer van Spectral Lore, eentje van Mare Cognitum en als derde en laatste een nummer van beide 'bands', heren samen. Ok, 'slechts' drie tracks, en toch zo'n 70 minuten muziek. De klanken die beide acts ten gehore brengen lijkt wel een 'match made in heaven'. De insteek van beide partijen past perfect bij elkaar, zou je niet beter weten zou je kunnen denken dat je hier gewoon met 1 band te maken hebt. Meer een samenwerking dan een split release dus eigenlijk. Het blijkt ook dat beide heren hun muziek ook wel enigszins op elkaar hebben afgestemd.
Mare Cognitum mag beginnen en doet dat met Sol Ourobouros. Een bijna half uur durend, uitgestrekt, vooral kosmisch, etherisch epos; verleend aan schrille, edoch zeer sferische black metal. Beelden van sterren, nova's en kosmische koude trekken voorbij, verpakt in tremolopicking riffs, vaak ingetogen tempo en raspend gekrijs. Enerzijds verwoestende black metal, anderzijds spacy en atmosferisch, gelijk een ruimtereis, zo stel ik mij voor. De overgangen tussen black metal en de spacy passages klinken vrij natuurlijk, in dit verband in elk geval logisch. Na een serene tweede helft met een rustgevend klanktapijt eindigt de track met een paar verrassend harde minuten, die ik in deze context niet helemaal begrijp.
De bijdrage van Spectrale Lore heet Sol Medius, en sluit qua muzikale insteek volledig aan bij de track van Mare Cognitum. Wat ik daarbij verteld heb over de symbiose tussen spacy klanken en de sfeervolle, maar minimalistische black metal is ook hier absoluut van toepassing. Deze track klinkt misschien net wat veelzijdiger, al zal dat een kwestie van nuances zijn. Ook hier is veel van de speeltijd ingeruimd voor een lange ambiente passage, waarna de muziek langzaam weer aanzwelt tot zijn glorieuze climax.
De laatste track is een kortje vergeleken met de twee vorige, en duurt 'slechts' 14 minuten. Hier vind ik een overeenkomst met het eerdergenoemde Spectral Lore album Sentinal. Dat sloot af met een ambient geluidscollage (Atlus), afwisselend aanzwellend en weer afzwakkend, en dat is precies wat Red Giant ook is en doet. En hoewel dit op zich prima past binnen de thematiek en de visie van beide artiesten, vind ik het hier toch wel een afknapper. Ik had me verheugd op een samenwerking tussen beide heren waarbij dit gezamenlijke album tot een spannend hoogtepunt zou worden gebracht, maar dit is eerder een anti-climax.

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ROCKING
Review by Αντώνη Κονδύλη

Για τους Spectral Lore τα έχουμε ξαναπεί σχετικά πρόσφατα. Κυκλοφόρησαν το 2012 ένα εξαιρετικό άλμπουμ το οποίο πιστοποιούσε για μια ακόμη φορά την ικανότητα του Ayloss (μοναδικού μέλους μπάντας) να επιδίδεται σε ποιοτικό black metal. Έναν χρόνο σχεδόν μετά επανέρχεται, αυτή τη φορά σε μια κυκλοφορία την οποία και μοιράζεται με τους Αμερικάνους Mare Cognitum.
Το CD αποτελείται από τρία κομμάτια, ένα για κάθε μπάντα και ένα τρίτο το οποίο προέκυψε από κοινού. Πρόκειται για συνθέσεις διάρκειας πάνω από δεκαπέντε λεπτά. Μια ιδιαιτερότητα είναι ότι οι δύο μπάντες έχουν συνεργαστεί στη δημιουργία του κάθε κομματιού και το τελικό αποτέλεσμα παρουσιάζει μεγάλη ομοιογένεια.
Πιο συγκεκριμένα, στα 29 λεπτά του εναρκτήριου "Sol Ouroboros" οι Mare Cognitum ακολουθούν κάποια κατά βάση περιπετειώδη black metal μονοπάτια, χωρίς να δυσκολεύουν την ακρόαση τόσο σε θέματα σύνθεσης όσο και τεχνικής. Η προσέγγισή τους είναι ως επί τω πλείστον απλή συνθετικά, ενώ οι ambient / minimal στιγμές που παρεμβάλλονται δίνουν μια αίσθηση απόκοσμης γαλήνης και οι οποίες χρησιμεύουν στο να διαχωρίζουν τα διαφορετικά θέματα τα οποία η μπάντα επεξεργάζεται. Βεβαίως, τα 29 λεπτά είναι πολλά και απαιτείται ιδιαίτερο ταλέντο για να μπορέσεις να κρατήσεις τον ενδιαφέρον του ακροατή αμείωτο σε όλη τη διάρκεια του κομματιού. Προσωπικά με ελκύει περισσότερο το μέρος μεταξύ 19:30 και 24:00, όπου μετά την ηρεμία ξεχύνεται ένας black metal χείμαρρος, μπολιασμένος με διάφορες εθιστικές μελωδίες. Συνολικά παρουσιάζει ενδιαφέρον χωρίς να εντυπωσιάζει.
Στο δεύτερο κομμάτι, "Sol Medius", διάρκειας 25 λεπτών, τη σκυτάλη παίρνει ο Ayloss με τους Spectral Lore. Η χαμηλών τόνων, γαλήνια και σχεδόν υπνωτική εισαγωγή δίνει τη θέση της σε μια ηχητική κλιμάκωση που οδηγεί σε γρηγορότερα σημεία και όλα αυτά φιλτραρισμένα μέσα από την συνθετική δεξιότητα του Ayloss δημιουργούν τη γνωστή απόκοσμη ατμόσφαιρα, συνοδευόμενα πάντα από τα χαρακτηριστικά σκοτεινά και μοχθηρά φωνητικά. Τα παρεμβαλλόμενα dark ambient περάσματα απομακρύνουν ακόμα περισσότερο τον ακροατή από τους εγκόσμιους ήχους και την ανούσια πραγματικότητα, πριν μεθυστικοί black metal ήχοι ολοκληρώσουν αυτό το διαγαλαξιακό / απόκοσμο ταξίδι. Συνολικά, σε αυτό το κομμάτι οι Spectral Lore δεν κάνουν κάτι περισσότερο από αυτό που ήδη ξέρουμε για αυτούς, αλλά το δείγμα είναι εξαιρετικό και μπορώ να πω ανώτερο από το πολύ καλό κομμάτι των Mare Cognitum.
Στο τρίτο κομμάτι, διάρκειας δεκατεσσάρων λεπτών, οι δύο συντελεστές του δίσκου συμπράττουν, ακολουθώντας μια ιδιαίτερη μινιμαλιστική προσέγγιση και με τη χρήση απλών ήχων δημιουργούν μια γαλήνια ατμόσφαιρα και μια αίσθηση που παραπέμπει σε απομακρυσμένη μέσα στη φύση τοποθεσία, μακριά από οποιαδήποτε ανθρώπινη παρεμβολή και παρέμβαση. Απλό στη σύνθεσή του, αλλά υπέροχο όταν το ακούς σε αντίστοιχη περίσταση κάποια καλοκαιρινά βράδια.
Συνολικά πρόκειται για ένα ενδιαφέρον άλμπουμ, με τους Spectral Lore να ξεχωρίζουν και να δείχνουν για μια ακόμη φορά ότι πάντα αξίζουν την προσοχή μας.

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WORM GEAR
Review by Jim

Evoke the Cosmos: a lofty goal, figuratively and literally, yet on this split, two ambient/Black Metal artists have given their all in order to accomplish it. In doing so, neither Jacob Buczarksi of the USBM project Mare Cognitum nor Ayloss of Greek BM project Spectral Lore rely solely upon themselves to embrace the terrible beauty of the universe; each musician takes full advantage of the other’s differing skillsets in the effort to succeed, and in so doing, create a 69 minute opus that outweighs their individual contributions upon it. For Sol exemplifies the height of collaborative effort as much as it celebrates the destructive and creative forces that make up all matter and anti-matter.
Mare Cognitum starts off the journey with ‘Sol Ouroboros’, an appropriately off-world sound invocation, taking the heart and mind of the listener away from his or her surroundings in the manner of an astral projection. And what we are doing here light years from home, the well-written lyrics inform us, is bearing witness to the birth of a star, compared in twisting parallel to the pain of a childbirth. As the ambiance gives way to a speedy but melodic Black Metal affront, we sense the incomprehensible forces at work, tearing and reforming again and again to bring forth starlight. As the fusion nears, a chaos increases in potency, heralded by a full-on (yet not fully unexpected) turn toward technical Death Metal, hinted at prior in a few three or four second measures amidst the Black structures, rounded out by partner Ayloss’ lead guitars. Though you may at first find yourself sinking back to reality when this midsection arises, the rightness of it all takes hold, for we all know that without devastation, no creation can result. And so we move on.
Spectral Lore transports us still farther away from the maelstrom so we can view the galactic sight in all its terrifying glory. ‘Sol Medius’ offers up the knowledge that, at the moment of birth, self-consumption begins, and ‘impermanence and transformation’ will reign, bringing the newly-born entity to death. This message is delivered much more directly than the previous composition, via a Black Metal strewn with a lower-range vocal (colored by partner Buczarski’s howled voicings) and frozen riffage that has a dissonant, perpetual devolution. As the tension mounts and finally breaks, a not-out-of-place Emperor influence rockets the listener deeper into the dark matter, just before despairing angrily into a frightening Doom passage humanizing the cold, bleak reality of space with excellently-phrased leadwork. As the pace continues to build back to that of the song’s origin, a disharmony arises, then begins to fade. The effect lulls the listener into a simmering disquietude, its vehicle a slow descent into an atonal and acoustic (dare I say epic?) jazz exit.
And then: the coup de grace. The instrumental closing track, ‘Red Giant’ is composed and recorded together by Buczarksi and Ayloss, and the talents of both coalesce into a singular, awe-filling presence that does honor to the final moments of the star whose birth and life have been transcribed during the first two tracks. More drone than song, more monument than monolith, nevertheless ‘Red Giant’ conveys that infinite, anguished sorrow that all life – sentient or no – shares as one; the unavoidable, unmistakable sorrow of death.
It is unclear to me whether Sol is meant to allegorically deal with our own light- and lifegiver’s end or not, but listening to this artwork I’m compelled to contemplate that impending occurrence that awaits our world. When the Sun burns red, all planets of our solar system will be consumed, including our own. Anything and everything that remains of us will become the fodder for that dying star, and the absurdity of our race will transmute to something less than obscurity … all of our triumphs and failures, minutiae and great moments alike will disperse into atoms. Pondering on this, I realize I am neither happy nor sad. I am instead grateful that something as arguably insignificant as a Black Metal record has brought me here: to a place of thoughtful, cosmic appraisal.

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VOICES FROM THE DARKSIDE
Review by Angelica Jannone

Alienation is a common theme in Black Metal and it often translates in the overall mood and aesthetic of the genre; the tremolo effect creates a wall of sound, the drums blur, the vocals beckon, they float around you in an icy haze instead of pummeling you with icicles. The coldness devastates you but never cuts. In my opinion, I'm more likely to get pinned than penetrated, yet its difficult to deny the dull, aching pain that stays with you for the duration. "Sol" is joint effort between MARE COGNITUM and SPECTRAL LORE. The two feature similar manifestations of the epic, distant, Black Metal variety but with key differences. The first track by MARE COGNITUM is a drifting iceberg of a song. Its extended lags feature cold guitars layered with synth to create some sort of unholy blizzard; its winds are seemingly peaceful, but they are the ones that will chill your right to your bones. These long interludes are interrupted every so often with heavier parts often taking the form of a frenzied climax or a slower, steadier bridge or sorts. The winds pick up and thrash you around for a bit just in case the frostbite didn't already take you. SPECTRAL LORE's track is just a touch grittier in production and includes more vocals in a thickly layered affair that feels more like a cathedral than say, Siberia. Repetitive riffs are slightly obscured by ominous and airy synth and enhanced by blustery, almost inhuman vocals all swirling about a steady backbone of drums that seems to guide the song through a meandering journey of tempo changes and rising intensity. The overall effect is rather theatrical but also slightly terrifying and almost labyrinthine, like the ending of The Shining when Jack is chasing the kid with an axe through a frozen maze. Being homicidal and lost is a rather interesting combination and it's one I can definitely feel in this song. A common link between these two bands is how varied their songs are. There are moments where you feel you have reached the end due to the deceptive ways the song seems like its winding down. When I did make it to the end, I felt like I had really been through something; in its own way, the music is telling a story. It's even cinematic. The finale on this split is a combined effort from both bands. Interestingly enough, its a rather minimalistic song compared to the other two. The songs opening creates an ominous atmosphere and the mood makes a slow and lumbering shift to feel almost reassuring, a bit of a cleansing moment that allows you to reflect on the experience from the former, rather epic songs. There are real complexities about the aesthetic of this music as it is mainly fantastical but it's able to be futuristic and timeless simultaneously. Either way, I recommend this expansive and psychonautic trip for anyone looking to get lost for a while... just don't let the man with the axe catch up to you.

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TRANSCENDING OBSCURITY
Review by Kunal Choksi

Mare Cognitum is a US Atmospheric Black Metal band that’s extremely underrated. I can’t believe such a good band is largely unnoticed by people even in that country. Spectral Lore, a more established act among the two, couldn’t have picked up a more fitting band to do a split release with. It reminds me of the wonderful split between Nychts and Wedard. Mare Cognitum starts the split with just one track lasting almost 30 minutes which is too epic to describe in words. Every time I listen to it, I get lost in the depth of its emotions which is what makes it different from Spectral Lore which is more astral in its scope.
Both bands are atmospheric and full-blown when it comes to that. It’s done on a real grand scale and you can feel it. Mare Cognitum is more sentient in comparison and I find its music related to the dramas and traumas in life, the ups and downs which is beautifully expressed through its sole song Sol Ouroboros. It’s contemplative, lapsing into an ambient trance, but picks up unfailingly, expressing its moods artistically.
Spectral Lore leaves no stone unturned in its expression. Almost matching Darkspace in its atmosphere, Spectral Lore is more restrained, and for good reason. Like Mare Cognitum, it too contributes with a near half hour track and this is another celestial experience. It’s obsessed with the astral realms, constantly aiming for higher and beyond and one can’t help but be overwhelmed by its music. All this is done without coming across as a clichéd Symphonic Black Metal band which is a compliment in itself. Its music is more suspenseful than dark, more hopeful than of despair, and has a soaring quality which is unique among bands in this Black Metal genre.
Lastly, you have an ambient track contributed by both – a collaboration by Mare Cognitum and Spectral Lore, something that cleans out the intensity from the recesses of your mind. It’s a strange but rather apt ending to a great split of highly competent bands complementing each other and no matter how many listens you give it, you are only drawn in deeper and deeper.

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CROSSFIRE METAL
Review by Markus Peters

In „Sol“ treffen zwei Ambient Black Metal Künstler zusammen, welche unter dem Namen Spektral Lore und Mare Congnitum ein kosmisches Machwerk aus drei Longtracks präsentieren, wobei der dritte Song als Gemeinschaftsproduktion fungiert. Aber der Reihe nach. Der knapp dreißigminütige Opener „Sol Ouroborus“ bietet eine atmosphärische Weltraumerkundung mit Post- und Black Metal Passagen, welche teils treibend und dann wieder Hoffnungslosigkeit vermittelnd von der amerikanischen One Man Band Mare Congnitum dargebracht wird, und zeigt dabei trotz der enormen Laufzeit keine großen Längen. Der zweite Song (fünfundzwanzig Minuten) entspringt der Feder von dem Griechen Ayloss, der unter dem Namen Spektral Lore den Zuhörer in weitere Sphären entführt und tiefgründig mit ebenso hohem Abwechslungsreichtum und Bombast Sound Anteil nachgelegt wird. Die Kooperation „Red Giant“ kommt allerdings eher als ein ruhiges, in der Weite des Raumes verlorenes Klangexperiment rüber und könnte locker jeden Science Fiction Soundtrack in die Tasche packen und beendet damit instrumental diese gelungene Sternen Reise.
[8 out of 10]

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METAL-FI
Review by Alex

Despite the somewhat high barrier to entry than the album or EP, splits are a fairly common occurrence in black metal. And when they do work, they really work. Take for instance the recently released split Sol by one man metal projects Spectral Lore of Greece and Mare Cognitum of the United States. These two underground forces are a match made in heaven (literally). Both are experts in the art of celestial inspired atmospheric black metal, and both mix and master their own material. In fact, these two artists share so much in common, that they actually collaborated on the final track of this hour plus long space odyssey.
Sol consists of three expansive tracks, with the last one serving as a co-authored mood/ambient piece. What’s interesting about this record is though Ayloss of Spectral Lore and Jacob Buczarski of Mare Cognitum are inspired by the same giant spherical balls of gas, they go about it in very different ways.
Buczarski’s side of the split is titled “Sol Ouroboros,” and is definitely the more structured of the two. After a Blut Aus Nord-esque opening for the first few seconds, guitars emerge, but hover ever so slightly above the keyboard hum until they fade in around the three minute mark. The style here is initially classic black metal, with a very catchy tremolo pick and standard issue blast beat attack. Buczarski’s vocals are a powerful rasp that sit below the music and for the most part, are unintelligible (this tends to happen when black holes serve as your muse). The music shifts into ambient territory soon after, where celestial sounding keyboards form an Einstein-Rosen bridge into the heaviest section of this 29 minute, Jupiter sized track. The barrage of blast beats and heavy riffing quickly segues into more subdued territory that takes on a more post like quality as the theme consistently repeats itself among atmospheric vocals and background synths. For the remainder of your journey, the song ebbs and flows between black, ambient, and even some traditional death, never once over staying its welcome despite the song’s immense girth.
Ayloss takes an entirely different approach to blackened quantum mechanics. His side, entitled “Sol Medius,” is a much denser and multi-textured affair. Imagine Krallice in outer space. The riffology that fades in at the minute mark starts off simple enough, but quickly progresses into more complex territory. The layering of guitars is at first disorienting until your ear adjusts and you begin to hear the rhythms emerge. Vocals are background shrieks that for the most part are drowned out in all the celestial fury. Then nine minutes in, your bad acid trip a la 2001 Space Odyssey begins. Unlike Bruzzarski’s more introspective astral ambiance, Ayloss has a penchant for atmospheric spacey creep, which was quite unsettling while listening in the dark. The song comes full circle thirteen minutes in and takes on a very doomish vibe, as chord progressions are slow going and chock full of reverb and buzz. By the seventeen minute mark, the song comes full circle before ending with some quasi-jazz keyboard work and more eerie synth effects.
The last track, “Red Giant,” is a collaborative ambient piece that comes off somewhat anti-climatic. It’s wonderfully atmospheric, but ultimately has very little replay value outside the context of this split. I also felt this track was sorely misplaced as it would have served as an excellent intermezzo to give your ears an astral plane to rest upon before diving back into the cold vastness of black metal space.
Sol was mixed and mastered by the material’s respective artist with the co-written last track mastered by Ayloss. As you can tell from the measurements, both artists prioritized dynamics. What’s interesting is that there is a lot in common with both tracks from a purely production standpoint. Both have an extremely guitar dominate mix with drums and vocals set back. Tonally, the higher dynamics of the Mare Cognitum side really paid off in spades. This is by far one of the best produced tracks I’ve heard all year. Bass is just downright spectacular with the kick drums especially sounding thunderous. Because the Spectral Lore side was slightly more compressed, guitars take on a more wall of sound approach which fits the music perfectly. My main issue with Spectral Lore’s mix is that the vocals are muffled and the highs are slightly less airy than its Mare Cognitum counterpart. But it still sounds great and these are nitpicks to an overall solid master.
This is definitely one of the best splits you will hear all year. Sol is a cohesive, well thought out effort by two very talented black metal projects who clearly share an affinity for outer space. You can stream the whole album online on Mare Cognitum’s Bandcamp page now. Give it a whirl and space out!

[9 out of 10]

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BEHIND THE VEIL
Review by Christine Parastatidou

I’ve already said it many times, but it’s no harm repeating it again. The Greek metal scene is really powerful and has some unique bands to show off. One such case is SPECTRAL LORE, this extreme one man band that was formed in 2005 and so far has put forth three full length albums and three split releases, this one included. The impressive thing with this band is that it keeps getting better and better while exploring dark and mystical paths with its music.
The genre that SPECTRAL LORE belongs to is no other than ambient black metal that naturally mainly focuses on the creation of dark and eerie atmospheres along with the realization of the vastness of universe and a feeling of isolation. So, a better term to describe this band’s musical endeavour would be cosmic ambient black metal. The second band appearing on this three track split release that clocks in approximately sixty nine minutes is the U.S. based on man band MARE COGNITUM. This was my first encounter with the band and I have to say it left me with a very positive impression since it manages to pull off everything it’s after. The feelings of loss and isolation and a sense of void when you think of the vastness of the cosmos are perfectly portrayed here. So, every fan of atmospheric, ambient black metal will surely find the song appealing.
As I mentioned earlier “Sol” is a split album and yet it can’t and shouldn’t be faced as a typical split release, because the cooperation taking place here between SPECTRAL LORE and MARE COGNITUM is deep and multileveled... from the concept which they carefully planned and decided upon together to the overall musical approach as well as the fact that one out of the three songs appearing here was composed both by SPECTRAL LORE and MARE COGNITUM. If you like cosmic ambient black metal then this is something you shouldn’t miss!

[7,5 out of 10]

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ETERNAL TERROR
Review by J. Nepper

I love the idea of split releases in that you get the chance to check out two or more different bands at the same time. Once in a while the one band will suck while the other one will rule in which case it hasn`t been a complete waste of time listening to the split release. However, there`s always the possibility that both bands will be very good and complement each other beautifully, which, luckily, is the case with this split CD on which Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum figure.
Both bands/projects perform black ambient music, which is to say melancholic and introspective ambient music mixed with epic black metal-sounding parts and melodies. "Sol" contains 3 songs; "Sol Ouroboros" by Mare Cognitum, "Sol Medius" by Spectral Lore, and "Red Giant", which is a collaboration between the two artists. The whole release has a very cosmic and otherworldly vibe to it, and I must say that it just oozes loneliness and sadness to my ears.
Both acts strike a fine balance between the calm parts on the one side and the aggressive ones on the other. There are contrasts to be found in the music, but when listening to these 3 songs the gaps between the extremely mellow and the intense outbursts are bridged rather well and one hardly notices how or when the mood and intensity suddenly shift. It all flows rather organically and sounds so natural. I probably like "Sol Ouroboros" the most, but don`t get me wrong; this is a strong release containing quality music all the way through it.
We`re served 70 minutes of music here, which may be too much for some listeners, but I have no problem with that whatsoever due to the quality of the music. All open-minded listeners should check this split release out, but just remember that a bit of patience is required and that it may take more than one spin to grasp what this is all about. Some parts are catchy while others are slightly more complex and strange, but give it time. I certainly found this to be quite rewarding.

[4,5 out of 6]

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MISANTROPIA EXTREMA
Review by M.E.

Para quem não está muito bem por dentro do black metal atmosférico, os Spectral Lore são uma boa proposta para se entrar no estilo. O projecto do grego Ayloss equilibra de forma muito convincente o lado mais frio e extremo do black metal com paisagens sonoras absolutamente deslumbrantes, construídas em cima de atmosferas evocativas e ambientes densos como o raio. Mare Cognitum é uma coisa mais recente, formada por Jacob Buczarski em 2011, mas em dois álbuns de originais desde aí provou ser um caso à parte no género, pelo modo como combina uma série de influências que vão do mais tradicional black metal escandinavo ao actual vanguardismo francês, num bolo sonoro coerente, poderoso e convincente. Ao juntarem-se neste split, cada um dos projectos apresenta uma faixa de cerca de 25 minutos, ambas bem compostas, complexas na estruturação mas fáceis de apreender em toda a sua aura atmosférica e imediatismo primordial. Depois, há a terceira faixa, puramente ambiental, em que ambas as entidades colaboraram na composição e trabalharam em conjunto na execução e gravação. «Red Giant» – assim se chama o tema – é um prodígio de dark ambient cinematográfico e evocativo, que demonstra que no black metal atmosférico, tal como no jazz, há grandes feitos que podem ser atingidos na miscigenação e colaborações entre diferentes projectos.
[4 out of 6]

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PINPOINT MUSIC
Review by Kaptain Carbon

Sweet lord it is Mare Cognitum. Mare Cognitum is a California based atmospheric black metal artist who became somewhat popular on Reddit’s r/metal following the release of his debut The Sea Which Has Become Known. I mean, why wouldn’t an atmospheric black metal project that obsesses over sea and space become revered? Mare Cognitum follows two strong releases with a solid split with Spectral Lore.
Spectral Lore is a Greek black metal band that reminded me of a more ambient version of Burzum, or if Burzum was a fan of acoustic guitar. What we have in 2013 is a short 3 track collaborative EP that comes in at around 70 goddamn minutes. I couldn’t be happier. Each track on the split is fantastic with both artists making a near half hour selection followed by a 15 minute ambient collaboration. Whether or not it is Mare Cognitum’s moody synth or Spectral Lore’s surprisingly crisp guitar leads, this split may not seem like much but it is an album full of fantastic atmospheric black metal. Grab your goddamn towel and follow me to the breaking waves.

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AVE NOCTUM
Review by Frank Allain

And so we plunge boldly into the deepest reaches of space here courtesy of two one-man projects who very clearly have at least one eye set on the stars. ‘Sol’ is a conceptual 3 song split featuring one long track from each artist and one ambient collaboration and is every bit as involved as it seems. We are dealing with the dark depths of the cosmos here, the brief for both acts clearly to describe a journey through the blackest galactic voids – a realm bereft of humanity, graced only by the macroscopic machinations of the primordial elements of the universe.
Mare Cognitum (a.k.a. Jacob Buczarski) commences proceedings with the thirty-minute long ‘Sol Oroborus’ and sets the tone wonderfully from the get-go. Reverb-soaked drums echo in a funereal fashion as simmering synths and cavernous lead guitar usher us into the bleakest realms.
Inevitably, this tension-building opening explodes into a frenzy of blasting programmed drums and spiralling guitar work, a dizzying, finely-honed black metal assault. Buczarski’s skill with the guitar is not to be doubted, the cascading patterns here described with real precision.  Primarily, we are assailed with highly melodic, almost quasi-classical lines over ultra-fast 6/8 blast patterns, regularly switching riffs but maintaining a central intensity.
Coupled with the raspy vocal shrieks, these opening minutes of aggression are heavily reminiscent of the work of Sweden’s Dawn. Mare Cognitum however have no qualms in unleashing a variety of soundscapes from their sonic arsenal – a lengthy ambient interlude 10 minutes or so into ‘Sol Oroborus’ gives way to a dizzying escalation of searing, relentless black metal.
With echoing lead guitar describing a soaring cosmic ambience, this is without a doubt the strongest section of this entire release. It’s a shame it climaxes in a rather trite Dissection influenced classic metal riff which morphs into some skilfully executed – but out of place – death metal. A slightly confusing end to an otherwise excellent piece.
‘Spectral Lore’ are clearly working from the same brief. Again, the work of one man, theirs in an approach more steeped in dissonance, the opening passages of ‘Sol Medius’ weaving a distinctly Voivodian spell.
As the intensity amplifies, more traditional black metal elements are introduced, however the simmering discordance at the heart of the piece is never far away. As with Mare Cognitum’s track, we are also ushered into a long-winded ‘dark soundscape’ breakdown which, to be honest, is perhaps a little predictable.
I appreciate both artists are attempting to invoke the spirit of the vast emptiness of space but five minutes of holding a low synth note isn’t really doing enough on this front. Mare Cognitum’s almost identical section is also guilty of this and upon reflection, these breakdowns are way too long and feel like wasted minutes.
Thankfully, as with ‘Sol Oroborus’, some of the strongest sections of ‘Sol Medius’ occur once things kick back in – distended, doomy riffing, deep and distant vocal howls, it’s a dead ringer for some of Ruins of Bevarast’s early releases. And when the speed is increased, Darkspace – perhaps the pinnacle of ‘black hole metal’ – are brought to mind.
The collaboration between the two, ‘Red Giant’, is fourteen or so minutes of simmering ambience. I’ll be honest – I enjoy a lot of dark ambient music but this doesn’t bring an awful lot to the table. Lustmord inspired soundscapes of droning noise-ambience build slowly into a mournful flowing synth note finale but as effective as the few minutes of this lengthy piece are, it does feel a little tacked on.
‘Sol’ is an involving listen for sure. Presenting a complex array of black metal stylings over the two lengthy ‘main’ songs, it takes many sittings to fully digest the breadth and scope of the material on display here. It’s an effective soundtrack to the emptiness of space – granted, it lacks the overwhelming ‘torn apart in a vortex’ sensation of Darkspace at their most intense, but these two acts bring their own twist on what’s like to be subject to the whims of universal forces.
I guess the throwaway nature of the ambient elements grates a little at times – particularly in light of their familiarity – but this is perhaps a minor quibble. I’d have to give the nod to Mare Cognitum here insomuch as their contribution presents a more textured sonic experience (and those few minutes after the breakdown are exceptional) but really, this a very well-balanced split with a wonderfully consistent atmosphere. If you a penchant for stargazing whilst zoning out to your black metal, you could do a lot worse than check out ‘Sol’.
[8 out of 10]

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ONDES CHOCS
Review by Coeur Noir

L’univers; mystérieux et insaisissable dans toute sa grandeur et sa splendeur. Depuis le Big Bang originel en passant par la conception des toutes premières étoiles et la formation des milliards de galaxies qui aujourd’hui le composent et l’habitent, les abîmes insondables de son ultime dessein nous seront probablement à jamais interdit. Autant dans le micro que le macrocosme, son infinie créativité qui régit la mécanique céleste devant laquelle nous nous émerveillons avec autant d’humilité nous révèle à la fois la complexité et l’intelligibilité de ses structures et l’incroyable distance qui nous reste à parcourir afin de pouvoir remettre en place toutes les pièces du puzzle. Est-ce que la totalité de sa compréhensibilité nous sera un jour dévoilée dans son intégralité? Probablement pas.
Mais émergeant du vide initial, l’ultime conception a tout de même été achevée. Jusqu’à la création de notre Soleil qui brille de ses milles éclats et depuis les premiers balbutiements de la vie dans les eaux troubles d’une Terre encore adolescente, l’odyssée de la grande marche vers l’évolution allait un jour réussir à accomplir l’incompréhensible. Ce même univers allait prendre conscience de lui-même par l’intermédiaire d’un animal capable d’observer et de raisonner; l’homme.
Mais maintenant que nous sommes «là», qu’avons-nous fait de se prodigieux cadeau qu’est la conscience, de ce «miracle» qu’est la vie? Avons-nous réussi à construire une civilisation digne de ce nom ou n’avons nous pas inversement réussi à ériger la faillite de notre propre espèce? Bien sur, nous avons accompli de grandes et magnifiques choses mais au final, que reste t-il de tout ça? Que reste-il de nous? Se pourrait-il qu’il ne reste rien d’autre que les vestiges de ce qu’un jour quelqu’un osa appeler «l’humanité»?
Quand on s’arrête quelques instants pour y penser, on ne peut faire autrement que de ressentir un affreux vertige et une terrible nausée. Il suffit, en effet, de regarder par la fenêtre pour constater l’immense échec qu’est devenu notre (im)monde et dans quel pétrin nous nous sommes mis les pieds. Au mépris de notre propre essence et au détriment du genre humain, nous avons gaspillé l’incroyable potentiel qui se cache inévitablement aux tréfonds de chacun d’entre nous et sommes devenus les pathétiques victimes de notre propre design. Nous avons faillit à la tâche et les portes de la «terre promise» se sont refermées à tout jamais devant nos yeux. De facto, une question s’impose violemment et vient alors hanter nos angoisses les plus sombres: «Comment l’enfer pourrait-il être pire?».
Et il est tout à fait légitime de se la poser, cette question. C’est vrai quoi! Au lieu de trouver un moyen pour nous affranchir de notre tourment éternel et de concentrer notre attention vers l’avenir en édifiant les balises d’un style de vie durable et équitable pour tous, nous avons choisi de nous abandonner à la peur, la haine et la destruction et l’avons retourné contre nous tel le canon d’un revolver.
Mais ce refus de s’émanciper de la sorte se traduit aussi par le rejet de l’acceptation de notre lignée comme descendant des étoiles et le refus de comprendre notre place dans l’univers. Ce lien intime qui nous uni avec la nature qui nous entoure a été machiavéliquement saboté et nous voilà maintenant devenus de misérables êtres incomplets et incompatibles avec le monde qui nous a vu naître. Errant sans but ni raison, effrayés et confus devant notre propre existence, ne sommes nous pas devenus que l’ombre de nous-mêmes?
Si on prend en considération tout ça plus le fait qu’il ne fallut pas moins de 14 milliards d’années d’évolution pour que l’univers puisse enfin accoucher de nous et prendre conscience de lui-même à travers nos yeux. N’est-il pas de notre devoir de se questionner à savoir si nous avons le droit de laisser tout ça tomber en ruine et finalement dans l’oubli? Sommes nous à ce point satisfaits de notre condition que nous pouvons nous permettre de nous admirer avec contemplation et béatitude? Est-il à ce point trop tard pour que la chenille ne devienne un jour papillon?
Voilà ce qui pourrait servir de postulat à Sol, le plus qu’admirable split de Mare Cognitum et Spectral Lore. Un questionnement bien lourd de sens, j’en conviens, mais oh comment important en des heures aussi creuses que les nôtres. Mais bien que, comme nous le verrons juste un peu plus loin, j’aille grandement apprécié la partie musicale de ce disque, je crois que la force de Sol réside dans l’effort mis pour étayer les idées et édifier le concept de celui-ci. Cet album thématique conçu par nos deux «one man band» est vrai délice. Il est d’une qualité sans équivoque et c’est un petit bijou qui doit être considéré comme un tout qui se complète mutuellement et non comme une simple plaquette qui réunit, pour l’instant d’un moment, deux artistes qui se questionnent – avec raison – sur l’arrogance de l’homme et sur la place que celui-ci n’arrive pas à réclamer comme héritier de l’univers et protecteur de son habitat en tant qu’espèce dominante.
J’ai d’ailleurs eu la chance d’avoir un court entretien avec Mr. Buczarsky (Mare Cognitum) à ce sujet et de ses propres aveux, cette collaboration est le fruit d’échange de courriel et de plusieurs heures de discussion que nos deux protagonistes ont passées à définir la direction qu’il voulait donner à cette union musicale.
Le résultat final en est rien de moins que deux gigantesques pièces de plus de 25 minutes chacune et d’une troisième instrumentale de presque 15. Un total de presque 70 minutes de musique biengrim qui vous fera voyager jusqu’aux confins de votre désarroi et de vos craintes. Tout ceci sans mentionner les frissons qui vous parcourront l’échine dorsale si vous prenez le temps de vivre le périple de Sol avec les textes à la main.
Le tout débute dans le calme de la pièce de Mare Cognitum, Sol Ouroboros.
Il y déjà quelques mois, je vous avais fait l’éloge du deuxième LP (http://ondeschocs.com/critique-dalbum-mare-cognitum-an-extraconscious-lucidity/)de cette formation et, à mon grand plaisir, ce titre est la suite parfaite à ce dernier. Il contient à lui seul tous les éléments qui font que j’adore tout simplement la musique de Mare Cognitum. Des guitares grinchantes, une voix sinistre, des atmosphères et des ambiances qui vous prennent à la gorge et vous glacent le sang et des interstices aux accents énigmatiques et lugubres. Tout y est pour un succès garanti.
Ce morceau exhibe aussi le généreux talent de l’artiste en question qui nous offre un black métal ambiant et mélodique avec de violents tressaillements death métal par-ci, par-là. À vrai dire, les influences de Mare Cognitum sont vastes et ne sont pas restreintes à une seule palette de couleurs mais plutôt à la totalité du spectre visible du métal extrême et cette qualité la rend riche en profondeur et en musicalité.
Et comme pour ainsi dire, arrivé au milieu de la pièce, Buczarsky décroche de sa trajectoire et se plaît à nous envoyer en orbite pour quelques minutes d’exploration dans les méandres de l’espace galactique. Il nous offre alors un magnifique passage ambiant qui nous cale confortablement dans notre siège pour ensuite nous ramener subtilement à la dure et triste réalité de la Terre. Suivra ensuite une finale explosive qui égalera la force d’une super-nova et la beauté d’une nébuleuse. Sol Ouroboros est définitivement une pièce complète en soi et représente peut-être le meilleur matériel offert par Mare Cognitum à ce jour et je ne peux faire autrement que de me languir d’envie pour le prochain LP de ce projet qui ne cesse de s’améliorer avec chaque nouvelle sortie.
Cependant, au-delà de tout mon enthousiasme , je crois que certains pourront peut-être se laisser tenter à croire que tout ça est du déjà vu ou du pré-mâché mais en ce qui me concerne, il n’en est rien. La recherche du son me semble être bien authentique et la démarche littéraire nous offre une prose qui n’a rien à envier même aux plus érudit des écrivains. L’emblématique de l’idée, la qualité de l’écriture et les métaphores utilisées pour exprimer la déchéance et la fuite de l’homme sont extrêmement intéressantes et évocatrices et c’est ce qui rend le tout, à mon avis, distinct et unique. Un travail exceptionnel et une approche qui pourrait savoir plaire même aux oreilles les plus exigeantes. Mais bon, à vous d’en juger!
Pour ce qui est de la pièce de Spectral Lore, je suis bien obligé d’avouer que je suis très surpris. Bien que je sois relativement familier avec cette formation native de la Grèce, et bien que j’avais vachement apprécié«z leur dernier effort «Sentinel», il reste que je ne fais pas jouer un de leur album très très souvent. Par contre, le morceau offert sur Sol, en est un qui cadre à la perfection avec le concept du disque. Comme à l’habitude, nous avons droit à un black ambiant qui ne pardonne pas et qui dégage un fiel des plus amères à travers les échos torturés d’une rythmique chaotique et orageuse et, comme je disais à l’instant, on ne pouvait espérer rien de mieux pour un split aux allures de Sol.
De plus, Ayloss, unique membre de Spectral Lore, pousse son raisonnement et la thématique de l’album encore plus loin. Pour lui, si l’humain achève sa quête vers la perfection et arrive à son apogée, il n’en résultera rien de moins que son anéantissement complet par l’arrêt de la recherche du mieux. Il doit donc être constamment en recherche d’identité et se redéfinir au gré des cycles qui se succèdent. Si le genre humain veux continuer de  s’améliorer et de s’achever en tant qu’être à part entière de ce monde, il doit lui-même se retirer de la course vers la «terre promise» et continuer son chemin. Selon lui, son salut ne peut se trouver que dans le rejet de cette idée. Par incidence, on comprendra que la pièce en est aussi beaucoup plus chaotique et plus «libérée», si on peut dire, que celle de Mare Cognitum.
Mais aussi, un peu étrangement et un peu à l’opposé de Sol Ouroboros, Sol Medius est une pièce beaucoup plus langoureuse, plus voluptueuse. Mais n’aller pas croire qu’elle est plus ennuyeuse pour autant, non, seulement que les sections ambiantes sont plus élaborées et semblent appartenir à la charpente même de la chanson. Elles sont comme les fondations et les poutres qui soutiennent la structure et qui lui donne toute la cohésion voulue pour tenir le bâtiment solidement en place. Tout semble être effectivement construit autour de ceux-ci et arrive à nous faire dériver dans le songe et la rêvasserie éveillée. Il ne restera alors qu’à s’abandonner à la pièce instrumentale finale composée à l’unisson par nos deux acteurs et qui termine ce EP comme il se doit.
Au final, Sol Medius est tout ce qui définit une bonne pièce de black ambiant mais aussi une bonne pièce progressive dans le sens où les riffs sont constamment poussés vers l’avant et ne regarde jamais derrière eux pour voir la traînée qu’ils ont laissée. Ils filent tel une comète et cela crée un mouvement ascendant qui fait monter la tension qui s’organise autour du morceau. La voix gutturale et profonde d’Ayloss donne aussi le ton à une ambiance ténébreuse et intrigante qui augmente davantage le mystère et l’angoisse recherchée. Pour tout dire, ce deuxième titre du split est une solide trame de fond qui auscultera les recoins les plus sombres de vos âmes impies.
Cependant et pour conclure, je dirais que l’ultime aboutissement de ce split est le fait qu’il réussit à accomplir ce qu’il doit accomplir. C’est-à-dire qu’il retrace l’épopée de l’homme à travers un superbe enchevêtrement musical et l’amène à se regarder lui-même et à contempler son achèvement. Il nous force à mettre en perspective notre propre existence face au désordre général qui règne ici-bas et nous reflète la possibilité de vivre mieux et de prendre conscience de notre place en tant qu’être unique, exceptionnel et intimement lié à la nature.

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INFERNAL MASQUERADE
Review by Dark Emperor

Featuring two very interesting and intense one-man Atmospheric Black Metal bands, today we have the split release between Spectral Lore (Greece) and Mare Cognitum (USA) titled “Sol”. Out on I, Voidhanger Records, this powerful release features one very long track from each band, and a rather peculiar dual-composition song that mixes both of their atmospheric strengths in a very hypnotic song.
Mare Cognitum does the honor of opening with a 29-minute epic titled “Sol Ouroboros”. This track nicely flows from the atmospheric intro into some very fast-paced and intense Black Metal sections. With all instruments, vocals, etc., handled by Jacob Buczarski, this band delivers quite an intricate dosage of moody BM that weaves back and forth between blistering speeds and atmospheric magic. There are some odd drone/noise-like sections here and there, only adding to the overall listening experience of this fine piece.
On the second 25-minute song, Spectral Lore announces its arrival with its intricate riffing and a very powerful-yet-refined BM aural assault. The subtle chilling atmospheric elements of this song make it quite effective and enjoyable. Also, the perfectly crafted dramatic slowdown allows it to be more diverse and engaging. While focusing more on creating a dissonant and cavernous atmosphere than the first track, “Sol Medius” provides a very dark and somber track that flows perfectly after the opener.
Composed by both Mare Cognitum and Spectral Lore, “Red Giant” is a very unique 14-minute track that combines both bands signature atmospheric elements creating a sleeping giant. The track slowly progresses through drone-ish landscapes giving off that Event Horizon movie vibe, totally chilling in our opinion. Overall, “Sol” is a very powerful and effective release. Both bands showcase their skills with monolithic tracks that never seem to get dull or old. If you like intelligent Atmospheric Black Metal, look no further and check this one out.
[89 out of 100]

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FROM THE DUST RETURNED
Review by Autothrall

There certainly exists a pantheon of 'great' split recordings throughout the expanded metalverse, but normally the format presents me with a bit of a quandary. Are these just two or more bands of the same genre being haphazardly slapped together? Because they are friends? Pen pals? Are they covering one another? Was this just a label's idea with a few favors being called in? It's not really my favorite means of ingesting music, but once in a while there will come a team-up which seeks to further the medium by providing a cohesive and consistent experience that feels more like a direct collaboration, and Sol is just such an experience, a dramatic and emotionally ebullient immersion into cosmic, atmospheric black metal that persists for 70 fucking minutes...
I was actually familiar going into this recording with both of the constituent artists. Spectral Lore's latest full-length Sentinel was a game changer among Greek black metal works, and though my reaction to Mare Cognitum's sophomore An Extraconscious Lucidity was more reserved, I still appreciated the potential here for a usurper to the ambient/black throne of fellow Californians Leviathan and Xasthur. Both are one man acts, which might have helped them ease this into a singular experience; for while you'll pick up a few of the distinct traits of each artist, they've done a superb job here of unifying their songwriting into a seamless expression of otherworldly resonance interjected with spurts of incendiary metallic techniques like blast beats, wretched star-extinguishing snarls and roiling, tremolo picked rhythm guitars which do not belie their Scandinavian influences (Emperor, etc). Synthesizers and soundscapes are in abundance, as one might have predicted, and they're used for both melodic lines to enhance the other instruments, and cosmic waves of careening harmony that thrive on their lonesome.
What I found interesting was the sequence here, with each act contributing a nearly 30 minute track, and then pairing up for shorter, purely ambient finale "Red Giant" which is structurally the simplest of the three, but no less poignant or brilliant. "Ouroboros" and "Medius" each have a lot more dynamic architecture to them, and are quite intimidating, but it was this last, soothing track that truly gelled over the experience. That said, both Jacob and Ayloss prove themselves independent forces with myriad instrumental skills, shifting riff formations that mirror their respective solo works. "Ouroboros" is slightly more substantial, with wider contrasts of calm and intensity that fluctuate between black and death metal progressions; while "Medius" has a lot more of that harmonic discharge and raw intensity to the guitars which is redolent of Sentinel, though undeniable a more ambitious format. The production felt a little cleaner for the first tune, but apart from that it would be impossible to choose a favorite, since they complement one another so well...like stars streaking in tandem through a nebula of loss and regret.
Admittedly, not all of the individual riffs were that inspirational, which is why it is so crucial that they balanced in the clouds of murk and void atmosphere; but there were certainly some uplifting moments in which the guitars, vocals and arrangements erupted into a glorious crescendo like an astral leviathan rising out of some spiral galaxy. Star-whales striding the space-lanes, mother fucker! The compositions aren't quite so nihilistic as something like Darkspace, instead balancing a brightness or celestial bodies against the suffocating vacuum between them, but that's exactly why I enjoyed this so much, because at each intersection I could never guess precisely where the floods of notes were going, and its held up for over four full listens as of this review, a laborious love letter to a universe which will has birthed us as surely as it will crush us.
[8,75 out of 10]

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ABOUTMETAL.COM
Review by
Evan Mugford

As close to being lost in space as you’ll ever get, the new split from one-man-bands Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum transports its listener intoSol, a three-track flight through black metal asteroid fields and the endless void that spreads maddening and infinite in their wake.
Songs one and two, “Sol Ouroboros” by Spectral Lore’s Nihilus Ayloss and “Sol Medius” by Mare Cognitum’s Jacob Buczarski, are celestial twins of sorts, running at nearly a half-hour each, and weaved together with affinities for crippling blackness and searing, beautiful light. The third track, “Red Giant,” which both artists created, is purely ambient, but an effectual exit from a split that sounds and acts like something bled from the cosmos.
[4 out of 5]

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DESTRUCTIVE MUSIC
Review by Luke Hayhurst

Three songs and sixty five minutes of ambient and atmospheric black metal hailing from Greece and the US? That doesn’t sound like a bad way to spend your time and this split release between Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum from the US promises or at least has the potential to excite with their new release “Sol”. After giving this a thorough listen I have to conclude that this is a very decent offering, one with many a twist and turn, the odd shot into left field and one that has obviously had a great deal of care and attention put into by both bands as there is nothing in the record that sounds of feels rushed or hurried. The first track is played by Mare Cognitum and of the two bands they are definitely the more aggressive yet they still devote a great deal of time to the more melodic and spacial aspects of their craft whilst Spectral Lore who pick up the second track feel much more ambient and relaxed whilst at the same time never losing the shroud of darkness that wraps itself like a blanket around everything they create. The final track is a joint effort between the two bands and the stand out track of the album by far, mixing both styles they create something truly epic beautiful and depressive and trust me when I say that this record is an hour well and truly well spent!
[8 out of 10]

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TEETH OF THE DIVINE
Review by E. Thomas

I am not sure I have ever heard a more perfect marriage on a split release than Sol, the 3 song, almost 70 fucking minute, Sun themed opus from two of the more exiting, new, one man black metal projects going right now. Both released stunning CDs last year; Mare Cognitum‘s An Extraconscious Lucidity, and Spectral Lore‘s Sentinel and split with Locust Leaves which ended up on my year end list.
First up is Mare Cognitum‘s “Sol Ourobouros” from American Jacob Buczarski, a sprawling, almost 30 minute number that renders a cosmic, ethereal beauty to shrill, epic black metal. And while a large chunk of the track is atmospherics and ambiance that imbues stars, novas and cosmic coldness, it collides beautifully with tremolo picked riffs, restrained marches and rasped shrieks. The track is enthralling and a kaleidoscopic journey through space and time and those transitions between black metal and spacey shimmering atmospherics make for a song that, while hardly a quick catchy listen, is simply hypnotic. In one song, Mare Cognitum pack what would be an entire ep’s worth of songs for many bands into one track. 12 minutes in gives the listener an extended mid song break to sit back and take in the depth of space, before the guitars fade back in with rapturous, regal authority and less vocals. The track ends with a surprisingly harsh, discordant couple of minutes, showing Buczarski can do more than just star gaze.
Spectral Lore‘s song, while a couple of minutes shorter is virtually the same breadth and scope in cosmic/spacey elegance, and I could rightfully copy and paste the above paragraph to describe it. There is equal majestic, cosmic black metal and cold, empyrean atmospheres befitting clusters of stars and galaxies forming. Both bands sound pretty similar on tone and structure, but Greek one man act Spectral Lore, has a slightly beefier back bone and just that slight edge in ability to craft memorable moments, not just a sprawling visage (as heard on “Duty” from the Locust Leaves Split). With “Sol Medius”, Spectral Lore brainchild Ayloss is able to craft a track of individual sonic vignettes such as the stunning bridge at 7:36 – 9.13. As with Mare Cognitum‘s track, there is an extended, mid song ambient break, and though the song takes a while to get going again, when it does come back with searing melodies and rousing synths at the 19:00 mark, its utterly breathtaking.
The last track is a 14 minute, combined atmospheric effort from both bands titled “Red Giant”. And while it fits the theme and vision of both bands, it is a bit of a letdown compared to the the 2 previous tracks, being a jangly, shimmery instrumental number that sounds like something played in the background at a Planetarium. Still, it does not change the fact Sol is arguably one of the best split releases of recent memory, as it is one of those rare splits that is worth your money for the amount of music contained and is the perfect fit where both acts are inherently linked by sound and concept as well as brilliant at delivering both.

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MEAT MEAD METAL
Review by Brian Krasman

I've never been to outer space before. I know. You’re shocked. But I’ve thought a lot about it and always wonder what’s lurking in giant pockets of space where no human ever has, or possibly ever will, see before. Are there other creatures? Is there technology elsewhere we can’t even wrap our heads around because we’re not even aware of life on that plane? Or is everything cold and isolated?
Apparently the bands 
Mare Cognitum and Spectral Lore also have those same wonders, and unless I’m totally missing some huge news story, they also have not traveled the universe. At least not physically. Each are one-man projects, each coming from different parts of the globe, but when it comes to imagining what the great beyond holds, they’re not that far away from each other. Perhaps that’s part of what inspired their new conjoined effort “Sol,” a three-track, nearly 70-minute album of bleak black metal, lung-filling atmosphere, and chilling ambiance. The two artists each get their own track on “Sol,” each song lasting nearly a half hour each, and they combine for the cosmic, dreamy finale, putting both of their ambitions on display at once.
Mare Cognitum we visited last year with the release of the stunning “An Extraconscious Lucidity,” a record that also focused on the universe and reveled in the chaos of cosmic events. Sole creator Jacob Buczarski always manages to captivate and enthrall with this project, as he has over the course of two full-lengths. He’s at it again on “Sol,” where his knack for savagery is perfect for balancing out the serenity. Spectral Lore is the project headed by Ayloss, of Greece, who has drummed up three full-length records and a few split efforts since coming to life in 2005. He focuses on similar subject matter as Buczarski, which is why this union makes perfect sense, and their combined forces make “Sol” an astonishing listen, one that’s perfect for when you just want to stretch out and dream what may be out there.
Mare Cognitum kick off this collection with “Sol Ouroboros,” that starts with a slow, eerie build that stretches out over a few minutes and lets you breathe in the atmosphere. The song grows more spacious, like you’re slowly hurtling toward the deeper ends of the galaxy, and Buczarski eventually unleashes some echoey growls as the song heads into strange shadows and soupy weirdness. The track has some disarming melody that gives you a sense of ease as you slip in frozen isolation, and the last portion leans into prog, great black metal adventurousness, and a finale that’ll catapult you into the next chapter of this story. More great work from Mare Cognitum, a project that deserves more attention and adulation for making huge soundscapes cut with metallic intensity. The song doesn’t even feel half as long as it is, it flows so well.
Spectral Lore’s track “Sol Medius” follows, and it opens with a windy ambiance and progressive doom sludginess, and then the song totally bursts open with chaos and punishment that’s from the stars. The melodies build on each other and surge through the song, lighting up the night’s sky and pushing you toward an emotional high. The song then dips into calm—this becomes a theme, by the way, as it continually goes from harsh to soft—only to explode again and spit light in your face. This song is a constant up and down ride, in a really good way, and once it fades into slow doom, you might find yourself breathless from the journey you just took.
The two artists combine for the final cut “Red Giant,” a 15-minute dose of thick drone and noise hiss that ever so slowly builds in intensity over its running time but never supernovas. Nor should it. The idea here isn’t to scar you but fully soundtrack the incredible disappearance into the great blackness, your body’s eternal trip into places no human ever has explored before. It’s a swooshing, swirling chunk of noise drone that puts a fitting ending on this joint work.
Obviously this type of record will find a niche audience and isn’t there for people who need brutal blasts in four-minute chunks. You need to let this record sink in, and you have to be a willing participant in order to get the most out of “Sol.” My many visits with this record have been fruitful and rewarding, and it  sparked my cosmic dreams anew. These are two groups meant to create stories together, and hopefully they find time to do this again.

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BREATH OF MOZYM
Review by Vile Heathen

This is a split between Spectral Lore (Greece) and one-man-band Mare Cognitum (US). And it’s really not just a split—it’s a collaboration.
As the album art suggests, this black metal is cosmic on the most brazen of levels.
We begin with the soft sounds of atmosphereic post-black metal. Oh wait I’m wrong blast beats.
Very smoothely polished. The vocals are very watery with reverb aplenty. The guitars could use a bit more punch, but the production of the “atmospheric” elements is fucking superb. It sounds like I’m in a planetarium that’s haunted by tortured spirits. And the heavy parts sound devastating and mechanical.
The tracks are very long—between 15 and 30 minutes, and there’s only three of them. They segments of each track flow and intermingle beautifully.
I do feel like the strongest part of the split is the atmospheric parts. What? The last track is a quarter hour of spacy atmospheric shit?

[4,5 out of 5]

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ROCK OVERDOSE
Review by Ntokopoulos Minos

Όταν έλαβα το συγκεκριμένο split album για να το ακούσω, πίστευα ότι επρόκειτο απλά για ένα ακόμα δίσκο συνεργασίας ανάμεσα σε δύο συγκροτήματα που μπορεί να άνηκαν ή και να μην άνηκαν στην ίδια μουσική σκηνή.  Είναι σίγουρο ότι το μυαλό μου δεν θα μπορούσε να πάει στο ότι το “Sol” αποτελεί έναν πραγματικό δίσκο συνεργασίας ανάμεσα στον Αμερικανό Jacob Buczarski των MARE COGNITUM και τον Έλληνα Ayloss των SPECTRAL LORE. Και όταν λέω συνεργασία, εννοώ κανονική συνεργασία, μιας και όπως ανακοίνωσαν οι δύο μουσικοί υπάρχει συσχετισμός ανάμεσα στα μουσικά θέματα και τα riff, και οι στίχοι γράφτηκαν παράλληλα.
Το “Sol” αποτελείται από 3 κομμάτια συνολικής διάρκειας 70, παρακαλώ, λεπτών, με το τελευταίο να αποτελεί και αυτό καρπό συνεργασίας των δύο μουσικών. Ακούγοντας τα δύο πρώτα κομμάτια, αντιλαμβάνεσαι ότι όντως έχουν κοινά θέματα, αφού και τα δύο ανεβάζουν τη μουσική και την ατμόσφαιρα σε κοσμικά επίπεδα, συνοδεύοντας τον ακροατή σε ένα πανέμορφο ταξίδι που διασχίζει το σύμπαν, ένα ταξίδι σαγηνευτικό, σκοτεινό, παγωμένο που σε φέρνει σε επαφή με άλλες διαστάσεις. Και για να γίνει αυτό εφικτό, οι δύο μπάντες χρησιμοποιούν ευρύτατα διάφορα samples, πλήκτρα, ηχητικά εφέ και ambient μελωδίες. Και μη νομίζετε βέβαια ότι το ταξίδι αυτό θα είναι ήρεμο σαν μια βόλτα στο πάρκο. Πέρα από σκοτεινή, η ατμόσφαιρα είναι συχνά λυπητερή, εξαιτίας κυρίως των θλιμμένων post-rock μελωδιών σε συνδυασμό με τις απόμακρες κραυγές, ενώ σε αρκετά σημεία αποκτά ένα νεκρικό, θα λέγαμε, χαρακτήρα, κυρίως στα αργά σημεία, με τα αργά και μοχθηρά φωνητικά, που είναι λες και φτύνουν δηλητήριο. Υπάρχουν, επίσης, σημεία όπου ενώ έχεις χαλαρώσει από τις ωραίες υπνωτιστικές μελωδίες, σου σκάει ξαφνικά ένα βαρύ distorted strum που σε στέλνει αδιάβαστο.
Το “Sol Ouroboros” των MARE COGNITUM είναι θα λέγαμε πιο ατομσφαιρικό, αφού κινείται στο μεγαλύτερο μέρος του σε πιο αργούς ρυθμούς, αν και υπάρχουν κάποια σημεία όπου η ταχύτητα ανεβαίνει δραστικά, με γρήγορα riffs και blast beats, σε πιο παραδοσιακές Black Metal μελωδίες, ενώ 3 λεπτά πριν τελειώσει αποκτά ένα blackened Death Metal χαρακτήρα με βαριά riffs και δίκαση. Το “Sol Medius” των SPECTRAL LORE, έχει και αυτό τα ίδια χαρακτηριστικά πάνω κάτω, αλλά είναι σαφώς πιο έντονο σε όλα τα μέρη που δεν είναι αργό, σε σχέση πάντα με το “Sol Ouroboros”. Επίσης, σε κάποιες στιγμές η μουσική μοιάζει συγκεχυμένη, χωρίς βέβαια αυτό να ενοχλεί, αφού δένει ωραία με τη γενικότερη ατμόαφαιρα. Το τελευταίο κομμάτι, που δημιουργήθηκε από κοινού, το “Red Giant”, απομακρύνεται μουσικά από τα άλλα δύο, αφού είναι καθόλη τη διάρκειά του αργό, ατμοσφαιρικό και παίζει πάρα πολύ με ωραίες ambient μελωδίες.
Το “Sol”, όπως είπα, είναι ένα πολύ όμορφο ταξίδι, το οποίο σου δίνει τη δυνατότητα να εξερευνήσεις κάθε γωνιά του σύμπαντος. Η παραγωγή του δίσκου είναι θολή και πραγματικά απογειώνει το τελικό αποτέλεσμα, ενώ πολλές φορές οι μελωδίες, αλλά και κάποια φωνητικά και κραυγές, που ακούγονται στο βάθος, δημιουργούν ένα απόκοσμο αίσθημα. Ένας δίσκος που θα πρέπει να έχετε στην κατοχή σας.
[85 out of 100]

 
 

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LINKS

SPECTRAL LORE   Bandcamp     ///     MARE COGNITUM   Bandcamp  -  Facebook

 

 
 

 

"STELLAR WINDS BLOW
UNTIL YOUR LIFE ENDS"
[MARE COGNITUM]

 

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