SPECTRAL LORE/ MARE COGNITUM "Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine"
SPECTRAL LORE/MARE COGNITUM “Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine”
In the almost infinite vastness of the universe, the planets of the solar system are our cozy neighbors. They are the hood we dwell in. We know them better than any other object in the cosmos except our own planet. Yes, I include Pluto in that...to me, Pluto has always been and will always be a planet.
Here are two mystical metal bands from the avant-garde I, Voidhanger label that have teamed up to create a concept album devoted to the nine planets of our solar system. SPECTRAL LORE I’m well familiar with and they are perfectly suited for such a project. MARE COGNITUM I’m not quite as familiar with.
Each of the planets has its own personality...stormy Venus, war-like Mars, majestic Saturn. The two bands here try to find the musical personality of each planet. If it’s on the I, Voidhanger label, you know you’re gonna have some long friggin’ songs and this doesn’t disappoint. The shortest here is 8 and a half minutes; the total time for the record is almost two hours. If you like long, atmospheric metal songs that wander and meander, this is the jackpot for you.
Each band has four songs to itself before they cooperate on the last two. MARE COGNITUM’s tracks deal with Mars, Venus, Jupiter and Neptune. On the whole, their songs tend to be a bit more aggressive, with a more obvious black metal influence, especially in the raw, harsh vocals. But there’s still plenty of room for spacier, more trance-inducing moments, especially on “Jupiter”(The Giant), which captures the immense mass of the largest planet. SPECTRAL LORE has a bit more room for experimentation and contemplative melody on their tracks, which deal with Mercury, Earth, Saturn and Uranus. These tracks remind me of the more cosmic moments of BLUT AUS NORD, another band not afraid to deal with celestial sounds.
The last two cuts find the bands working together. Both cuts deal with Pluto, the last of the nine. The first song has a great stretch of ambient sound like the wind between the worlds, cold and glacial, before getting heavy. The heaviness has a hugely majestic feel that I could listen to for hours. The second Plutonian tune ends with an angry thrust of death metal.
Yes, there were a couple of times during the album when my eyes kind of glazed over due to length and repetition, but on the whole, “Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine” is a very effective and powerful attempt to translate our solar neighbors into a metal format.