Label: I, Voidhanger Records
It wasn’t so long ago that I was writing about atmospheric black metal taking its inspiration not from imagined forests and mountains, but from the infinite possibilities of space. Whereas the best known band doing so – Darkspace – do so from the idea of space being cold, empty, and unknowably vast, Mare Cognitum‘s take is more akin to an action sci-fi movie. Sure, Luminiferous Aether may be filled with tension and fairly sparse build-ups – as you would expect with atmospheric black metal – but there are also moments filled with dazzling explosions and adrenaline rushes.
There’s a lot of beauty in Luminiferous Aether, most notably in the tremolo-picked leads and melodies, which are hugely atmospheric and emotionally charged – for large sections, this album is well suited to gazing at the stars, allowing your cosmic insignificance to wash over you in a manner that is almost cathartic. Yet there’s also real aggression here, with fourth track ‘Occultated Temporal Dimensions’ especially channeling that kind of cosmic annihilation the likes of Deathspell Omega have popularized. It’s an unusual track on an atmospheric black metal album, but one that helps the record stand out.