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Spectral Lore / Mare Cognitum - Wanderers: Astrology Of The Nine [Collaboration] review




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Reviewer:
8.0

60 users:
8.07
Band: Spectral Lore / Mare Cognitum
Album: Wanderers: Astrology Of The Nine [Collaboration]
Release date: March 2020


01. Spectral Lore - Mercury (The Virtuous)
02. Mare Cognitum - Mars (The Warrior)
03. Spectral Lore - Earth (The Mother)
04. Mare Cognitum - Venus (The Priestess)
05. Mare Cognitum - Jupiter (The Giant)
06. Spectral Lore - Saturn (The Rebel)
07. Mare Cognitum - Neptune (The Mystic)
08. Spectral Lore - Uranus (The Fallen)
09. Spectral Lore & Mare Cognitum - Pluto (The Gatekeeper) Part I: Exodus Though The Frozen Wastes
10. Spectral Lore & Mare Cognitum - Pluto (The Gatekeeper) Part II: The Astral Bridge


Is it a split? Is it a compilation? Yes!

Generally, there are two types of collaborative records. Well, three if you count the VAs, where a bunch of artists all contribute one song, sometimes all of them covering the same artist. But nevermind, for the purpose of this review, we'll only consider the other two. First there is the collaborative record proper, in which the entire album is written and performed by members of both bands together. And then there's the split, where each artist contributes with one of more songs individually (and my favorite type is the one where they cover each other's songs). Well, lately I've seen a couple more records that walk the line between these two songs. Wanderers: Astrology Of The Nine has both individual Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum songs, and songs where the two collaborate. Needless to say, our cataloging-obsessed website has a hard time deciding how to properly catalog this album in our database.

Only two of the songs are collaborations, so a bigger chunk of it is a split, but we add splits as EPs, and it feels damn wrong to call an almost-two-hour-long album a split. If only we had a precedent for it. Except we totally do. It seems that this album (or rather this exact situation) has happened again. Seven years ago, these exact two bands, also released Sol, an album similar to Wanderers: Astrology Of The Nine albeit with half the runtime and only three tracks, in which each of the bands had an individual track and there was also one collaborative track. And despite that being an hour in runtime, we call it a split EP. Maybe in the future we will have some changes in regards to how we catalog collaborations and splits, so who knows how this will be cataloged at the time of you reading this review. Bold of me to assume people will read this, right?

Fucking hell, I spent 300 words just explaining our split/collab dilemma and 0 words talking about the actual music. And there's two hours of it. Well, it's Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum. It's black metal that sounds like space, what else do you want me to say?

Okay, okay, but only because you asked me nicely. Wanderers: Astrology Of The Nine is probably the best solar system-themed music since Gustav Holst unleashed The Planets, Op. 32 (if you haven't listened to that yet, what the hell are you doing with your life, it's one of the best pieces of 21st century orchestral music). What Wanderers: Astrology Of The Nine has that The Planets, Op. 32 doesn't is (besides adding Earth and Pluto, and almost ordering the songs/suites by their distance from the sun) mountains of blast beats, tremolo pickings and shrieks that feel as cold as the heat-less space between these planets. I mean, one approach would've been to make the black metal colder as further away from the sun we got, but that's none of my business.

Those who have been reading my reviews regularly (all two of you) will notice that I'm often quite critical of albums that are longer than they need to be. It should be expected I'd get my boredom meter up considering we have two full hours of atmospheric black metal, but surprisingly I did listen to this album quite often for its length. I admittedly often pair it with reading, to which its long runtime is actually a benefit, since I don't let my lazy ass put the book down until the music stops, but also because the music is fairly immersive and it never feels like it drags on as much as it could for... you know... two damn hours. Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum (who I must ashamedly admit I mistook for Midnight Odyssey on more than one occasion) are among the very few one man black metal bands who can actually make really long songs work. And for songs that long, you'd expect a huge deal of emphasis would just be in creating and maintaining an atmosphere, but both bands don't really overstretch their songs that way too much, and there are actually plenty of melodies, pace changes and drone injections, depending on the band performing. If you're gonna make a long album, go big or go home. I'd rather boast about a two-hour long album, than have 15 minutes of my time spent on filler back, which is thankfully about as much as I'd get close to considering cutting from this.

Both bands are fairly similar in sound, but with more listens, the bits and pieces of their different approaches become a bit more clear, Spectral Lore being the more focused on drone and melody, and Mare Cognitum on bigger riffs. And whenever I keep that in mind, I find plenty of occasions where it feels like the actual opposite due to how great they both are at what they do and how versatile they are. When they do collaborate, on that last two tracks, ironically both of them dedicated to the only planet that isn't actually a planet, their approaches blend so well that they almost overshadow the hour and a half that came before it.

Obviously, it is not without its flaws. For one, they switched Venus and Mars for some reason. And they also didn't even mention Ziggy Stardust when talking about Mars. Wack.






Written on 18.04.2020 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments

Comments: 14   Visited by: 114 users
18.04.2020 - 15:24
nikarg
Mod
You can count on both Mare Cognitum and Spectral Lore to provide quality atmospheric black metal. Phobos Monolith by the former, and III and the Gnosis EP by the latter are extremely good releases. This one is definitely hard to listen in one sitting due to its length, but it is a very interesting and immersive piece of music. It works very well when played in the background but there are also many head-turning moments that stand out. We tend to have shorter and shorter attention span, and I am guilty of that too. But sometimes it is good to just sit back and listen, because the reward is worth the time and the effort.
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18.04.2020 - 16:26
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 18.04.2020 at 15:24

You can count on both Mare Cognitum and Spectral Lore to provide quality atmospheric black metal. Phobos Monolith by the former, and III and the Gnosis EP by the latter are extremely good releases. This one is definitely hard to listen in one sitting due to its length, but it is a very interesting and immersive piece of music. It works very well when played in the background but there are also many head-turning moments that stand out. We tend to have shorter and shorter attention span, and I am guilty of that too. But sometimes it is good to just sit back and listen, because the reward is worth the time and the effort.

I am definitively guilty of the shorter attention span too, but I strangely found that I either want my albums to be really concise or really long. I'd rather listen to an ambient album that is 100 minutes rather than 60 minutes long, or a black metal album that is 40 minutes rather than 70 minutes long.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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18.04.2020 - 19:24
nikarg
Mod
Written by RaduP on 18.04.2020 at 16:26

I am definitively guilty of the shorter attention span too, but I strangely found that I either want my albums to be really concise or really long. I'd rather listen to an ambient album that is 100 minutes rather than 60 minutes long, or a black metal album that is 40 minutes rather than 70 minutes long.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to how good the music is. It's that simple I think.
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18.04.2020 - 19:25
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 18.04.2020 at 19:24

At the end of the day, it all comes down to how good the music is. It's that simple I think.

Oh, absolutely
----
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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18.04.2020 - 20:32
Rating: 8
musclassia

Yeah this is an intimidating listen, but on the one listen I have given it so far (it's not something you can just 'squeeze in'), I was impressed at how little filler there seemed to be in it. I kinda wanted it to suck a bit when I first saw the runtime so that I wouldn't find myself having to return to it but alas the first impression was great.

It seems to have gotten more attention than these artists usually do as well - Loudwire stuck it in their '20 best albums of this decade so far' alongside a host of huge name that would make it regardless of how good their music is (Ozzy case in point), which is nice for Spectral Lore in particular, as he's been putting out interesting (if excessively long) music for a while.
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18.04.2020 - 20:52
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by musclassia on 18.04.2020 at 20:32

It seems to have gotten more attention than these artists usually do as well - Loudwire stuck it in their '20 best albums of this decade so far' alongside a host of huge name that would make it regardless of how good their music is (Ozzy case in point), which is nice for Spectral Lore in particular, as he's been putting out interesting (if excessively long) music for a while.

If even Loudwire is singing their praises, that's gotta mean something
----
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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18.04.2020 - 21:27
The Entity

"Is it a split? Is it a compilation? Yes!" - Perfect way to open a review of this release
I have only been able to give it a few "sessions" of listens so far, too long to sit through in my busy everyday life but I really enjoy what I hear. And it really works listening to one song of each band at a time too
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https://enigmaticalofficial.bandcamp.com/
Industrial / Cosmic Black Metal
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18.04.2020 - 21:41
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by The Entity on 18.04.2020 at 21:27

"Is it a split? Is it a compilation? Yes!" - Perfect way to open a review of this release
I have only been able to give it a few "sessions" of listens so far, too long to sit through in my busy everyday life but I really enjoy what I hear. And it really works listening to one song of each band at a time too

That is understandable. I took so long to write this because of how hard it was to find time for it.
----
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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18.04.2020 - 22:22
DeliciousDishes
always right
I don't think I have the strength or attention span to consciously listen to all of this...
Great review and I kind of want to hear that "black metal getting colder with higher distance from the sun" album now.

Btw they also switched Uranus and Neptune.
----
You are the hammer, I am the nail
building a house in the fire on the hill
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18.04.2020 - 22:25
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by DeliciousDishes on 18.04.2020 at 22:22

Btw they also switched Uranus and Neptune.

This ruined my day
----
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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18.04.2020 - 22:32
DeliciousDishes
always right
Written by RaduP on 18.04.2020 at 22:25

This ruined my day

I'm sorry
----
You are the hammer, I am the nail
building a house in the fire on the hill
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18.04.2020 - 23:45
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
I admit that I've only listened to this in full once, so perhaps it requires more attention, but when I did I didn't really notice too huge a difference between the Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum tracks. They seemed to almost blur together in a sense. Not a bad release but my first impression is kinda "good but dull"
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Check out Apothecary's Favorite Bands Playlist, brotendo. One track per band.
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19.04.2020 - 17:54
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Mate. I read all of your review s only i dont comment all. It was long intro... Btw
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Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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29.09.2020 - 12:57
dekinridoine

Hello everyone! I would like to ask you where I can study numerology. Perhaps one of you can tell me some schools of numerology. So far, I study numerology only from materials and resources from libraries and the Internet. By the way one of the best sites about numerology is numerologyangel.com. There is a lot of useful information there, but I would like to improve my knowledge even more and an online school would be a great solution for me. I couldn't find any online numerology schools on the Internet so I'm hoping for your help!
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