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I wasn't aware of California's Mare Cognitum before last year when sole member Jacob Buczarski released the group's third record, Phobos Monolith via I, Voidhanger. That album was a fine primer on the basic points of Buczarski's style: sharp black metal with a deep space aesthetic and long song lengths. Like most atmospheric black metal bands, the ideal listening condition is total immersion. Unlike most atmospheric black metal bands, I found the music solid enough to listen to the whole thing.

Buczarski's work goes for the same sweet, dreamlike effect that I think both Myrkur and Liturgy have dabbled in. The difference is that Mare Cognitum makes the hi-fi black metal vibe work without coming across like a slap in the face.

I like the second Mare Cognitum record, 2012's An Extraconscious Lucidity, even better than the third. The songs are more digestible and the melodies are a bit more focused. That album was only released via download, as well as 150 CD-R's, but Buczarski has remastered the record, which will be released with new artwork and a 12-page booklet with lyrics, again by I, Voidhanger.

I don't have a favorite label, but I admire what I, Voidhanger is doing right now: focusing on progressive acts that don't rely on technicality or gimmicks to give their songs flavor. We're streaming a second album from the label tomorrow—one that isn't a reissue.

The second edition, streaming below, sounds quite different from the first. The vocals are a bit harder to hear, but the guitars and electronic elements sound more well-defined than the original pressing.

Buczarski had the following to say about the reissue. “The reissue of An Extraconscious Lucidity is really the release of a completely new album. Although I decided to call it a remaster for simplicity's sake, it is a lot more than that, as I dug into each piece of the original recordings and drew out what I felt was missing in the first release. Now, with more powerful sound and visual presentation, I feel that this is the album I wanted to release three years ago finally becoming reality. It is really the completion of an unfinished work - so you are truly experiencing An Extraconscious Lucidity for the first time."

—Joseph Schafer

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An Extraconscious Lucidity will be released on September 25 via I, Voidhanger. Follow Mare Cognitum on Facebook here.

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