These days itโ€™s almost a bit cliched to be a one-man black metal project, yet as commercially available technology has allowed for increasingly complex compositions and professional production, the lines have become pretty blurred.

Mare Cognitum is the atmospheric black metal project of Jacob Buczarski and, ten years in, heโ€™s really hitting his stride.

Last year, Mare Cognitum teamed up with fellow one-man black metal project, Spectral Lore, for a split. However, this wasnโ€™t your usual few-tracks-from-each split. This was Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine – a two-hour juggernaut of solar system themed beautiful atmospheric black metal. Each track focussed on a single planet, with MC and SL dividing the tracks equally, ending with a 2-part 23 minute collaborative opus to Pluto to close it all out.

The album is a triumph in every way – artistically, conceptually, collaboratively, compositonally… and was deservedly lauded by critics and black metal enthusiasts last year.

The reason I am focussing so much on the leviathan effort of Wanderers is that on March 19 this year, a year and six days since Wanderersโ€™ release, Mare Cognitum released a new album – Solar Paroxysm – and that album is, quite literally, the best album Iโ€™ve heard so far this year.

Solar Paroxysm is just under an hour but it feels considerably shorter. Dynamic songwriting and varied musical elements keep the listening experience fresh for the runtime, managing to be relentlessly harsh and ethereally beautiful simultaneously.

Continuing with the interstellar concepts he is known for, Mare Cognitum has followed a magnum opus like Wanderers with an album that I would consider a masterpiece. It is insane.