MareFour hefty slabs are presented to us. Yet at first it seemed they’re not as monolithic as the title of this album from the man from Santa Ana might suggest. Progressive black metal is a description I read. The sound of the wind can be heard behind a quiet and delicate tune. But “Weaving the Thread of Transcendence” picks in post metal style. It’s dark and crunchy, yet powerful and melancholically deep. It even changes into something lighter. It’s always measured but maintains a threat level. A cosmic roar returns. The drums lead with an intricate pattern. This weaving thread is suggestive, become increasingly heavy over its thirteen minute course. There’s a post metal ring which draws you in. There are ghastly empty cries. What is already intense becomes more so as this cosmic kaleidoscope races off into a sea of majestic black metal. This mood continues with “Entropic Hallucinations”, a mere eight minutes in length. In spite of the fire from the drums, the majestic air and the sense that all hell has broken loose, I couldn’t see any sense of purpose.

The gloomy coldness is reinforced by the uncompromising “Noumenon”. The rage is toned down but whilst it is atmospheric and measured, it takes a while for its full epic impact to embed itself. It’s not so cosmic as harsh and moody. The scenery changes over the thirteen minute chunk of heaviness but although there is intent and menace, this story outlasted its welcome less than half way through and left me cold in the wrong way. “Ephemeral Eternities” takes off in another direction with cosmic motions before the thunder rolls in again and sweeping sounds of warfare and chaos take over. Again the intensity cannot be denied but it’s like the black metal version of a long report with a lot of fire and vitriol but without any objective or outcome.

There were elements of “Phobos Monolith” that I liked very much, especially when it explored cosmic atmospheres and indulged in epic post metal. The fiery black metal passages were ok but were overplayed to the point of losing any meaning. It seemed to take a lot of time to say not very much. For that reason, I didn’t particularly enjoy this album which for large parts went over the top of my head and escaped me.

(5/10 Andrew Doherty)