Cult Of Luna

Eternal Kingdom

Written by: EW on 28/07/2008 22:53:08

I bought the recent Cult of Luna album, "Eternal Kingdom", from having heard interesting things about them and their musical output and realising that I knew nothing about what to me was a 'scene'/sound that had always passed me by. Probably mistakenly as I hope some of you can correct me on, but I had always grouped CoL, Neurosis and Isis together, performing some kind of sound, often called 'post-metal' or something equally pretentious. Having listened to "Eternal Kingdom" many times now, and read on their Metal-Archives page that they are "Atmospheric Sludge/Progressive Metal/Post-Hardcore", which means nothing to me, I am still completely clueless as to a pigeonhole for them. This is great because it means I listen to this with no preconceptions, no real idea of similar bands or even their previous albums - the best way of listening to a band or album.

For the above reasons I have found "Eternal Kingdom" difficult to review but I shall give it my best shot. The one hour of music I spent my money on is of a generally slow pace but is not doomy per-se, full of discordant sounding riffs, pleasant sections of feedback-laden soundscapes and a vocal style part-barked, part-hoarse and part-gargle, something all new to me. I particularly like the ambient free-flowing moments, such as "Ugin" which make me think of the pleasantness of the latest Earth album and the mellower moments of Katatonia (a band that I so frequently seem to hear in albums). The feel of the album can be summed up as being quite loose, especially as it nears its end through "Following Betulas", where the sound of brass can be detected and the flow is even looser than earlier. Album highlight "Ghost Trail", strong in its Earth-isms, is a journey in its own, morphing from a freeform jazzy feel through settlements of sweetly played solos to pastures of heavier imposing riffs and beyond in its 12 minutes, giving the feel you've traveled a long way since it kicked off. The tone could be said to be rather monotonous, for the pace and rhythmic base of songs like "The Great Migration" and "Curse" fall squarely in the doom category of slow and somber, but have the added exponent of at least one guitar playing off the rest to produce greater melody and progression than mere slow (which I do love, don't forget!). The benefit of having three/four guitarists in a band I s'pose.

Worthy of mention is the great album artwork and layout, which is always pleasing to someone of the old-school like I in an age when many fans of the band may not even see it. A lot of effort has clearly gone into the making of "Eternal Kingdom" as the songs feel languid yet full of pent-up aggression, much to do with Klas Rydberg's vocal style, and like the band are just holding back from full-out explosion. This is complicated stuff but doesn't feel like it; it can be both draining and invigorating depending on which point you the listener are at. I've no idea how it compares to the Swede's previous four albums, but I do know I will be checking them out on the basis of "Eternal Kingdom".

8

Download: Ghost Trail, The Great Migration, Following Betulas
For The Fans Of: Earth, Neurosis
Listen: Myspace
Buy: iTunes

Release date 16.06.08
Earache Records

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