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Cult of Luna - Eternal Kingdom CD (album) cover

ETERNAL KINGDOM

Cult of Luna

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.70 | 36 ratings

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Dim
Prog Reviewer
3 stars What goes up must come down.

Cult of Luna is my favorite metal band that's still together, and arguably my third favorite band to exist. Their 2006 album somewhere along the Highway is a masterpiece of masterpieces, and is what I see the perfect bridge between post rock, and post metal. So as you may have guessed I was incredibly excited for this album, and had very high expectations. Wen I got it, I was ecstatic, I could barely contain my enthusiasm at home. After the first listen, I didn't know what to think, whether it lived up to my expectations or not... since then I have decided that it's not the next somewhere along the Highway, in fact, it's not even as good as Salvation, but it's still awesome.

In interviews, CoL have explained that they were ready to move on from delay pedals and atmospherics, and return to the pre-Salvation days. Well, in a sense they did, but the music is much smarter, and whether they know it or not, carries a great atmosphere. I wont venture to say this is their most progressive album yet, the music is a little more technical, and the concept is much more tangible than the last two albums by the band. If you want to listen to the album I recommend you read about the concept first. I'll give you a brief explanation: Cult of Luna rehearsed for this album in an old mental institution that was active no later than the thirties, while digging around, they found a diary of a patient who killed his wife. In this diary, the man writes a story about what really happened to his wife, and it ends up going into an incredible fantasy story, where he gets caught up in a war between the good animal man hybrids of where he lives, and the bad and their evil master Ugin. Seriously though, please find the whole story before listening, t helps the album run a lot smoother.

The music, like I said, not nearly as post rocky, the first song owlwood starts on a very dissonant chord, and quickly jumps into a typical CoL down stroke/crazy drumming tour de force, with Klas screaming his lungs out. One of the best benefits of this albums is that the vocals are a million times better than their last, Klas and Johannes have learned to utilize their post hardcore screams to fit the music better than ever, often both screaming together, just showing that they don't need delayed guitars to show emotion. Instead of the big burly voice of Salvation, the screaming has turned more into typical hardcore/metalcore screams, which I absolutely love. Anyways the song does have some post rocky guitar work in the climax, but quickly dies down into what I think is CoL's best clean guitar performance (behind Dim), without having to drop all the other instruments. The album goes to the title track, Eternal Kingdom, but do sent impress to much, except that the strumming is a little different, and there isn't a lot of use of the mechanical power chords they use. Then the album goes into one of the best Cult songs to date, Ghost trail. Starting with some odd, dark riffing, and some under mixed vocals, the song quickly picks up to the recycling of two or three chords that fans of the band have come to know as the single most powerful technique the band, and most other post metal bands use, cause they know the beautiful delayed guitars come, and that the layering will get thicker, the drumming harder, and the vocals at their most emotive. This song lives up to this, and better, the band even manages to throw in a very technical riff that helps the song climax to points no other band has dared to go, and when you think they can go any further, all three guitars drop to the two or three chords being played, and Klas goes on to demonstrate one of his most powerful vocal performances yet.

The album goes on to a different array of songs, some of them minute long interludes, the others between five and eight minute long power launches, but like the title song, few of these songs succeed in pulling me in, and give me the feeling that my organs are collapsing on me, but I'm too powerless to do anything about it, except one of the last ones, Curse, a Powerhouse of a song, with one of the darkest and heaviest riffs this side of Salvation.

If you've heard Somewhere along the highway, the first two things you'll notice are theses: 1- The clean vocals are COMPLETELY gone. 2- There is almost no use of keyboards outside of backing atmospheres. Quite frankly, for me, these are what I was looking forward to the most. After that you'll start missing the delayed guitars, and the soft sections, and you may even wish they'd control the drumming a little more. Bottom line is, they wanted to go off the grind with this one, and in doing that, they dropped a lot of stuff that I really loved, while definitely improving on showcasing their musicianship, and lyrics, this is not the same Cult of Luna as the one that made SAtH. A good album, but not a great one, three stars.

Dim | 3/5 |

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