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Cult of Luna - The Beyond CD (album) cover

THE BEYOND

Cult of Luna

 

Experimental/Post Metal

3.15 | 26 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
3 stars 'The Beyond' - Cult Of Luna (5/10)

In a time before acclaimed post-metal act Cult of Luna found their sound and calling with a more progressive approach, the band was known for their work with sludge. With a primal and hardcore edge to them, their self-titled debut and this, 'The Beyond' deliver quite a different side to the act than one can hear with the more atmospheric work. Soaked in heaviness and a side order of anger to go, Cult Of Luna's second album does get the sense of sheer heaviness and mood across, but it is sparse in detail and nuances, and coupled with its highly repetitive nature, the album can wear quite thin.

At seventy-four minutes in length, even a truly excellent album would begin to lose its grip on the listener, saving the exception of a perfect masterpiece. 'The Beyond' unfortunately does not have the variety or dynamic to warrant such a length, and it is its length which ironically becomes its greatest weakness. While the heavy drone and holler of the music here has its place and at times can be quite powerful, there is very little noticeable change between tracks; most compositions here usually entail repetitive chord progressions, sludgy riffs, mid-tempo drums and deep growls. Were the album cut down to forty minutes of its greatest ideas and musical concepts, the end result would have still been similar in sound and theme, but much more effective at doing so.

Occasionally, the band breaks its sound down into more subtle and mellow atmospheric rock sections, and this is where most of the best ideas on 'The Beyond' are hiding out. While many riffs here are nearly indistinguishable from each other in their relatively uniform speed, tone and process, the more mellow parts see the band experimenting a bit with harmonies and musical counterpoints, giving a nice hint of what would be heard a couple of years later from Cult of Luna.

While the tracks here generally sound the same save for a short introductory track and interlude, some songs are more consistent and powerful with their use of musical ideas. Chief among this would be the track 'Deliverence', which employs some more complex chords and progressions that also hint at future efforts by the band. Unfortunately, why the latter half does ultimately turn out to be better than the first, by that point in the album, the sludgy, droning and heavy sound has already worn out its welcome.

There is a scarcity of nuances in 'The Beyond' which does make it an album that lacks the longevity of Cult of Luna's masterpieces, but for a listener aching for a cathartic hour of noisy, heavy turbulence in the form of metal music, 'The Beyond' may serve as a fleeting remedy.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |

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