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Cult Of Luna - Eternal Kingdom CD (album) cover


Cult Of Luna


Experimental/Post Metal

3.70 | 44 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Cult of Luna has never been a stagnant band. Indeed, each of the group's first four albums has shown a significant evolution in the band's sound, starting with uber-heavy doom metal and ending with an ultra-dense post-rock/metal blend unlike any other. The band's 2006 album, Somewhere Along the Highway was the culmination of everything the band strived for. It was an aural IMAX movie of sorts; the sound was so thick and vivid, surrounding the listener and keeping that listener speechless in it's majesty. In the wake of such a masterpiece, the band was at a crossroads. Either they would continue down the same path they've been on, a path that countless bands have since traveled on and are continuing to travel on, or make a turn and forge a new path for themselves. The band made the smart decision and went with the second option.

2008's Eternal Kingdom marks a significant shift for this Swedish unit. In an effort to progress, the band practically hollowed out their sound and started over. They found themselves a bizarre concept (which, for brevity's sake, won't be explained in this review) to form their music around and they took off from there. Cult of Luna's stylistic character is still very much intact, but the equally important tone and timbre elements have been all but reinvented. The band did away with anything that resembles cleanliness. The sound of everything is just plain gritty and grimey. Fear not! This is way more than what is starting to seem like sludge metal. Certainly this is a dirty, dirty sounding record, but this album has an identity of its own.

From the opening its clear that this is still Cult of Luna. There are throbbing drum beats, gutteral vocals, crushing guitars, heaviness, dyamics and so on. Still, "Owlwood" from its very intro shows us that Cult of Luna will never be ordinary or predictable. The guitars are startlingly dissonant. This new found dissonance is maintained for much of the record. The band really opens up some space on this record too. It's noticeably less dense, but that space is part of what sets the atmosphere this time around. Make no mistake, this is still as heavy and atmospheric as it gets. The first track will confound and perplex. While it may prepare the listener for the rest of the album, it's unlikely that any understanding will come from the entire first run through of Eternal Kingdom. Sure, the lead riff in the middle of "Ghost Train" will catch on, and the powerful conclusion in "Following Betulas," complete with blasting trumpets, may drive its way through your skull, but none of it makes much sense. Really, it's going to take many listens for anyone to wrap their head around this thing. That's not to say that it won't intrigue. In fact, even if the first listen did not elicit any enjoyment or feeling, it will certainly intrigue. There's something strange and inviting about the darkness that looms in this kingdom. The listener must make the decision to find out what it is.

The reader is advised to read the concept to better understand the mood they are trying to create. Be prepared for a very unsettling feeling at first, but give it time. This is truly a complex and intelligently crafted album and it will reward the listener. The band wasn't kidding when they said this was their most progressive work to date. Bravo to Cult of Luna for challenging themselves and their fans. Even if Eternal Kingdom isn't perfect, and even if it doesn't mesmerize like Somewhere Along the Highway, it's a solid step in a new direction for this fantastic band. Who knows what will happen next?

Moatilliatta | 4/5 |


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