Cult of Luna
posted on 7/2008 By:
Folks, they’ve done it again. With Eternal Kingdom, Cult of Luna reaffirms its position as one of the leaders in the epic, ambient post-metal cannon. This is an incredibly innovative disc that shows that even after five albums, this band continues on a creative upward climb. If you happen to be one of those who strayed from them after Salvation, then read on, as Eternal Kingdom is likely to put these Swedish gentlemen back in your good books.
Cult of Luna’s previous effort, Somewhere Along the Highway, may not have pleased everybody but for me it was a bold and necessary departure for the band. Eternal Kingdom sounds like the more likely follow-up to the mighty Salvation but had it actually come straight after I don’t think it would have been as good an album as the one we now have. Having said that, in no way am I suggesting Eternal Kingdom is some sort of regression, as Cult of Luna have never looked backwards. What impresses me most about this album is that it manages to sound fresh and distinctive while retaining the essence of what made Cult of Luna so appealing in the first place.
Album opener “Owlwood” immediately distances Eternal Kingdom from its predecessor by reintroducing those earth-shifting riffs that are this band’s trademark, with dissonance and melody in equal measure and not a clean vocal in sight (there are none this time around). An early highlight comes in the third track “Ghost Trail”. A stunning twelve-minute epic, this song begins in almost psychedelic fashion with effected guitar and vocals, before launching into a post-hardcore refrain that really takes off at the six-minute mark. After a mellow bass-driven interlude the song’s crushing finale is heralded by the almighty bellow of Klas Rydberg, before the monstrous closing riff lands and is sped up until dissolving into a beautifully cathartic whiteout. It’s definitely one of the most thrilling compositions Cult of Luna have put their name to.
It’s worth mentioning a few more standouts even though Eternal Kingdom is excellent throughout. “Mire Deep” is a peculiar, effects-laden number that begins with a mellow aquatic feel before plunging into a rumbling middle section. The song concludes with a groovy, Sabbath-like end riff that is simply a joy. “Curse” is probably the album’s most consistently raging number which builds up to a swirling and utterly crushing climax in classic Cult of Luna fashion. The final surprise comes during closing track “Following Betulas”, with its uncharacteristically upbeat, angular rock beginning giving way to a splendidly catchy riff at 3:30, before going out with a marching beat, horns and fiery screams all in unison.
If you’ve always wondered what all the fuss over Cult of Luna is about, and find them too slow or boring, then don’t bother with Eternal Kingdom as it’s not going to change your mind in the slightest. If on the other hand you’ve been hooked by this fine band and have never felt let down by any of their previous four albums, then you have been handsomely rewarded yet again. Eternal Kingdom is one of the year’s best. Wallets out and ready people.
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