Released: 2013, Indie Recordings
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Having been renowned as one of Post Metal’s pioneering line-ups, Cult of Luna have certainly past the test of time. Having released several albums since their formation and returning after 5 years with this latest offering the band show no signs of their creative energy diminishing any time soon. Aligning itself closely to Fritz Lang’s Science Fiction film Metropolis, the concept behind the music illustrates themes of machinery, repetition and clear linear structures from Lang’s work.
Opening with a brief and sublime instrumental ‘The One’ plays out through subtle use of ambience before crashing into the hardcore accented sound of ‘I: The Weapon’ a track that harks back to many of the much loved sound Cult of Luna have built upon over the years. The bone shattering drum work, fifth ridden riffs and throat bleeding vocals remain present throughout. Meanwhile, the guitars delve into progressive effects laced with tight melodies and electronic reverberations, tightly woven into a distorted bass lines. However, it is the last few minutes of this opening ride where the band’s delicacies unravel slowly that demonstrate Cult of Luna’s quality-control to song writing.
‘Vicarious Redemption’ proves to be the band’s longest track to date, hitting a near nineteen minute mark. A much slower pace than before, the track slithers like a snarling beast, scouring across your senses with deadly intentions. The trance-like eeriness is picked up with clean guitars and drums before crashing down into an avalanche of riffs and scornful vocals. Mid section, a further use of electronic beeps throws everything in a new direction with lead guitars taking flight leading you into a cinematic closure.
Meanwhile, ‘The Sweep’ is a short interlude further captures the bleak and abysmal sensation found earlier. Resembling something from a retro SCI-FI movie, fitting the concept of the album really well,
The mechanical groove and rusty effects of ‘Synchronicity’ with its symphonic textures and war inducing drums further create the tension and heighten the drama of the narrative. The clean vocals and dissonance of ‘Mute Departure’ offer a much more introspective sense of turmoil with layers of ambience and murky bass before culminating a mammoth sized riff monster.
‘In Awe of’ comes crashing from a colossal height with thunderous drumming, dense guitars, painting a bleak and brutal portrait.
Closing off with ‘Passing Through’ the track drifts by with clean vocals with guitar distorted passages and ends on a sombre note of self-reflection and isolation.
Final word, in their latest offering, Cult of Luna have definitely upped their game, with all the raw ferocity of their earlier material and plenty of experimental avenues being explored. However, it is the wholeness of the record and its storytelling quality residing underneath that makes this their most cohesive record to date. Overall, quite an overwhelming piece of music that requires time and commitment to get the full effect, but once you do you wont want to listen to anything else for some time.
Review by Ben Spencer