Review Summary: Cult of Luna strive to reach the eternal kingdom of post metal and fall a little short.
Cult of Luna are one of those forgotten bands that every sub-genre of metal contains. These types of bands are typically the ones that are neglected from being mentioned when any sub-genre is brought up. For example, nu-metal’s forgotten bands will always be Nothingface and Snot, melo-death bands like old Soilwork and Carnal Forge, metalcore bands such as Burst and The Ocean…………………I think you get the picture. Cult of Luna would be the forgotten band under the post metal category, rarely mentioned when it comes to the likes of Neurosis, Isis, and Pelican being heavily talked about. For Cult of Luna, I really doubt a majority of the metal community has paid much attention to them, considering they have consistently been putting out quality albums for the last 6 years, they yet have garnered about as much attention as a single blip on a radar screen. Sure, you can argue that people around the web have written stellar reviews about their previous album achievements, but what has been spread about this band adds up to zilch, while so many undeserving bands reap what Cult of Luna have already done a thousand times better. My predictions for Eternal Kingdom
are that it will play out the same way their last two albums did; no mention of them on any top 10 lists or any lists in general for that matter.
So on that consistent quality album output note, Eternal Kingdom
follows closely to this formula. Like all of their other preceding albums that took the best elements from the previous album before it and built on top of the old, Eternal Kingdom
isn’t a huge departure from Somewhere Along the Highway
and successfully manages to build upon the experimental foundations found on that album. Once again like their other albums, an underlying theme runs through Eternal Kingdom
. Without going into too much detail (thats why buying the album with liner notes helps!) the album is based after a diary that was discovered by the band in an abandoned mental institute where this album was recorded. The diary contained the tale of a former inmate who tried to find reasoning in drowning his wife by creating a fictitious world full of people who perpetuated these crimes against his wife; a scapegoat so to speak. Running on these images, the music certainly plays into this theme, exploring many dark shades of haunting passages throughout their sludgy metal delivery.
As far as post metal goes, Cult of Luna has always tried to distance themselves from the hordes of post metal artists popping up all over the place. Placing emphasis on long, slow grinding builds of past releases, Eternal Kingdom
finds the band continuing this trait and relying heavily on a more hypnotic song structure juxtaposed with strange melodies, electronic keys, and the odd guest instrumental piece such as xylophones and horn sections (check out the Neurosis like trumpets on the interlude song ‘The Lure’). Unfortunately, while the band continues to create their music from the foundation that was built before it, they bring along some old habits as well. Theses are mainly the pointless interludes that try to create connectivity between the songs. Instead of flowing continuously from one track to another, some of the interludes act as filler, indicating the band has hit some creative barriers. This was a minor problem on Somewhere Along the Highway
and has continued on this disc as well, containing three in total. But the meat and potatoes of this album belong with the first three songs on the album, with their slow tectonic riffs building into colossal explosions of energy. This is especially apparent on the highlight song ‘Ghost Trail’, with its stomping outro comprised of a simplified drop tuned chord being struck in a hypnotic fashion, building steam and speeding forth into a riveting ending. Most of the other songs on this album contain this epic sludgy tone that is captured in their monolithic riffs coupled with slow melodic passages, adding more dynamics into their songs that are already so finely layered. On the other hand with the songs contained on here is the fact that the band comes out with all guns blazing on the opening three tracks while the last half of the album just kind of fizzles out with little momentum. This can be a little off-putting seeing that Cult of Luna could apply their formula, that is so well executed in their songs, to the entire album. Maybe that’s just a thought for next time.
While this may be a great album compared to a lot of the post metal that’s come out this year, this is just another Cult of Luna album with a little less flair then what we heard on Salvation
and Somewhere Along the Highway
. A few experimentations are taken, but none of them are as memorable as the leaps and bounds achieved on Somewhere Along the Highway
(well maybe the outro to ‘Ghost Trail’ can compete). However, Cult of Luna are still on top of their game and will go on to create bigger and better albums in the future. Every band in their career hits a bit of a rut and fortunately for fans, Cult of Luna’ rough spots are better than most bands peak points in their career. As enjoyable as Eternal Kingdom
is, this album will probably not help Cult of Luna’ case in winning them the praise that they deserve.