Cult of Luna
Eternal Kingdom



by JAV USER (12 Reviews)
August 15th, 2008 | 385 replies

Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cult of Luna take some small steps forward while delving into the thoughts of a madman.

Fans of Cult of Luna looking for something completely new or ground breaking should probably stop reading here. This album is a band doing what they do best, making solid songs.

After 2006’s Somewhere Along the Highway it could be said Cult of Luna (CoL) was searching for, reaffirming and experimenting with their sound. While The Beyond and the S/T albums were droning sludge fests; Salvation and SATH were tempered with quiet ambient passages and soft interludes woven in between slabs of crushing riffs. Eternal Kingdom more or less combines the feel of the latter two albums while still sounding like they’re not rewriting the same songs. Not necessarily moving forward but sitting comfortably and experimenting in a reduced capacity.

Remember those 10+ minute journeys that CoL used to take you on? Well for the most part those are gone, with the exception of Ghost Trail. Instead of crafting sprawling landscapes of sound they have chosen to tighten and focus their aural assaults, similar to what Pelican tried but with better results. Part of Pelican’s appeal was that it took so long and many different directions to get to the destination. CoL never needed overtly long songs per se but it did give them plenty of time to create smothering blankets of atmosphere which is something very few can match what they are capable of. That’s not to say the songs aren’t still lengthy, the average tracks clocks in at about 6 minutes, which is more than enough time to get their ideas out. Eternal Kingdom incorporates the somewhat more organic feeling guitar work of SATH and the electronic elements of Salvation while adding a few new touches like horns and an expansion of effects likely from synths.

Owlwood opens things nicely reminding listeners that CoL haven’t forgotten their heavy roots while still showing flourishes of well placed melodies and softer sections. The instrumental tracks are nicely done but I can’t say I enjoyed them as much as before when compared to mostly instrumental songs like Dim or Dark City, Dead Man. Ug*n and Österbotten aren’t bad but just don’t catch my attention in the same way as earlier efforts. I think if they could have fleshed them out like they would have before they could have been amazing tracks. The Lure, which is lightly induced by horns, mainly serves as respite from the colossal ending of Ghost Trail, which is easily the best song on the album. Ghost Trail is a beautifully crafted slow burner, taking its sweet time sucking you into its dazzling, gaping jaws before regurgitating you back out. As previously mentioned the ending is just a monster, slowing to a crawl before continually speeding up the tempo and intensity while Klas screams his lungs out.

The clean vocals have all been abandoned leaving Klas to give his brand of tortured screaming. The lyrics were derived from the diary, “Tales from the Eternal Kingdom”, of an inmate named Holger Nilsson at a former insane asylum which now serves as the band’s rehearsal space. The concept follows the imaginary world Nilsson built to explain the murder of his wife, involving bizarre half human/half animal characters, and ultimately blaming the death on someone else.* It’s basically a twisted fantasy story but the lyrics that were taken are vague enough to leave up to interpretation.

The guitar work isn’t overly complex though the melodic parts are very well composed and always fit the surrounding instrumentation. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows CoL or many post metal bands as it’s always been more about the overall feel than showboating or individualism. The drums seemed to be mixed a bit more clearly than before while retaining the power they should possess, plenty of fills and patterns to keep things interesting. Pleasantly the bass doesn’t always track the guitars and adds its own variations to what’s going on.

Following Betulas closes the album keeping the fury contained to a kind of controlled medium. This is mainly due to the guitars having a light distortion and not a metallic crunch which likely would have been present on earlier releases. The skins are excellent and guide the other instruments creating a crashing wall of sound. This is also one of the songs that applies trumpets to the chaos and brings everything to a triumphant closing. If you’re still left wondering what a Betula is, simply put it’s a type of birch tree. Although in this case it’s tree-men, “The white birches are alive, they are marching.”

So while Isis have experimented with a more tribal and mythical approach and Neurosis have gone back to the heaviness that they started with; CoL is comfortable exploring their sound and attempting to expand upon it. From the direction the album takes CoL seem to really want to invoke the madness that Holger Nilsson obviously contained. The middle songs lose some of the focus but the rest are more than enough to make up for the stumble. Although it’s nothing incredibly new it is a solid release from one of the best bands of the post metal genre.

*Sentence taken from Earache’s site

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Cult of Luna strive to reach the eternal kingdom of post metal and fall a little short....

Comments:Add a Comment 
August 15th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

I tried finding the full "Tales from the Eternal Kingdom" but no such luck yet.

Although more details about it can be found here. This Message Edited On 08.15.08

Digging: Cowards (FR) - Rise to Infamy

August 15th 2008


Album Rating: 3.5

Review is far better than mine and I love your detailed descriptions. You nailed this on the head! Its nice to see some other post metal heads around here.

Digging: Silencer (SWE) - Death - Pierce Me

August 15th 2008


im a big CoL fan and I liked Owlwood, gotta check this out.

August 15th 2008


i love the creepy disturbing atmosphere they create on this album, and you're right, "ghost trail" is definitely the highlight. great review.

August 15th 2008


I need to get more post metal, I'll def. check this out

August 16th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the comments.

This felt a lot easier to do than my other ones.

Wizard I still thought yours was pretty good.

August 20th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review. This album is has currently been played 21 times since I've had it. Not as good as Salvation and SATH but still quite close, Could of been better if the filler was removed.

August 21st 2008


I've only listened to this 8 times :/This Message Edited On 08.21.08

December 12th 2008


Album Rating: 5.0

Following Betulas is amazing.

December 12th 2008


album is gonna be on my favorites of 2008 list

May 21st 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

only two songs I can get into are ghost trail and following betulas, which is one of the best songs theyve ever done... I definitely do not like how the guitars and bass are mixed tho.

this is nowhere near as good Salvation, one of my favorite albums ever

September 5th 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

For anyone who's interested there's some interviews with Johannes, I believe, explaining the songs.

Link in the first post.

September 23rd 2009


Album Rating: 3.5

Bands perty amazing

February 8th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

Finally found a rip of the "Fire Was Born" DVD, did not wanna buy this again just for that.

May 27th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

kvlt ov luna

July 1st 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

The replay value is still quite high for me.

July 1st 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

You poor soul.

July 2nd 2010


worst CoL album and its still awesome

sorry potato

July 8th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

I just got done listening to the audiobook they released a couple of months ago explaining everything about this album.

It probably is one of the coolest concepts ever. The way they found and mental patients the diary in their rehearsal room is just awesome (they rehearse in a mental asylum).

Features new music from CoL which is played inbetween passages. I couldn't recommend it higher tbh. Check out the review for it here:

July 8th 2010


Album is -gasm worthy

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