Cult of Luna
The Beyond


4.0
excellent

Review

by Bartender EMERITUS
January 14th, 2005 | 392 replies | 22,661 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


Released 2003 on Earache.

Klas Rydberg - vocals
Erik Olofsson - guitar
Johannes Persson - guitar
Andreas Johansson - bass
Magnus Lindberg - keyboards, samples, electronic effects
Marco Hilden - drums

Young extreme metal band from Sweden; you'd be forgiven for thinking straight off that they're melodic death. Well, there's elements of death metal in there, but without the melody and, especially, the speed of melodic death metal.

Their sound is difficult to describe; it's crushingly heavy, and very slow, but it isn't doom metal. The guitars are basically slowed down death metal, rather than doom, and the vocals are not clean or mournful; they have more in common with modern hardcore, albeit slower. There are elements of doom/sludge and death metal in there, along with the hardcore of the vocals, and some use of electronics to enhance the rest of the sound. That's not to say what Cult of Luna are doing is something never done before - lazy comparisons can be drawn to Neurosis, who pioneered the sound, and then to bands like Isis or Pelican, who seem to be developing it.

It's not easy music to listen to; it isn't immediately catchy, and almost certainly not what you'd hear on a radio station. Their appeal lies in crafting huge slabs of sound, densely layered and intensely heavy, with atmosphere and tension abundant, which just immerse the listener in their immensity - more just a vast aural experience than "normal" music - and for the most part, that is what they do. Occasionally however, they switch to low-key, vaguely psychedelic acoustics, which create a great effect when followed by music heavy enough to conjure images of tectonic plates shifting. It's also just nice to know they're capable of more than one style.

The problem inherent with this type of music is whether they can write the material to keep the listener interested, or whether it'll simply degenerate into a droning mess. For the most part, they manage to keep to the former (the first 6 tracks are top quality), but the album is 74 minutes long, and towards the end, the quality does tail off slightly, with tracks such as Leash and Deliverance (Clones is exempt because at a mere two and a half minutes, it's barely an interlude). Luckily, they pull it back together for an absolutely apocalyptic closing track (my personal favourite song on the album).

This is not a world-slaying, must-hear album, and it's not an essential purchase. It is however an excellent take on a metal album, and worthy of a place in any open-minded metal fan's collection (provided you don't mind a lack of speed). It also makes me look forward to their next release - if they tighten up and maintain their quality throughout, it could be something very awesome indeed.

Recommended track;
Circle. Despite Further, with its excellent drumming and a particularly good vocal performance, being my personal favourite, I think Circle is better as an introduction, as it showcases both sides (melancholic and acoustic, and tremendously heavy) of Cult of Lunas music, as well as being one of the shorter tracks on the record. Of course, you could always just download The Watchtower from their site, to check them out.

A solid 4/5.

[url]www.cultofluna.com[/url]



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user ratings (317)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Bartender
Emeritus
August 23rd 2004



826 Comments


Apologies in advance for this review, especially it's briefness; it's one of the more difficult ones I've written, not least of all in trying to figure out a genre to give it. If anyone can think of something better, let me know.

Jellyspoon
August 24th 2004



12 Comments


This is indeed a hard album to listen to. The riffs and progressions almost uniformly sounds really grating to me, the tension in the music is never resolved.

I've heard them called Apocalypse metal (maybe due to the lyrics mostly)

Bartender
Emeritus
August 24th 2004



826 Comments


Yeah, I've heard them called "apocalyptic noisecore", but I thought it was a bit of a ridiculous thing to put.

Per Ardua Ad Astra
August 24th 2004



106 Comments


Short but sweet review, i really enjoy the song 'circles'

Toozey
September 9th 2004



77 Comments


Just got round to commenting on this review.

I still think this band is amazing, very few can compete with their abolute sheer emotional intensity. This to me is definately an essential purchase. You just sink in and die.

Although there is a definate Neurosis influence here I dont really see it as being important. Cult Of Luna is something else, very akin to Isis but vasty heavier and more rewarding.

The new album is a big change in their sound, I shall be reviewing it shortly along with the new Isis album, it should lead to some good comparisons and interesting debate.

KazooVirtuoso
September 9th 2004



30 Comments


I've been meaning to check these chaps out, as I'm a big fan of Isis/Pelican.

And the review was perfectly fine; I find that an attempt to describe the sound of a band and compare it to other bands is much more helpful than the track by track descriptions that are so popular here.

FillInTheBlankHere___
February 26th 2005



64 Comments


Sounds interesting, hopefully the rumous of a Mastodon / Cult of Luna tour coming to my city are true.

caspian
May 22nd 2005



38 Comments


i really should get this album, the other two are awesome.

canadapantsman
December 24th 2005



236 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

the track that stands out the most to me is Reciever. i really like the Isis-ish electronics

DekWannaBFlea
October 17th 2006



284 Comments


I like Isis but these guys are alittle too brutal for me. We shall see.

antihippy
April 27th 2007



696 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

crushing.


that's what this album is. crushing.

slack
June 1st 2008



249 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

deliverance is badass. great album overall.

Relinquished
December 7th 2009



24472 Comments


I love this.

Powerban
December 7th 2009



2380 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

'Beyond heavy as fuck' Should of been the album title.

Relinquished
December 7th 2009



24472 Comments


Not really.

Powerban
December 7th 2009



2380 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yarly. Don't mess with my flow =(. This album is beyond heavy as fuck.

Relinquished
December 7th 2009



24472 Comments


The title is fine.

Powerban
December 7th 2009



2380 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I was just being lamely superficial. Back to this album though, The Watchtower and Deliverance are great.

Relinquished
December 7th 2009



24472 Comments


Whole album rules especially Receiver, Genesis, The Watchtower, and Clones.

FadeToBlack
February 1st 2010



10913 Comments


I really enjoyed this, not quite as good as Salvation but better than their other albums



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