Cult of Luna
The Raging River


4.0
excellent

Review

by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (304 Reviews)
February 5th, 2021 | 42 replies


Release Date: 02/05/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A seamless sonic flow which never seems to dwindle or deviate from its course.

The current state of the world may still be a nightmare for most bands, but some are making it work. Cult of Luna, a band with an already great legacy thanks to their game-changing contributions to post-metal over the previous two decades, have decided to not only release a new EP but also start up a fresh record label in Red Creek, a move which isn't so surprising but all the more satisfying as a result. When you consider that previous full-length A Dawn to Fear was actually released in 2019 (but still feels like it was released in 2020, somehow), it makes a little more sense to release more new material, and thankfully, The Raging River has arrived at just the right time.

Cult of Luna's desire to produce gargantuan musicianship continues here, and the opening bombast of "Three Bridges" will soundly confirm the band have lost absolutely none of the magic in their repertoire. Electronic and psychedelic flourishes give way to a hammering rhythm section, one supported by the woozy keyboard work throughout, and the heaviness is complemented by Persson's monstrous bellows as the words "Here Flows my Blood/This is my Home" echo with vigour. "What I Leave Behind" also embarks on a similarly bombastic approach but in much more immediate fashion, it's mid-paced slug through menacing chords giving way to more doom-laden keyboards, resulting in a sound which pushes you down further into the void. The keyboard work is so complementary of its neighbouring rhythm section here, impressing upon the listener that Cult of Luna still sound so collective in their songwriting and musical approach. The way in which the EP's opening two songs glide and soar at just the right moments means that the musical direction has been penned impeccably, such is the seamless fluency of the musicianship.

Then things take a bit of a U-turn. Clearly The Raging River's shortest song and definitely the most different of them all is "Inside of a Dream", a beautiful collaboration with singer/songwriter Mark Lanegan which goes to show Cult of Luna thoroughly enjoy working with different musicians and producing the same quality standards as a result. Lanegan offers such a fragile albeit fine-tuned vocal approach that you'd almost question the song's appearance considering its surrounding songs, but instead it offers a harmonious break from the storm of the previous two songs and allows an acoustic, bluesy flow to segue throughout the band's gentle composition. There are moments in other songs on The Raging River that actually reflect on this quieter musicianship. "I Remember" begins heavily enough and when "With your Smile you bent Light" is bellowed into your psyche, you'd consider the next musical move to be even louder and beastlier. Instead, the guitar work becomes almost isolated and scatters its elegantly strung notes, the keyboard maintaining that woozy feel it did so well on the EP's first two songs but in much more restrained fashion. It almost sounds misplaced but allows the song to draw the listener in further, and builds up to an incredible outro with a mind-bending selection of riffs, leaving you wanting more of the same. Unfortunately, closer "Wave After Wave" proves to be the least memorable of the five songs on offer here and doesn't quite offer as much versatility in its wake, but it does make up for this thanks to the band returning to the initial bombastic voyage of "Three Bridges " and "What I Leave Behind".

Essentially, The Raging River does a fine job of introducing a new label and soundly confirms that Cult of Luna are still very much alive and well. The musicianship is still electrifying, the songwriting ever seamless and the performance is still meritorious. You could almost argue that The Raging River marks the closing of one era (I.e. the band's resurgence with A Dawn to Fear) and the beginning of another, but more importantly it serves as further proof of a band at the very top of their game.



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3.8
excellent
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Comments:Add a Comment 
linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
February 5th 2021


2645 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

c/c welcome as always.

Digging: Fuoco Fatuo (ITA2) - Obsidian Katabasis

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2021


24228 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Linguiiiiiiist!! Nice man, NICE.

Digging: Spectral Wound - A Diabolic Thirst

FurtherDown
February 5th 2021


253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

After a few listens I like Wave After Wave a lot. Its minimalistic but groovy approach quite reminds me of their earlier stuff, in comparison to bombastic riffage in other tracks (and Three Bridges especially).

Also, the atmosphere here is probably darkest CoL since Eternal Kingdom. I dig it.

Great review btw

Digging: The Armed - Ultrapop

Sniff
February 5th 2021


7003 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Does it bang? Lazy spaniards didn't manage to send my pre-order in time. No offence Dewi.

Digging: Nasvikensmaffian - It's Hamre Time

Gyromania
February 5th 2021


32269 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Inside of a dream is such a perfect comedown, rly helps eith the pacing of the whole thing imo. Overall this feels like the first huge release of 2021 to me

nightbringer
February 5th 2021


1881 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is the first bit of music I've bought without listening to it first in a *long* time. CoL have earned that trust, and this EP does not betray it.

Gyromania
February 5th 2021


32269 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Strangely enough, "I Remember" begins heavily enough "



You say 'enough' twice here. Solid review tho

Project
February 5th 2021


4744 Comments


it is absolutely unfair that a band this good at crushing atmospheres is also so good at weaving huge bombastic melodies in the mix. the final minute of the opener is beautiful.

A Dawn to Fear was my first CoL album but I think I've gotta binge them

Digging: half/cut - Salt an Atlas

LeddSledd
February 5th 2021


4764 Comments


probs will check this but gotta hear like 3 more CoL albums first

Digging: Immolation - Close to a World Below

Shattered_Future
February 5th 2021


1572 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

What I Leave Behind is a fucking beef bus that made me woo out loud, 10/10.

Demon of the Fall
February 5th 2021


19085 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Copy/paste job from the Dawn thread...



It’s a great continuation of their sound, love how they continue to redefine the use of synths in post, despite this being somewhat reflective of Vertikal/Dawn. Not completely repeating themselves yet building upon their previous groundwork in interesting ways. The production is unsurprisingly stellar yet again.

Digging: The Evpatoria Report - Golevka

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2021


13974 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yes!!!!!!!!

Digging: Esoctrilihum - Dy'th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath

Veldin
February 5th 2021


4343 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really stellar album and great review, Robert! I actually really like "Wave After Wave", very meditative and goes by fast for 12 mins. Still need to listen to A Dawn to Fear tbh

farmerobama
February 5th 2021


422 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First listen was great, these guys don't know how to dissapoint.

Digging: Motorpsycho - Kingdom of Oblivion

farmerobama
February 5th 2021


422 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First listen was great, these guys don't know how to dissapoint.

Relinquished
February 5th 2021


46173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you can say that again

evilford
February 5th 2021


51360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Don't tempt him

Nocte
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2021


13974 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Don’t tempt him

Pikazilla
February 5th 2021


15523 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First listen was great, these guys don't know how to dissapoint.



farmerobama
February 5th 2021


422 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Site bugged on me and I fucked up spelling. Top tier friday drunk post



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