Let’s get straight into the fray. This, for me, was the best album of 2006. Over the course of this review, you’re going to see praises sung about this album. All of them justified. If I was to recommend one album to introduce you to the wonderful world of atmospheric sludge metal, then I’d choose this. It’s nigh on perfect. Up’s, down’s, and a whole plethora of variety. There’s literally something here for everyone. Whether it’s the gargantuan riffs and vocals, or the more quaint relaxed moments that you’re looking for… you’ll do right by yourself by looking here.
It’s hard to put into words just how many aspects of the band are displayed on this album. I guarantee that upon hearing the opening track, you’re going to find yourself slowly drawn into it. Captivating and involving. From the drone inspired feedback reverberating throughout the first song, and then easing itself into the next fluidly. You’ll hardly notice the transition, but the anthemic drumming in ‘Finland’ will surely bring your head out of the clouds and joining your feet into synchronicity with the tempo. This whole album is like an exercise into progressiveness. You can hear it as each song passes by, eventually leading up to the closing song ‘Dark City, Dead Man’. A song that delivers expansive and epic soundscapes one minute, and then a strong sense of claustrophobia the next. It’s amazing what Cult of Luna has achieved via the use of electronic sampling, and great composition that keeps those guitars intertwining around each other perfectly.
Sure, the album has its weaker moments, but that’s only in comparison to the songs like those mentioned earlier. Maybe “weaker” is a bad choice of word. They’re not poor by any standards, and this is an album that you can listen to from start to finish without needing to skip any tracks (then again, there are only seven). It’ll take you on a ride as it hits high and hard, and then leaves you nodding your head gently to the minimalist instrumentals. Even a banjo is integrated really well into one track. Cult of Luna has shown a softer side on this album; relying more on the musical qualities of the songs, as opposed to the sheer magnitude of force shown in earlier work. It’s still apparent here, but even certain instrumental sections show a certain “grace” that has slowly worked its way into their music throughout each release. As Cult of Luna gradually better themselves with each album, it makes me excited about what they’ve got hidden up their collective sleeve for their next full-length.
Scribed by: Lewis Hunter