It may seem impossible but this year marks the twentieth anniversary of the release of the self-titled debut album by Swedish post-metal pioneers Cult of Luna. In those twenty years, the group have been nearly impossibly consistent. Album after album of roiling, violent and beautiful noise. Who else is as consistent? Deftones? Of course, this means that Cult of Luna gets judged by incredibly high standards. Luckily, they continue to meet those standards on new EP The Raging River.
The EP begins with perhaps the most immediate and accessible track on the release. ‘Three Bridges’ is nearly 9 minutes but, other than a somewhat restrained intro, doesn’t leave much room in that running time for much reflection or respite. This is essentially the tried and tested Cult of Luna format. Big riffs, mid-tempo pace, and surprisingly large amounts of melody. How a band can be so harsh and yet so catchy is beyond my limited ken. ‘What I Leave Behind’ heads in a bit of a more aggressive direction. Somewhat less melody and somewhat more pummeling riffs.
Next up is ‘Inside of a Dream’. This one allows the group to explore their more reflective western tinged meditative habits. Spiritually similar to And With Her Came The Birds from Cult of Luna’s 2006 classic Somewhere Along The Highway, ‘Inside of a Dream’ includes the weathered and weary vocals of one Mark Lanegan. It sounds like the music one would listen to after the apocalypse.
The remaining two tracks on the album, ‘I Remember’ and ‘Wave After Wave’, are vintage Cult of Luna and, ultimately, The Raging River is a testament to the fact that Cult of Luna are in rude health. At this stage, they aren’t reinventing the wheel. However, they have an ability to continue to craft compelling, thrilling and engrossing music within their own, individualised template. This EP is a belter. Their next album will be a belter. All is well with the world.
Order The Raging River via Bandcamp.
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