Eternal Kingdom review by Cult of Luna

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  • Released: Jun 16, 2008
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.7 (23 votes)
Cult of Luna: Eternal Kingdom
5

Sound — 9
In recent years, especially on internet communities, a genre known as 'post metal' has become increasingly popular. Bands like Isis touring with huge names like Tool have gotten these bands some exposure, with more success coming to these sonic conjurers who combine post-rock tranquillity with cascading, crushing metal. Cult Of Luna is one such band. Their cult fanbase (no pun intended) has consistently sung the praises of their works which have found a very unique atmosphere and touched a place in the listeners mind that not many bands can. Their sound is not accessible and just sticking an album like 'Salvation' or 'Somewhere Along The Highway' on your iPod when you're walking to the shops just doesn't do their sound justice. Getting into this band's music is not something that can happen overnight. In fact, I cannot even remember how I found them or got into their music, but once you have there is no turning back. So, with both of their previous albums mostly gaining 'masterpiece' status amongst fans, they go for the hat trick with 'Eternal Kingdom'. The most instantly noticeable thing about 'Eternal Kingdom' is the tracklisting. At least a couple of 10+ minute epics are expected to be on a Cult Of Luna album, but this album has but one. No matter though, so long as the music is good, its length should not be a problem, especially considering the fact that 'Eternal Kingdom' still contains an hour of music. This hour contains troughs and peaks, highs and lows, moments of reflective ambience and moments of uncompromising attack. It cannot be said that there is really anything new here, and on the surface this may seem like a routine album from Cult Of Luna. The first two tracks. 'Owlwood' and 'Eternal Kingdom' can be misleading, as they twist and turn in an almost tediously expected way. While they are not of course without merit, they in a way switch you off and stop you from taking notice of the rest of the album. There's no 'Finland' to make you stand and take notice here, which is something that caused me personally to initially find this album rather dull. However, from the 12 minute journey 'Ghost Trail' onwards, this is pure Cult Of Luna brilliance. The work on guitar and bass from Johannes Persson, Erik Olofsson and Andreas Johansson is far from flashy but their downtuned dirges are essential to the sound of 'Eternal Kingdom'. The only other member with such an important influence is drummer Thomas Hedlund. His style is fairly simple however the way that it locks in with the music certainly is not. His drumming often dictates the mood of the music single-handedly, with the difference between a big heavy riff and a downtime verse section decided simply by how he plays his drums. This is something that not many drummers can say they do, but Hedlund manages it with style and finesse. One thing which is disappointing is the lack of clean vocals throughout the whole album. While far from integral to Cult Of Luna's sonic palette, some of those vocal parts gave their last album 'Somewhere Along The Highway' a very special touch. This time, Klas Rydberg's vocal contributions are entirely in the form of his gut wrenching scream. While his timbre is excellent and perfect for his band, there are times on this album where they do sound fairly out of place, and where some more clean vocals akin to 'And With Her Came The Birds' would have done wonders. Thankfully these moments are few and far between, and for the majority of 'Eternal Kingdom', Rydberg compliments what's going on with the rest of the band perfectly. When it comes to complimenting the band rather than being a focal point of it, sampler Anders Teglund and 'sound-scaping-additional-percussionist-and-guitarist' Magnus Lindberg really do have to be mentioned. The sound engineering on the album is unfortunately not quite as good as on previous albums; however what they have done musically works perfectly. In fact, their contributions really make a few songs, examples being 'Osterbotten' and 'Following Betulas'. While it is difficult to say that there are any tracks that really do stand up against Cult Of Luna's back catalogue as true classics over songs like 'Leave Me Here' and 'Finland', there are moments on this album that are absolutely incredible.

Lyrics — 10
The concept behind this album is a massively intriguing one. It is based on a book which the band found in an old mental institution (which, in oh-so-post-metal style, has been their rehearsal space for years), written by a man convicted for his wife's murder, entitled 'Tales From The Eternal Kingdom'. I will not go into depth about the concept here, but the lyrics and music alike are based closely on this journal and the very surreal stories this man committed to paper. The lyrics are very good, as always, but the eerie nature of this concept and its history adds another level of interest to them. The stories to be found on the CD and in its artwork are deeply mysterious even though explanations can be found from Johannes Persson on the internet. This is testimony to the fact that Cult Of Luna can take a bizarre concept and by transcribing it into lyrics, can make it even more twisted and surreal.

Overall Impression — 9
I must say that 'Eternal Kingdom' is not an improvement on the last, which their last three arguably have been. I have faith that Cult Of Luna will continue to make greater and greater albums, however 'Eternal Kingdom', despite the very impressive writing process and end result, is not the album to top 'Somewhere Along The Highway'. What it is is yet another essential album from Cult Of Luna, another album that will grow on you the more and more you listen to it, another album filled with absolutely mesmerising tracks like 'Curse' and 'Ghost Trail'. If you're new to Cult Of Luna, its must be noted that any one of their albums must be given time to fully blossom. If you are an existing fan, you will know to give the album a chance and a chance is most certainly what it deserves from anybody with an interest in progressive music.

16 comments sorted by best / new / date

    TheAmenCorner89
    Haven't heard this album yet, but all their back catalogue is great stuff. I'll pick this up soon
    Pretty_Much
    How can you guys like this? it's so boring and dull. I listened to their stuff on Myspace the songs sound basicly the same. I just can't get it past my head that people enjoy listening to that. -Just my opinion... don't go crazy.
    Cafas
    I don't know how you can read something like "Their sound is not accessible" and go in expecting something that you'll immediately latch onto. Anyhoo, amazing band, amazing album.
    *kas
    I got into the band immediately when I heard "into the beyond"
    Harry Sax
    Pretty_Much wrote: :O Actually I take that back. This music literally drags you in. :O
    lol +1 From the MySpace page it sounds like they stick to the same speed... dragging. I'm cool with that but they need some energetic stuff too, some balance. Do they have some speedy stuff? Or is it like Doom Metal all the way? Cause I just can't listen to an hour worth of music with a tempo of 60... Also, what is Post-Metal?
    Cafas
    You're looking in the wrong place if you want speed. Cult of Luna have plenty of dynamics though, and they're definitely not the kind of band you judge based on their MySpace page.
    hamsterman64
    I just got this album today, and have only reached Ghost Trails so far. I must say, I'm very impressed with this song and the two before it. I just found out about these guys today, and got sucked in by Leave Me Here. It's great!And yeah, part of Post-Metal is the doom-ish thing. It's definitely not speedy. At all. The musicianship and atmosphere is top notch, though.
    eNdofthELinE9
    Pretty_Much wrote: How can you guys like this? it's so boring and dull. I listened to their stuff on Myspace the songs sound basicly the same. I just can't get it past my head that people enjoy listening to that. -Just my opinion... don't go crazy.
    Cult of Luna is a lot like The Ocean. Their music is very complex and takes a lot of time and patience to listen to. If you're only going to give this 30 seconds, don't go for it.
    krisestfou
    I simply adore this album it is a masterpiece.I love everything about it.the theme the riffs,the lyrics. CULT OF LUNA RULES!!
    sludgette
    this album is just perfect, with that sound ingeneering, the vocals and everything that some people may find disturbing. the whole thing drags you into that disturbed mind of a man who killed his wife and wrote it in his journals in a swedish mythical way. is it a true story? who cares?! the result is so impressive.
    Arthemesic
    This album made me think on the first listen: They've totally lost their touch. This stuff is dull. Thinking that way was so dumb of me, being a die-hard Post-Metal/Post-Rock fan. I knew it from experience, that bands like this aren't easy to understand at first. Well, I took the liberty of getting myself used to Eternal Kingdom and uploaded it into my iPod and spent a few days listening to it. Step by step I realized once again Cult Of Luna is a band made out of genius.
    RAH7747
    eNdofthELinE9 wrote: Pretty_Much wrote: How can you guys like this? it's so boring and dull. I listened to their stuff on Myspace the songs sound basicly the same. I just can't get it past my head that people enjoy listening to that. -Just my opinion... don't go crazy. Cult of Luna is a lot like The Ocean. Their music is very complex and takes a lot of time and patience to listen to. If you're only going to give this 30 seconds, don't go for it.
    Did you even read his next two posts?! *rolls eyes* Anyway, I'm glad I got into CoL.. They and Isis are the two Post-Metal bands that have really given me new life into metal..
    Mike_Atherton
    RAH7747 Listen to Neurosis they're awesome and Cult of Luna were influenced by them, which was main reason why I gave these guys a listen