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Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace,
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This review is from: Eternal Kingdom (Digi Packagaing) (Audio CD)
Crassly dismissed by some as mere Isis copyists, Swedish eight-piece Cult of Luna have been plying their apocalyptic, post-metal wares for some time now; having released their self-titled debut in 2001, they are now on album number five - one more than their Californian-based counterparts - and Eternal Kingdom marks a further evolvement of the band's sound. Granted, it may lack the sheer sonic vastness of that first album and its flawless follow-up, 2003's The Beyond, and it doesn't quite match the crushing emotional intensity of Salvation. Nevertheless, it retains many of the features of all three records (notably, the distinctive if slightly one-dimensional vocals and the slow, build-to-climax song structures) as well as building on the experimentalism and integration of melody exhibited on 2006's Somewhere Along the Highway. Third track, 'Ghost Trail' is a perfect distillation of the band's current mindset: a wholly cathartic ten-minute mini-epic that contains impossibly uplifting passages of textured melody, followed by a sombre reprieve, before climaxing with a jaw-dropping display of thunderous rage. Further into Eternal Kingdom, however, you may be surprised to hear digital 'bleeps' and other flourishes of electronic experimentation; fear not, though, for Cult of Luna have not gone all techno or arty on us, as everything this band does has a moving, human quality to it. Rarely does music affect the listener on both an emotional and physical level, to such an extent, but these sumptuous Swedes seem to manage it every time.