Cult of Luna albums

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2016

Mariner (4.5 / 5) 

               The balance of female and male roaring voices are a joy to behold on the joint collaboration Mariner, as with previous Cult of Luna releases we feel worn out by the end of them but it was worth the exhilarating experience. Guest vocalist singer/screamer Julie Christmas who adds plenty of imagination on opener “A Great Call” is a perfect example of this, building the sound in a very accessible way. For black metal / sludge metal whatever subgenre you want to call it, it doesn’t get much better than “Chevron” or “Cygnus”, both shifting epics that change tempo and melodies several times over the course of nine to thirteen minutes, the latter notably turning into an odd nursery rhyme by the end.

               Swedish / Norwegian metal has such a devoted fanbase I’m sure someone could school me in other bands of the genre I will leave out or not recognize fully on this listing, but for a person just trying to listen to everything, this album stood out among the enormous number of releases I have heard this decade. In particular, “The Wreck of S.S. Needle” appeals to me as some kind of homage to Gordon Lightfoot’s “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” except you know……if Gordon was a demon from hell. Fun stuff.

Best Tracks: Chevron, The Wreck of the SS Needle