E.P. Review: Cult of Luna - The Raging River
Reviewed by Richard Oliver
A new Cult Of Luna release always brings about an air of excitement as they are a band that seem to be going from strength to strength based on their recent output. Whilst a new album is always much anticipated Cult Of Luna have brought forth an E.P. entitled The Raging River. It is the first release through Red Creek which is the new label created by the band to seek more freedom and to reduce the distance between us and our audience. Following on from the incredible A Dawn To Fear album in 2019, The Raging River is more like a bridge or a midpoint that needs to be crossed so the band can finish what they started with A Dawn To Fear.
The Raging River is made up of five songs and is a hefty release for an E.P. coming in just short of 40 minutes (though 40 minutes is a short release for a band like Cult Of Luna). The songs generally stick to a tried and trusted formula that has served Cult Of Luna well for the past few years and whilst not stale it is rather predictable sounding. Not that is a bad thing by any means as Cult Of Luna are sounding as devastating as ever.
Opener and lead single Three Bridges is a colossal song. A swirling tide of crushing riffs, atmospheric keys, forlorn melodies and the unrivalled roar of Johannes Persson all held together with an emotional core. It shows that when it comes to this atmospheric sludge/post-metal style there are few that do it as well or deliver it so thunderously as Cult Of Luna right now. What I Leave Behind carries on this momentum and delivers with the same crushing intensity and cinematic scope and then we reach the midpoint with Inside Of A Dream which deviates from what has gone before on the E.P. and what follows. It is a very stripped back, haunting and introspective song featuring grunge legend and former Screaming Trees singer Mark Lanegan on vocals. Cult Of Luna had previously wanted to work with Mark Lanegan and had written And With Her Came The Birds in 2005 with his vocals in mind but never had the guts the confidence to ask him to collaborate. Fifteen years later and they have finally summoned the guts to ask and the results are quite frankly stunning with Mark’s emotional and vulnerable sounding vocals mixing perfectly with the dark and bluesy feel of the song. From there on it is back to the business of crushing with the dense and bleak I Remember before the E.P. closes with the slow burning but ultimately rewarding Wave After Wave which builds to a satisfying and devastating crescendo.
Cult Of Luna rarely disappoint and whilst they don’t stray too far from their comfort zone on The Raging River there is no arguing with the passion and intensity of the music on offer. When it comes to atmospheric sludge or post-metal (whatever you want to categorise it as) then to me Cult Of Luna are unrivalled and The Raging River is another in a long and ever growing line of stunning releases from the band.