REVIEW – The new Cult of Luna album caught my attention almost immediately because they have Julie Christmas with them this time around. I am not sure if this is a one-off deal or she is officially in the band, but this is a major plus. If you do not know anything about Christmas, seek out Battle of Mice or Made Out of Babies, that would be a great place to start with her genius. Cult of Luna really gives their fans something to really get excited about but yet welcoming in new fans with n that while it stays close to their comfort zone, there is enough experimentation and growth that it would be a great album for a non fan to be converted to. The opening track sticks pretty close to what we are used to with the band. The melody really has an impressive range with the sound coming across as very epic, then you have Christmas who lends her vocals to the background in such a way that people are going to love the balance between the harder edged vocals of Luna and the cosmic like delivery by Julie. It is such an interesting mix. For people who thought Christmas was going to be in the background, the next track called Chevron is her show. This song starts off like a pop song and then the harsh vocals hit and the song gets very dark quickly. This song goes in so many directions and the ending minutes come across almost like a missing track on a Portishead record.
The next song is called the Wreck of S.S. Needle and this song is what I hope to see more from this outing in the future. The two just mix with this aggressive to laid back mix that really creates this sonic hell of just pure orgasmic joy. This is what people have been waiting for from Julie for so long and also Cult of Luna. The final two tracks are the longest, you have Approaching Transition that goes for almost 13 minutes. The Cult of Luna singer takes over on this track and creates this depressing Pink Floyd meets Radiohead sort of slow-corn rock song that builds into this beast as it goes on. Then the closing track is a 14 minute one called Cygnus. You have Christmas with her vocals opening the song and then the riff and harsh vocals to come in as well. I can honestly say, this is indeed one of 2016’s biggest surprises and also hopefully the shape of things to come. This is where Julie is destined to be at, and where Cult of Luna was heading towards. From start to finish there is not one flaw on this record, and I will say that fans who miss the Battle of Mice days, you will love this record a lot. Metal has just found its savior. This is a must buy album, if there ever was one.
CULT OF LUNA & JULIE CHRISTMAS “Mariner”
1. A Greater Call 8:19
2. Chevron 8:54
3. The Wreck of S.S. Needle 9:34
4. Approaching Transition 12:59
5. Cygnus 14:50