Salvation by Cult of Luna: post-metal bliss
I’ll say this right on the start: Salvation is probably one of my top 3 favorite albums. I never had any serious thought about that subject but as soon as I, for the purpose of this review, heard the opening song of this record I immediately thought how much this effort from Cult of Luna is ethereally well made.
Ok, let’s start talking about the album itself. One year after the release of the Beyond, in which they showed us that they can play something more complex than the earth-pounding post-hardcore, Cult of Luna came up with a record that had even more progressive and atmospheric elements. And that was the moment post-metal got the album that will redefine the genre. Heavier that Neurosis, more complex than Isis, Cult of Luna made a record full of emotion that drives its listener into a state of almost-meditation-like bliss. Songs are constructed to gradually build up atmosphere that just explodes at the moments, making Goosebumps all over the body of the lucky listener and transforming him, if he’s into this kind of music, into an instant fan of the band.
Production is really good, not a single instrument is dominating, and the sound picture is very clear. The music itself have many layers so enabling the listener to feel every part of this grand mechanism is essential for this kind of record.
Songs are long and they don’t follow the classic verse-chorus-verse pattern. Instead, it could be said that they are constructed around oscillation of the atmospheric parts that consist of melodic guitar lines combined with samples and a more heavy parts with crushing riffs and brutal hardcore shouts.
This is the kind of music that isn’t for everyone, including the long time metal fans. I remember when I heard Cult of Luna for the first time back in 2006. Back then I was an die hard metalhead who liked everything that’s fast and brutal with a pinch of melody (Melo-death was my favorite genre at he moment) and hearing some “post” metal left the impression that the music is slow, boring, repetitive and with too few heavy parts of metal madness. And that can be true if you don’t appreciate composition as a whole, as a living breathing entity, more complex than it is notable at first sight. Because sound that Cult of Luna makes is like when you see the whole Earth for the first time and discover that our planet is much more diverse than it looks from our limited, human point of view. At the surface, tunes are simple, the wall of sound is building up until it bursts in a loud crescendo, but if you look it from afar you will notice that every song is different and that the band manages to produce this pattern in a thousand, very diverse, ways.
As with the most their albums, Salvation is a conceptual piece with the story that revolves around the government and big corporation propaganda efforts to strip the individual of his personality, his feelings and thoughts until only an empty shell remains.
There’s really not a single song that can be described as a standout because Salvation needs to be listened to from beginning to the very last note. Imagine that you’re at the museum observing some magnificent painting. You can’t fully experience it if you only looking at a few particular details because to be able to fully understand it you must go back a few steps a see it as a whole. The same rule can be applied here, If you listen to just a couple of songs you won’t understand the gestalt of this album.
So, sit down, relax, listen to Salvation and discover that the higher state of mind can indeed be achieved by listening to music.