Find us on Facebook!

To keep updated like our page at:

Or on Twitter:

Or E-mail us at:

Tuesday 27 August 2019

Reviews: Cult Of Luna, The Drowning, Risen Prophecy, Esogenesi (Lee, Paul H & Rich)

Cult Of Luna: A Dawn To Fear (Metal Blade Records) [Lee Burgess]

A dawn to fear is Cult of Luna’s latest and arguably their finest album. When I was first given this record to review, I downloaded it track-by-track, meaning that I didn’t really listen to it in sequence. I just let the tracks wash over me. This band is by far the most influential of all the many post-metal outfits doing the rounds right now. With every album they manage to build to an ever-reaching, increasingly lofty height in musical talent and ability. Their music is just so cinematic. This album just feels so right. It sits easily with Somewhere Along The Highway and Salvation. But and this is important, A Dawn To Fear is unique. It is unique because it goes places Cult Of Luna don’t usually go. Take for instance Nightwalkers. It has a continuous doom-like quality that shows us that this band can take genre music and incorporate these themes into their own material. These themes soon become lost in a swirl of seamless changes in mood, speed and tone. This is heavy stuff, but it’s also achingly pretty and emotionally arresting. Each track has its own signature-sound; however, it is unmistakably COL.

Track five is a high point. Lights On The Hill almost sounds like it would be at home on a reboot of Jeff Wayne’s War Of The Worlds in its eerie escape into an empty void that then explodes into a dark vision of haunting beauty. I cannot and will not overstate just how much this band have worked on scale and vision since Vertikal and Mariner, their joyous collaboration with Julie Christmas. There is a sense of structure here that you sometimes miss with post-metal. Each track is less of a song and more a collection of classical movements. To properly understand and appreciate this album, I would urge you to build your COL collection right from the very start and work your way towards this devastating masterpiece. After seeing them live a few years ago and learning that there was a possible break-up on the cards, I feared the worst. I need not to have worried, for they have risen again in an almost biblical sense. I am hoping that the track title We feel the end, is not a coded message for fans, like, this is the end of the road, because this band just knows how to give and give. Every time I’ve wondered where they can go, which direction they can take, they have returned stronger and more refreshed.

This is a band who have a knack for reinvention and connecting with their listeners. I didn’t manage to see them at ArcTanGent last weekend but from all I can glean from this album, any live show is going to be an exhausting experience. I saw them once at The Fleece, Bristol and it was life changing. The sheer scale of their musical ability is mind boggling. There will of course be those who don’t get this unusual sub-genre, and that’s OK I suppose, but COL really don’t need to be pigeon-holed because they are so, so much more than just a type or genre, they are the Gods, one of the true greats and A dawn to fear really is something to worship. I truly am in awe, and if you don’t mind, I think I need to clean up after myself. 10/10

The Drowning (UK): The Radiant Dark (Transcending Obscurity) [Paul Hutchings]

16 years into a career of death/doom metal and Cardiff’s The Drowning show no signs of fatigue. Three years since their last release Senescent Signs, their latest impressive slab of metal has slammed onto the stereo with full force, shattering ear drums but also engaging the grey matter with some of the more thoughtful and delicate compositions. This album marks the debut for bassist Richard Moore, although he’s been with the band for three years (and he’s just joined Desecration as well). With eight songs and just under an hour in length there are some behemoths on this album, which allows the band time to expand and explore their death doom style. The massive The Triumph Of The Wolf In Death symbolises all that is good about this brutally excellent band. Pounding blast beats, spine pummelling heavy riffage, an atmosphere of malevolence and huge guttural vocals. Matt Small is a machine, working with The Drowning alongside his other commitments. His performance on The Radiant Dark is outstanding.

Prometheus Blinded brings groove to the proceedings, gothic synths signalling a change in direction which doesn’t lose one iota of heaviness. Indeed, this is one of the most crushing albums of the year. Steve Hart’s drumming is exceptional, tight and driven whilst the twin guitar work of Mike Hitchen and Jason Hodges lacerate and chop at will. As the album ebbs and flows, attention never wanders, such is the captivating spell cast. More gargantuan riffs on Harrowed Path pummel the senses before arriving at I Carve The Heart From The Universe, spellbinding and enchanting in equal measure. Classical guitar rules the middle section, the opening is more standard death metal fare whilst the closing third morphs into a dramatic Behemoth style black metal conclusion. It is an astonishingly good piece and leads perfectly to the final track, the melancholic and melodic intensity of Blood Marks My Grave. Few albums will stir the emotions like The Radiant Dark. A stunning release from another essential UK band. 9/10

Risen Prophecy: Voices From The Dust (Metal On Metal Records) [Rich Oliver]

Risen Prophecy fall into a category of band I call ‘Why the hell haven’t I heard these before?’. Hailing from Sunderland, Voices From The Dust is the third album from the band who have a sound that that is somewhere between thrash metal and the US style of power metal so you have the combination of savage riffs, epic melodies and the over the top theatricality that is synonymous with power metal. That theatricality is delivered in spades in the vocal performance by Dan Tyren who has a commanding presence throughout the album whilst the gnarly riff work by guitarist Ross Oliver and the uncompromising rhythm section of bassist Ben Oliver and drummer James Charlton ensure that the album had a gritty nasty underbelly.

Whilst Voices From The Dust is quite a lengthy album it retains its quality for its duration with plenty of epic yet crushing songs such as Eternity In Script, The Waters, The Tower In Shinar, The Eye Of Hades and the colossal title track which closes the album. This album impressed me massively and if you like your power metal with plenty of crunch in the style of Iced Earth and Demons And Wizards or like your thrash with a melodic edge like bands such as Artillery and Forbidden then this album is a must hear. 8/10

Esogenesi: Esogenesi (Transcending Obscurity) [Paul Hutchings]

Formed in Milan in 2016, this five-track 44-minute album marks the debut release for the Italian death/doom merchants. A sole down-tuned guitar opens Abominio, it’s melancholic feel soon crushed by the bludgeoning riffs which cascade down. The impressive Decadimento Astrale provides another display of muscular riffing, the roaring vocals of Jacopo fitting perfectly to the ambience and tempo. Oltragenesi allows guitarists Ivo and Davide opportunity to shine, the short instrumental opportunity the band to flex whilst Esilio Nell'Extramondo (Exile In The World) is a piledriving wedge of doom, massively thick with riffs. Original? Maybe not. Exciting? Definitely. In a crowded genre it is becoming more difficult for bands to deliver something different but there is ample quality to explore on Esongenesi. 7/10

No comments:

Post a Comment