Album Title: Mariner
Genre/ Subgenre: Atmospheric Sludge/ Progressive Metal/ Alternative Metal
Label: Indie Recordings
Release date: April 8, 2016
I will be honest and start this review by saying that I had never gotten into Cult Of Luna. I liked Julie Christmas, though. Andm while I had never followed her career religiously, I did enjoy much of what I would hear from her. So, then imagine my surprise after hearing Mariner, and album where they teamed up. The result is amazing and one of the boldest and most truly original albums of the year.
Swedish progressive/ sludge metal crossbreeders Luna mix so well with alternative metal queen Christmas that it feels like they were born for working with each other. The musicianship is top notch. There is so much talent oozing from every aural inch of music, that is all encompassing. Vocally those of Luna mix and play off well off of Christmas'. She has always had one of the most unique sounding voices around. This wonderfully singular musical experience solidifies just that. She carries a tune so powerful and emotional, that it just grabs you.
The opening track "A Greater Call" has this beautiful, somber intro that grabs your spirit, then at about the 2:45 minute mark a scream comes from the band Luna as the music comes crashing in. It is accompanied by Christmas whose haunting vocals add an ethereal feel to it all. Speaking of haunting the beginning of "The Wreck of the S.S. Needle" is certainly that. Only to become a blistering aural assault that is just amplified by Christmas' screams, and yet there are also beautiful moments of transcending tranquility. The album concludes with the epic "Cygnus". It is chugging masterpiece that is my personal favorite from the album.
While, there are only eight songs on Mariner, they are all long songs. There seems to be a purposeful reasoning to make each longer than the last one. So, while the first song clocks in at 8:19, the last one hits 14:50. That being said there is never a dull moment in incredible listening experience.
Cult of Luna and Julie Christmas have crafted one of the greatest album collaborations in the history of metal and hard rock. Heavy yet soothing, atmospheric yet bombastic, this is a multifaceted and multi layered masterpiece that will only get more captivating with each listening that you give it. Whatever you do not miss this one when it comes out on April 8, 2016.
***** out of *****