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The Beyond

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Album Review

Goth metal may once have been a term of opprobrium — but then again who knows? Whatever the case, it makes perfect sense with time, even if Black Sabbath already laid down the blueprint years ago, and that's one reason why Cult of Luna's second album, The Beyond, is so astoundingly great. One of Earache's many signings from Scandinavia over the moons, the band has the primal doom-laden punch of groups like the Cure and the God Machine going into their sound, tempered with the hoarse, wide-eyed vocals of Klas Rydberg. If some of his lyrics are merely standard tropes for the field, he never lets the band down at any point, and, if anything, holds back from singing most of the time to let the music make whatever point it needs to. Meanwhile, the steady deliberation of the rhythm section does the whole death-march-trudge thing pretty darn well. The secret weapon would appear to be Magnus Lindberg — credited with sound engineering, he's not instantly apparent anywhere, but there's a strong sense of layering and depth at many points, almost as if the band were recording in a collapsing factory. Engineer Pelle Henricsson, veteran of working with bands from Refused to Meshuggah and the Hives, brings a crisply brutal focus to the proceedings. The occasional twist on the overall sound — the mournful steel guitar twang that helps start off "Circle" on a very quiet note, which then mutates into an equally sad solo cutting through the full-on band crunch, or the subtle rise-and-fall arrangement that turns "Arrival" into the album's surprisingly beautiful heart — makes everything all that more noteworthy.

Customer Reviews

Heavy as a suicidal blue whale during the holidays

I can't believe no one has reviewed this album. I bought this and their original recording together about 3 or more years ago. For a bunch of kids they put a lot of time into this recording. This is album 2 and it hasn't been surpassed by 3 or 4. It's heavy as can be and darker than the inside of a coffin at midnight. I read where one band member said they were all emotionally drained after recording this album and I can see why. If you like slow to medium paced noisecore metal, then this is for you.

Soul crushingly good

The first song I heard from the album was Further. It remains to be my favorite. The band was formed in vein of the breakup of hardcore band Eclipse, so the vocal styles are a bit more towards that style, but for this music, it works so incredibly well. The tones are so heavy and dark. This is just one way that doom metal should feel. A feeling of bleakness with no escape, only to allow you to suffer the length of your final time. Further alone shows off just how dark this band truly is. If you can deal with some earth-shattering riffs at a slow to mid tempo pace, do yourself a favor and check this band out.


Formed: Umea, Sweden

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Formed from the remnants of a hardcore band named Eclipse in the far northern Swedish town of Umeå (also home to avant-hardcore masters Refused and metal extremists Meshuggah and Naglfar), Cult of Luna have perfected an elaborate, extremely dark progressive style of metalcore largely derived from the pioneering work of America's Neurosis. Although hardly the only band to find inspiration in the Bay Area bunch (Isis and Rwake also numbering among their disciples), Cult of Luna are unquestionably among...
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The Beyond, Cult of Luna
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Customer Ratings