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Cult Of Luna - The Raging River EP: Review

Swedish post-metal powerhouse, Cult Of Luna have embarked on a new chapter in their lofty career with the release of their new EP, The Raging River, which is the debut release on the bands own Red Creek label, the band explained the process behind it,

"In 2020, Red Creek was born. It has been created as a safe home for our art, but we wanted to do more and offer our experience, expertise and network to the artists we love and believe in. Therefore, we gathered talents and partners around us to create a crafted solution to our needs that is adaptable also to the needs of other artists. Red Creek will be our home; if you've been with us for 20 years or 2 days, this will be your home too."

The band are positioning the EP as the continuation and culmination of 2019's A Dawn To Fear but also a record that is accessible to those less familiar with the band's extensive body of work.

So how does it play? Everything you'd expect is here, the band's patented atmospheric, guitar-driven wall of sound and chugging, sludgy bass are present, the pained yet moving vocals are front and centre, and their distinctive drum style that holds everything together, it's all present and correct on The Raging River. The EP from the word go fulfills its promise to serve as a continuation.

The music is still fresh here however, the band continues to push the envelope in terms of their rage and each of the five tracks is powerful and meaty enough to really get stuck into. The well-received lead single 'Three Bridges' kicks things off before 'What I Leave Behind' brings the full weight of the band to the forefront, reminiscent of their earlier work for sure. The midway point of the EP is marked by 'Inside A Dream' which hands vocal duties over to Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age), this downshifts the tempo to a hauntingly slow cruel which emphasises Mark's incredible voice and sets up the next track, the downtempo but still murky as all hell, 'I Remember'. The record closes with 'Wave After Wave' which weighs in at twelve minutes and is really the showcase track for the entire record, a flawless exploration of the band's sound and desired direction.

If I was to be hypercritical, I'd say I would have liked to have seen the birth of Red Creek marked with a full-length album, however, with the band wanting to finish what they started on their last full length it's understandable why an EP was the chosen method. If this is a taste of what's to come when Cult Of Luna is unleashed with full control over their work and releases then it's an exciting time for the band, that much is for certain. The EP delivers to fans both old and new and completes its objective and you can't say fairer than that.

Overall 9/10

The Raging River releases February 5th via Red Creek with American distribution handled by Metal Blade Records and European distribution handled by Season Of Mist.