Cult Of Luna / The Old Wind | ‘Råångest’
Should a three track EP really get Album Of The Month?
Well, when it’s as good as this, and I’ve been playing it to absolute death, then yes.
‘Råångest’ is apparently Swedish for ‘raw anxiety’. This beautiful EP isn’t so fraught sounding as that; instead it just communicates so beautifully a sense of real Northern darkness.
I’m not a huge Cult Of Luna fan, and have found that their previous releases take too long to get to the point. Perhaps it’s because this is a distillation – and indeed a cover song at that – that it’s much more impactful.
Their fellow Swedes with whom they share this split, The Old Wind, are new to me. Their dark, atmospheric, doomed metalcore is impressive is extremely impressive.
First things first: Cult Of Luna’s cover. It comes as something of a surprise to hear a band like them try to do justice to Amebix, but they more than do it here. They’ve chosen the classic ‘Last Will & Testament’ from 1987’s ‘Monolith’ album.
As is often the case, the most surprising marriages are the best ones, and Cult Of Luna not only understand the intent of the original, but build on it magnificently. Their interpretation of the song is a triumph. Elegaic, soaring, melancholy yet redepmtive – just a plainly incredible piece of music.
They bring their own very subtle, vintage sci-fi feel to it with those fantastic, starry keyboard textures. I could play it over and over and over and it wouldn’t tire.
In fact it even recalls what Amebix themselves came round to doing on ‘Knights Of The Black Sun’ from a few years back. Funny how things come together like that. Is it sacrilege to say this version’s better than the Amebix one? I actually think it is.
The way it fades out… goes away… then slams right back in again for the coda is an absolute masterstroke. It gets me every single time.
The Old Wind are more than up to the job on their bit of this split too. I said earlier that this release communicates a certain Northern darkness. What that is is hard to define, but The Old Wind have it in their bones.
Though the music isn’t even remotely similar, they seem to be hinting at the same moods as Enslaved from around ‘Isa’ or ‘Ruun’ – that moonlit, hyperboreal feel.
Their actual music is slow, bludgeoning, damp and watery feeling. Like a more punishing True Widow.
Their two tracks are swampy and primitive but somehow nuanced at the same time – a fantastic pairing for the class of Cult Of Luna before.
There isn’t much more to say. Three tracks is the perfect dose of this, and hints at great directions to be followed by both bands in the immediate future.
4.6 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 29/01/16