After the success of their last album "The Beyond" Earache decides to re-release their self titled debut (originally on Rage Of Achilles). Not being a fan of anything ending in "core" save Grind this release is simply breathtaking in its effect on me as from the very out set this impressed me with vasy cavernous walls of sheer suicidal noise. "The Revelation Embodied" opens with a fantastically driven droning ambient riff of pure heaviness which lasts for almost two minutes. This riff really got my attention as it promised greatness.
Unfortunately this next part was a big let down as the vocals on this album are awful and very boring despite their Hardcore ferocity. I never was a fan of these kind of vocals and I never will be but the important part is that for the majority of the time the music is so passionate and masterfully delivered that the vocals mean nothing and do not take too much away from the overall listening experience.
This album expresses all kinds of subtle and intricate emotions and contains a degree of texture to add to the sense of realistic depression which is screamed through vocals and riffs alike. When CULT OF LUNA want to be ambient and droning and heavy they are amazing but their actual verse sections and more uptempoed parts do not live up to their more emotive counterparts and let the album slide a few points. Despite this they themselves are unquestionably powerful and fantastic for what they are but they are just not appealing to me.
The already mentioned opening riff in "The Revelation Embodied" and the 14 minute epic "Sleep" are probably the highlights of this album for me as they showcase some of the bands true ultra heavy atmospheric genius. "Sleep" in particular can emotionally range from later day KATATONIA to full on rage but in general the tempo is kept to a nice dreary crawl in keeping with the title and it is an enormously powerful, expressive and beautiful track.
If you are a fan of anything remotely like this then this is an essential purchase but to show the true musical prowess of the band this review was written by someone who generally despises the Noisecore and Hardcore styles and this album has won me over. (Online September 25, 2003)