Cult Of Luna & Julie Christmas: Mariner

Sweden’s post-metal overlords return to take you higher

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Collaboration! Everybody’s at it these days, from Scott Walker and Sunn O))) to Johnny Mathis and Watain.

And now, so too are post-metal comeback kings Cult Of Luna, who have brought onboard former Made Out Of Babies and Battle Of Mice lead singer Julie Christmas for their seventh, cosmos-gazing studio effort. Following 2013’s astounding Isis-meets-Vangelis-in-Metropolis-like Vertikal LP and EP combo, Mariner leaves behind much of the cold, mechanised and occasionally industrial harshness of the city and instead aims its gaze directly towards outer space.

As the band themselves say: “At the end of Vertikal, we stood in the cold harshness of the mechanical city and looked up onto the stars…” They haven’t totally left behind the synth-heavy, Blade Runner-like elements, though; on the swelling, tidal cascade of The Wreck Of S.S. Needle, Julie’s vast vocal talents are most completely utilised.

Much of Mariner’s sound harks back to the group’s more melancholic approach to albums, such as 2006’s Somewhere Along The Highway, and can be heard during the almost symphonically structured Approaching Transition.