The previous Junius album “Reports From the Threshold of Death” hit me like a bomb a few years ago, and completely dominated my playlist for a long time. The blend of post metal ambience, strong hooks, Katatonia nods and Chino Moreno style vocals was obsessive and addictive. Every song was a hit. This new album is different in style, but no different in how addictive it is. Just like the album title suggests, this feels like a long abstract ritual.
“Eternal Rituals” compared to “Reports from the Threshold of Death”
The immediate difference from “Reports from the Threshold of Death” (read my review of that album here) is that this is not as catchy. Where every song on the predecessor exploded into a massive chorus, this one tends to focus on repeating mantras. The vocals are also lower in pitch, making them sound less Deftones influenced. On the last album many vocal melodies could be traced back to the Deftones song “Minerva”. Here we’re treated to a more sludgy and laid back vocal style. The feeling is also a result of more basic vocal arrangements; this album doesn’t have the same massive choir layering on the choruses. The lesser layering takes away power, but at the same time it allows the character in Joseph’s voice to come out better.
What this album does have going for it is the mantras and the obsessive feeling. The riffs are less melodic and more sludgy. While it’s often heavy, it’s also incredibly meditative. In that sense, the sound is more influenced by their debut album “The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist” (review here). This becomes even clearer during the mellower moments like the brilliant “Telepaths & Pyramids”. Joseph’s voice sounds both delicate and powerful. He’s lowered the pitch a bit, probably a result of getting a bit older and looking for a more comfortable range.
The album has a very good flow to it, and I find myself listening to the whole rather than individual songs. Standouts are the single “The Queen’s Constellation” with its atmospheric keyboard lines, and the direct, driving “Beyond the Pale Society”. I don’t really have anything negative to say about this album. It’s just a very pleasant listen, shining with both musical proficiency and atmospheric impact.
“Eternal Rituals for the Accretion of Light” balances on a nice scale of familiar Junius sounds and new ideas. It’s truly one of the most soulful and original bands around on the rock scene today. I’m already waiting to see what they put out next. I hope we don’t have to wait six years this time around.