Mariner brings together the worlds of post-metal darlings Cult of Luna with Brooklyn's very own avant-metal vocalist Julie Christmas. Containing just five lengthy tracks, Mariner allows these musicians to join together and really create some intriguing, powerful sounds, which you hear right away on opening cut "A Greater Call". That huge, ominous wall of sound that CoL are so known for hits you like a hammer, with menacing growls combating Christmas' angelic, ethereal crooning, all the while thunderous guitar, keyboards, and drums create the massive framework. "Chevron" is more groove laden, with some serious bass lines bubbling under Julie's raging screams and mysterious spoken vocals, as the arrangement fluctuates between atmospheric prog and symphonic noise. The collective walk in more pop flavored waters on the charming "The Wreck of S.S. Needle", but there's still that underpinning of menace throughout, while the 13-minute "Approaching Transition" is all Cult of Luna atmospherics & solemn drama, slowly creeping along with barely a whimper before doom laden riffs and anguished screams take the song to it's agonizing conclusion. It gets even more epic (length that is) on the near 15-minute closer "Cygnus", a nightmarish piece that feeds both the raging as well as the spooky/tranquil needs, perfectly playing off to the strengths of both units and showing how powerful the sum of their union is here on Mariner.
While it's safe to say that Mariner won't be for everyone, this is a hypnotic, dramatic, and at times ominous release that proves what great pairing Cult of Luna and Julie Christmas are. Fans of either act will love this, but if you've never listened to either and want to take a chance on something truly different, make sure you investigate this one.
1) A Greater Call
3) The Wreck of S.S. Needle
4) Approaching Transition