Junius have always beguiled listeners with their straddling of the border between light and dark. Such light-play features prominently in their lyrics and artwork as well, so imagining it to be some sort of coincidence is an ill advised move. Indeed, very little of the band’s decisions seem to be accident; all of their records, LPs and EPs included, give off an air of contained power, meticulously planned theories which, nonetheless, explode with instinctive and primal energy when performed.
As they stand on the brink of the final chapter in their trilogy of albums, minus a founding member, where will Junius’ semi-mystical diagrams take them next? Apparently, brilliantly, the answer is in two directions: into the past and very much into the future. Eternal Rituals For the Accretion of Light, the last part of the band’s musing on the ever-after and the here-today, plays a delicate game with inspiration and hindsight. Its sound, much darker and more condensed than the EP before it (and, to a certain extent, than Reports From the Threshold of Death), speaks clearly to The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist. Its guitars are looming, its synths often oppressive and its rhythm is ponder-some and melancholic.
However, it’s far more than a carbon copy. Firstly, it diverges from Martyrdom by virtue of its themes, delving both into more personal encounters with the divine, unknowable or un-created materials of creation. It speaks much more to a personal sense of revelation, to a journey that begins and ends with the conundrum of personality. “Beyond the Pale Society” and closer “Black Sarcophagus” are some of the most confessional and personal tracks Junius have written. Secondly, musically, it also features some of the heaviest segments Junius have written, like the political banger “Clean the Beast”, accompanied by an anti-Trump, anti-establishment video and lyrics containing the intriguing marriage of politics and esoteric thought that Junius are famous for.
Overall, the result is an accomplished album that continues to build upon the annals of one of post-metal’s most important bands. In the process, and perhaps as a result of the sheer legacy of the band, something about Eternal Rituals paradoxically feels forced at times. Unlike previous albums, where all tracks flowed from on to the other, this album sometimes stumbles. Transition track “All That Is, Is of the One” for example feels both pointless and heavy-handed at the same time, its title and content spelling out much that Junius have always left, rightfully so, hinted at and there for the listener to divulge.
All of which is to be expected, as legacy and the path forward begin to become contradictory. The low number of missteps on the album, however, saves it from the fate of many third albums (discounting EPs) and allows Junius to still maintain a clear and concise message. To top it all off, the album contains “The Queen’s Constellation,” the crowning jewel of this album and, indeed, of the band’s career up to this point. Its refreshing synth lines and overall structure are the best that this album has to offer and that’s saying a lot; at the end of the day, Eternal Rituals is another great release by a great band and one which fully cements their presence as an important voice in post-metal’s ever unfolding choir.
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Eternal Rituals For the Accretion of Light is available now via Prosthetic Records, and can be purchased here.