A lot about Cvlt Ov The Svn seems very familiar, right down to how meticulous the overall marketing seems to be. The invented tag of ‘occult murder pop’ is immediately a fairly huge flag, and with each member keeping their real identities a mystery and their singer distinguishing himself by wearing what looks like a charred goat mask, it’s hard not to immediately draw the parallels to Ghost on almost every level. Honestly though, given Ghost’s rocketing popularity over the last few years, it feels as though something like this should’ve happened sooner, especially when a lot of discussion by and around them would imply Cvlt Ov The Svn to be aiming for a significant part of the same audience.
Off the back of Luna In The Sky Forever though, it’d be unfair to call Cvlt Ov The Svn a direct ripoff for the most part. Sure, the blend of satanic imagery and bold pop hooks stands fairly blatantly within the two bands, but Cvlt Ov The Svn seem to have streamlined the process for themselves more on this EP, keeping their gothic elements on the side rather than diving headfirst into them, and falling into a straight-up metal groove that, for what they’re trying to do, does ultimately feel beneficial. It mightn’t be a great EP, but for just four songs and pretty brief runtime, Luna In The Sky Forever strikes with a level of self-assuredness that manages to land pretty well almost consistently.
That said, it’s not like Cvlt Ov The Svn do too much that they could overly stumble with. Their foundations lie in a rather basic, pick-up-and-play brand of metal, and when injected so explicitly with the melodic craft and pop choruses of a track like The Murderer, it only brings the Ghost comparisons even further to the fore and shows how their greater inventiveness ultimately leads to a superior final product. When taking Luna In The Sky Forever on its own merits though, there’s a nice conciseness overall that, in terms of the straight-up metal and hard rock that Cvlt Ov The Svn deliver, keeps things chugging along without too much of a dip. The pulpy keys and bass of the title track make for an obvious standout, as does the blastbeat-influenced drumming of Whore Of Babylon that feels exceptionally potent against a monster hook, but pretty much every one of these four tracks brings something to the table that advances the theatricality and camp of the project, and leads to a rather succinct listen overall. And it’s made abundantly clear that self-seriousness is most definitely not on the agenda here, from the garbled vocal performance that’s simply too poppy to come across as anything other than meeting the stylistic rubric, and lyrics that skirt the line between playful and just laughable on a track like The Murderer, but ultimately succeed in wedging darker or satanic imagery into what could be seen as some pretty standard rock songs. Again, it’s not exactly a new idea at this stage, but it’s one that Cvlt Ov The Svn are able to scratch out a small but impactful niche for themselves in, and while they’re not always capable of fitting in it, they mostly do a good job at successfully bringing everything together.
That’s really the first major hurdle to clear, and it’s good to see that Luna In The Sky Forever does enough on its own for Cvlt Ov The Svn to get there. There’s still growth to be done to mould a more individual identity for themselves before their upcoming full-length, but this is a stronger jumping-off point than most are able to forge, and for a band that still have room to expand their vision and really go all-out with what they want to do, it’s an exciting prospect to see how far this could all really be taken. It’s not perfect, but this is strong stuff across the board, and within the pop-metal pantheon, Cvlt Ov The Svn could be looking to break into the higher tiers sooner rather than later.
For fans of: Ghost, Grave Pleasures, Foo Fighters
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Luna In The Sky Forever’ by Cvlt Ov The Svn is released on 27th September on OML Label Services.