Though it's debatable as to whether ISIS and NEUROSIS are actually loved to the extent their glowing press would have you believe (there's a boredom factor with those bands that critics are too afraid to acknowledge publicly), KONTINUUM's Earth Blood Magic is the entirely listenable version of the aforementioned, this Icelandic collective possessing the type of immediate qualities that are sorely lacking in so much post-metal. Though firmly rooted in elongated song structures and the reverb-drenched guitars of a band like CULT OF LUNA, Kontinuum keeps up the listeners attention by staying relevant and engaging, this record an impressively well written affair that makes it hard to believe that this is only the group's debut. The album's organic, pagan authenticity recalls latter-day ENSLAVED and its nods to MERCYFUL FATE or classic rock à la BLUE OYSTER CULT bring it far beyond the realm of most of the shoegaze that has improbably filtered into metal's olden domain; in its best moments, Earth Blood Magic is the kind of record about a dozen current superstar bands should look to for inspiration. Highlight moments are everywhere but for the sake of efficiency, I'll point them out specifically: opener 'Endgame' in its entirety; the last 1:44 of 'Moonshine'; the concluding minute of 'Stranger Air'; the riff at 0:35 of 'Lightbearer' and the subsequent melody at 0:57 that falls into waves of immeasurable loss; and, the amazing, RUSH-esque metal on metal riff that's found at 4:41 of 'Lys Milda Ljos' and continues until 5:08. That kind of specific isolation of Kontinuum's best moments is sort of like pointing out key spoilers to a film, I know, but, hey, everyone's busy, and if you don't have the time to let this record's majesty reveal itself to you naturally, you might as well get straight to its finest hours.