Cult of Luna
Formed from the remnants of a hardcore band named Eclipse in the far northern Swedish town of Umeå (also home to avant-hardcore masters Refused and metal extremists Meshuggah and Naglfar), Cult of Luna have perfected an elaborate, extremely dark progressive style of metalcore largely derived from the pioneering work of America's Neurosis. Although hardly the only band to find inspiration in the Bay Area bunch (Isis and Rwake also numbering among their disciples), Cult of Luna are unquestionably among the most accomplished and distinctive in their own right, making an immediate impression upon metal fans with their eponymous 2001 debut through Rage of Achilles, and attaining further noisecore cred via a 7" release on tastemaker Hydra Head Records the following year. Their sophomore effort, The Beyond, solidified their standing a couple of years later and inaugurated a new relationship with Earache for vocalist Klas Rydberg, guitarists Erik Olofsson and Johannes Persson, bassist Andreas Johansson, keyboardist Magnus Lindberg, and drummer Marco Hilden. The last was replaced by Thomas Hedlund the next year, and Cult of Luna expanded to a seven-piece with the addition of Anders Teglund (samples) for 2004's critically acclaimed Salvation album. Released in 2006, the conceptual Somewhere Along the Highway drew more raves, with Decibel magazine ranking the LP fifth among their top albums of the year. Arriving in 2008, the dark and punishing Eternal Kingdom earned the band a Grammisgalan nomination (the Swedish equivalent of a Grammy Award), and 2013's Vertikal, released via Norwegian label Indie Recordings, drew inspiration from director Fritz Lang's classic sci-fi drama Metropolis. A companion EP, Vertikal II, dropped later that year, and in 2016 the band issued the space exploration-themed Mariner, a collaboration with American vocalist Julie Christmas (Made Out of Babies, Battle of Mice). Re-entering the studio in 2019 with no pre-conceived ideas, the band set about recording their expansive eighth studio album, A Dawn to Fear. The heavier-sounding release saw them bringing acoustic elements and organs into the mix for the first time. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia
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Metal - Released September 20, 2019 | Metal Blade Records
Managing to produce an eighth album that lasts almost eighty minutes over eight tracks, three years after the release of a critically acclaimed record when the band was not the main source of income for its members, is a challenge that only a panel of carefully selected bands are able to meet. Yet Cult of Luna have passed with flying colours, delivering the brilliant A Dawn to Fear. Trying to tie the northern combo down to one genre would be pointless, even under the label “post-[insert genre here]”, as they have always managed to explore these icy regions without ever repeating the same formula. While Vertikal was cold and packed with gravitas, and Mariner was particularly aerial, A Dawn to Fear marks their return to earth, to the organic, to the visceral. Particularly dense and rich, this record offers a synthesis of Cult of Luna, showcasing all the band’s fortes, from their epic riffs (see the opening notes of The Silent Man) to their trance- inducing long post-rock solos (A Dawn to Fear and Lights on the Hill last 15 minutes) while knowing how (and this is the band’s strength) to surprise even their most devoted fans. Like all great works, A Dawn to Fear is not easily tamed. You must listen to the record several times to comprehend its intrinsic depth. One of the most beautiful metal releases of 2019 to be consumed without moderation, if possible on top volume in front of a fire while a storm rages outside. © Théo Roumier/Qobuz
Hard Rock - Released January 29, 2013 | Indie Recordings
On Vertikal, the sixth album from Cult of Luna, the Swedish band returns after a five-year gap with an album of rigidly structured and massively heavy post-metal. Punctuated by electronic interludes, the album shows off Cult of Luna's patience for a good, slow build as they carefully assemble layers and connect passages, stopping only when the monstrous songs they've built are fully operational and ready to rampage by way of a destructively heavy riff. Confident in their craft, the bandmembers are careful never to rush things, allowing the songs on Vertikal to play out the way they're supposed to, as is the case with the 18-and-a-half-minute epic "Vicarious Redemption," which seems to grow exponentially as it slowly plods toward its conclusion. While Cult of Luna have always been an impressive band, the solid construction and merciless execution of Vertikal makes for an incredible listening experience. ~ Gregory Heaney
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