Cult Of Luna

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An innovative, experimental, and socio-political-minded Swedish band, Cult of Luna progressed from doomy hardcore enthusiasts in the late ’90s to pioneering progressive post-metallers in the aughts. The band issued five albums for Earache, including the acclaimed Salvation (2004) and Somewhere Along the Highway (2006), before moving to Indie Recordings in the 2010s. Later efforts like Mariner (2016), A Dawn to Fear (2019), and The Long Road North (2022), the latter of which arrived via Metal Blade, continued to pair immersive soundscapes with dynamic technicality.
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 number among their disciples), Cult of Luna are unquestionably among the most accomplished and distinctive bands 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 with 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 latter 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 on 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. February 2021 saw the release of The Raging River, a companion piece to its predecessor that came out of the same sessions. The first album to be released on the band’s own Red Creek label, it featured guest vocals on the track “Inside of a Dream” from Screaming Trees’ Mark Lanegan, with whom they had wanted to collaborate for over 15 years. Later that year, they issued the single “Cold Burn,” ahead of the arrival of 2022′s more nuanced and expansive The Long Road North. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia