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Cult of Luna - Somewhere Along the Highway CD (album) cover

SOMEWHERE ALONG THE HIGHWAY

Cult of Luna

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.19 | 113 ratings

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Moatilliatta
Prog Reviewer
5 stars My fellow reviewer Ian has requested that I review this album, so I thought I would oblige him and get it done sooner than I was planning. You're Welcome!

When you ask someone about post-metal, given that they are familiar with the genre, it's almost certain that they will use Isis, Neurosis or Pelican as its examplary artists. This is quite understandable; Neurosis basically invented the genre, while Isis and Pelican have no doubt released a few of its greatest albums as well as display exactly what this genre is all about while also moving it forward. But at this point, one has to wonder why Cult of Luna aren't one of the bands being mentioned. Scratch that, more than one has to wonder. Stop wondering and start name-dropping these guys, people!

With Somewhere Along the Highway Cult of Luna has created an indisputable masterpiece. And it makes for a great model of the post-metal genre too. The band's dynamics have been exponentially improved on the large scale, where not every song runs through the same old routine. The opener, "Marching to the Heartbeats," already signals the listeners to expect a more refined Cult of Luna. Clean, ever so frail vocals, ambient guitars and huge emotion that was often missing from their previous work make up this intro song. This beautiful track is followed by two songs in the group's traditional form, "Finland" and "Back to Chapel Town." The throbs of rhythm met with thick, muddy chords and throatty vocals are there, as are the cleaner sections, always melancholy, and the huge climaxes, but these tracks seem to be way more impactful than those on the already massive and powerful Salvation. The heavy parts aren't just heavy parts anymore; they serve a greater purpose in the flow of the song and album. The band is putting more thought into the way they form their sections. The heavy parts, while still hitting you like a bus, have more of an atmosphere about them (and that's saying something), and even sometimes have traces of lead lines to remember the part by. They are definitely harnessing the power they hold in having members who only play keys, samples and percussion strictly for added texture. These songs just carry you away in their mighty current. You're powerless when you're absorbed in this album.

After those two comes yet another surprise from the band: "And With Her Came the Birds." Six minutes of that same frail, sung vocal and ambient guitar work, but this time they've included a flippin' banjo! What a tasteful decision that was! It's crazy how mature they sound on this album. Even in comparison to Salvation, which was already leaps and bounds ahead of the band's early output, Somewhere Along the Highway has an artistic sophistication all its own. The emotions, the dynamics, the flow, etc. are almost unmatched.

After another powerhouse in "Thirtyfour," the band treats us with the stunning "Dim," arguably the band's finest piece. It sucks all of the juice out of the fruit of riffs they've grown (I am craving some pineapple at this time), and just builds on itself with the most memorable line in any Cult of Luna song. Stunning! And while that would have been enough to end the album on and leave me totally satisfied, the band manages to toss on another 16 minutes of remarkable music with "Dark City, Dead Men." By now I've been swept away to sea and I've now noticed that this water-based metaphor is no way in line with the themes of the record.

Somewhere Along the Highway is a monster of an album. It is ugly and beautiful at the same time. It should be a prominent title in the post-metal world, and intelligent music in general. Get this album, listen to it a few times, and let Cult of Luna carry you away on irrelevant metaphors (I've kept them minimal for you in this review, but I'd be happy to add a few more if you'd like).

Moatilliatta | 5/5 |

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