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CULT OF LUNA

Experimental/Post Metal • Sweden


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Cult of Luna biography
In 1998 CULT OF LUNA was formed in Sweden by Johannes PERSSON (guitar) and Klas RYDBERG (vocals). They were joined soon after by Magnus LINDBERG (drums), Erik OLOFSSON (guitar) and Frederik RENSTRÍM (bass). After a short period of time, RENSTRÍM left because of personal difficulties.

After rehearsing and recording a two-track demo in 1999, the band decided an additional member was required on electronics to round out their sound. Drummer Magnus LINDBERG had the experience and equipment so he assumed that role and Marco HILDEN took his place behind the drum kit. New bassist Axel STATTIN was also added to the line-up.

In 2003 CULT OF LUNA was signed to UK label Rage of Achilles and released their self titled debut album. CULT OF LUNA then signed a record deal with Earache Records and recorded their 2003 sophomore album "The Beyond". After these sessions Axel STATTIN left the band and Andreas JOHANSSON joined in on bass. The band toured Europe in support of the album and then endured more line-up changes, with drummer Marco HILDEN being replaced by Thomas HEDLUND, and Anders TEGLUND being permanently added on keyboards. Magnus LINDBERG took care of percussion and additional guitar parts.

After extensively touring, CULT OF LUNA entered the studio to record their third album. In 2004 "Salvation" was released and the band went on tour to support the new album. This tour saw the addition of Fredrik KIHLBERG on percussion and clean vocals. The live line-up also underwent a change because Thomas HEDLUND couldn't participate because of other commitments and Magnus LINDBERG took over live drumming chores.

In 2006 CULT OF LUNA released their critically acclaimed fourth album "Somewhere Along the Highway". And in 2008 the band floowed it up with the lease of their fifth full-length album "Eternal Kingdom".

CULT OF LUNA'S songs are often long, slow, repetitive and crushing, heavy sections of distorted guitars often interspersed with orchestral interludes or extended, post-rock-esque forays. They shun conventional song structures, opting for a sound that evolves throughout a song, sometimes toward a climactic crescendo, instead of a verse-chorus-verse pattern. That style, incorporating sections of 'light and dark' into their music, has led to comparisons with contemporaries such as ISIS, CALLISTO and PELICAN, as well as the significantl...
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CULT OF LUNA discography


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CULT OF LUNA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.08 | 25 ratings
Cult of Luna
2001
3.19 | 32 ratings
The Beyond
2002
3.84 | 52 ratings
Salvation
2004
4.19 | 130 ratings
Somewhere Along the Highway
2006
3.69 | 39 ratings
Eternal Kingdom
2008
3.97 | 98 ratings
Vertikal
2013
4.23 | 13 ratings
Mariner
2016

CULT OF LUNA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CULT OF LUNA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CULT OF LUNA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CULT OF LUNA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.40 | 5 ratings
Vertikal II
2013

CULT OF LUNA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mariner by CULT OF LUNA album cover Studio Album, 2016
4.23 | 13 ratings

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Mariner
Cult of Luna Experimental/Post Metal

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars With Isis broken up and Neurosis' Honor Found in Decay proving less satisfactory to fans than most of that seminal band's previous releases, a strong case could be made that Cult of Luna are now the standard-bearers of post-metal. They have released a string of genre-defining masterpieces, amongst them their self-titled album, Salvation, Somewhere Along the Highway, and Vertikal, and there are really very few other artists in the genre who manage the sophistication of their music.

Their latest work, Mariner, is a collaboration with renowned post-metal vocalist Julie Christmas. If anything, I would say the addition of Christmas to their sound has pushed the quality and scope of the band's compositions to new heights. This album is a concept album about space exploration, and the music is suitably grandiose to match. Christmas is an absurdly versatile vocalist, capable of evoking every emotion imaginable impeccably through both her beautiful clean singing and her spine-tingling screams. The Cult of Luna vocalists throw in some of their own vocals for contrast, and they too vary between harsh vocals and clean singing. There has never been more vocal versatility on a Cult of Luna album, and the benefit to the music is immense.

The compositions on this album include some of the band's best, but particular standout tracks include the opener "A Greater Call", which sets the tone of the album superbly, and the closer "Cygnus", which may honestly be the single best post-metal song I have ever heard. The band layers walls upon walls of everything into the song as it builds to its climax and the effect is like nothing I've ever heard before. The vocals in particular stand out (I know I've already spent several sentences praising the vocal work on this album, but really).

I would recommend interested listeners pick up either the vinyl edition of this album or the Japanese import, as both feature as a bonus track "Beyond the Redshift". It differs from most of the rest of the content of the album by being a serene ambient piece with only occasional wordless vocals in the background preventing it from being a complete instrumental.

My only significant disappointment about this album is that they apparently aren't planning on performing any of its material live. I can't express how much I'd love to see this material live. I find myself strongly wishing the band would invite Christmas to become their permanent vocalist and perform the whole album live. That would be an experience I would be sure never to forget.

This album is monumental, and is likely to be viewed in ten years' time as one of the defining works of post-metal. The only release I have heard this year that I would rank above it is David Bowie's Blackstar, and I have a very difficult time imagining any metal release this year topping this.

 Cult of Luna by CULT OF LUNA album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.08 | 25 ratings

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Cult of Luna
Cult of Luna Experimental/Post Metal

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars The conventional wisdom about Cult of Luna's self-titled dÚbut album is that it's a less sophisticated and dynamic affair than the band's later material. This is actually almost entirely wrong; the band goes through nearly as many dynamic shifts as on any of their later material, and the band's slowly evolving post-metal soundscapes were already fully formed on this release. It is a bit of an oddity in their discography, due to a larger hardcore punk and doom metal influence, and it is substantially heavier than their later material, but by no means should anyone think of this release as musically unsophisticated. In fact, while Salvation and Somewhere Along the Highway are deservingly regarded as two of the best albums post-metal has to offer, their dÚbut nonetheless contains some of the band's best work.

A case in point can be found with the second track, "Hollow". It opens with a crushing sludge metal riff and some of the most frantic drumming to be found anywhere in the genre. It is not, however, by any means a musically unsophisticated composition; it evolves slowly over its ten-minute running time and the slow evolution pays off for a patient listener. The album's centrepiece, "Sleep", is even better; it almost rivals the composition of the same name from Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven in quality. After a heartbreaking intro featuring some superb doom riffing, what sounds like a sombre viola, and the highly effective shrieks of vocalist Klas Ryberg, the piece gradually lowers in intensity until suddenly it returns to the intensity of the song's crushing opening. The effectiveness of this reprisal cannot possibly be overstated; after seven superb full-length albums, this song remains one of the finest in Cult of Luna's discography.

A song-by-song review would be superfluous; while the album has substantial dynamic shifts, it maintains a similar mood throughout, which can make it inaccessible to listeners who are not willing to give this album the attention it deserves. However, it will reward listeners who do so; there is some superb music here, with the only significant flaw being the "loudness war" mastering (which is a problem on Cult of Luna's other releases, too, so it's nothing new, although it does seem slightly worse here). I would rank this in Cult of Luna's top four albums, alongside the aforementioned Salvation and Somewhere Along the Highway, as well as Mariner, their collaboration with Julie Christmas. This is almost flawless post-metal and, to me, represents a landmark of the genre alongside the high points of Neurosis and Isis.

 Cult of Luna by CULT OF LUNA album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.08 | 25 ratings

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Cult of Luna
Cult of Luna Experimental/Post Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Cult of Luna" is the debut full-length studio album by Swedish sludge/post metal act Cult of Luna. The album was released through Rage of Achilles Records in August 2001. Earache Records re-released the album on CD in 2003 and on double vinyl in 2010.

The music on the album is sludge/post metal with roots in post hardcore (the Swedish post harcore pioneers in Breach are definitely not unknown to these guys). The tracks are mostly slow-to mid paced featuring some really raw and heavy sludgy riffing and some pretty extreme shouting vocals. The music is for the most part rather abrasive and probably purposedly designed to make your ears bleed but there are some more atmospheric post metal parts in the music too. They are very few though and this is first and foremost a brick heavy and fiercely aggressive album. The general lack of dynamics in the tracks, can make the 8 track, 61:06 minutes long album a bit of a trial to get through but if you like them as harsh, uninviting and raw as they come this album certainly applies.

The sound production is equally raw and gritty and it┤s hard not to at least partially enjoy the sensation of being hit on the head by a brick heavy dose of sludge/post metal when it is delivered with the fierce conviction and professionalism as it is here. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

 Vertikal by CULT OF LUNA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.97 | 98 ratings

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Vertikal
Cult of Luna Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The three Cult of Luna albums I'd heard preceding this - the run from Salvation to Eternal Highway - had all presented enjoyable post-metal soundscapes, but I'd always felt that there was the potential for them to raise the bar a little, and on Vertikal they had just done that. Juxtaposing their trademark sludge metal-derived rants with bleak instrumental passages which really capture the bleak, monochrome sound the band are going for. It particularly comes together on the epic Vicarious Redemption, which comes into slow, juddering life like an engine firing up and doesn't let go once it gets rolling. In short, it's Cult of Luna's best yet.
 Vertikal by CULT OF LUNA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.97 | 98 ratings

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Vertikal
Cult of Luna Experimental/Post Metal

Review by cris_ostoma

4 stars It's been five years since Cult of Luna published his latest album. Five years is enough time to create expectations (false or not) and feed hope (false or not). But the fact is that Vertikal is an outstanding album for any lover of the genre. There's nothing new in here really, but Cult of Luna want to take a further step and venture into unknown territories for them. At least we get an album that sounds fresh and mature.

I didn't want to talk about any song in particular, but hell, Vicarious Redemption is terrifying (in the good sense of the word). I really like how these guys construct that monster. The first part reminds me a funeral jazz sound.

So yes, a fantastic album. Maybe you have to be in the right mood to digest it, but if you are it is a great experience.

 Vertikal by CULT OF LUNA album cover Studio Album, 2013
3.97 | 98 ratings

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Vertikal
Cult of Luna Experimental/Post Metal

Review by EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 7/10

Pixillated Sludge Metal That Still Rocks.

At their sixth album, Cult Of Luna once again keep their roots solidly untouched, experimenting more with sound and exploring new sonic territories they'd yet to venture in. 'Vertikal' hasn't pleased all fans because of these reasons, or because it's been thought that these new ideas haven't been developed in a better way. Opinions vary, but in my eyes this is one of the better albums by the Swedish band, and it's good to see that experimentation in Metal bands today is still very embraced.

On this new album, Cult Of Luna take a step forward especially with the sonic decorations, these bursts of electronic layering that in the past were present, excellent, but not essential, are now pretty prominent, and sound quite different as well: the rough production creates these razor-sharp synth pulses that come and go throughout the album, some of them are not at all accompaniments and play a major, if not completely essential role for a track. This peculiarly rough production compliments also the crushing guitars, here more crushing than any other Cult Of Luna LP so far, and that is saying a lot.

But Cult Of Luna have not distanced themselves from their original style enough to not sound like Cult Of Luna: the riffs are overall crafted in the same fashion as their previous compositions, and anyone who has heard their previous work can confirm.

As for the album itself: it's an album that at first feels a little generic and familiar, but with further listens, it reveals a sophistication that was heard only on the band's better albums. Every song has its unique role, and they all do the job done well, some times, excellently. 'I, The Weapon' and 'Synchronicity' are the catchiest and at the same time better structured songs, in spite of the eighteen minute monster 'Vicarious Redemption', which is nicely arranged and structured but doesn't quite justify its length. 'Mute Departure' has nice, heavy moments, 'The Sweep' is an interesting divisive interlude of the album and 'Passing Through' closes everything quite well, a calm, tense piece that ends it all with a suspended note.

'Vertical' is the living proof that Cult Of Luna have not stepped down their game just yet, and are willing meander into new paths and directions, sounding a whole lot more interesting than many Sludge Metal bands today, who merely model a sound that is perhaps too familiar nowadays.

 Eternal Kingdom by CULT OF LUNA album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.69 | 39 ratings

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Eternal Kingdom
Cult of Luna Experimental/Post Metal

Review by EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 7/10

A Rock Solid Shell.

After the success of 'Somewhere Along The Highway' Cult Of Luna come up with 'Eternal Kingdom' two years later, an album that was inevitably anticipated because of its predecessor, and unfortunately inferior in quality. More straightforward and much less atmospheric than their previous two albums, this is an LP focused mostly on songwriting and musicianship, which, although always right on spot, was never an especially highlighted characteristic in Cult Of Luna's music. Because these musicians have talent, the second quality works fabulously, leading to an interplay between group members that was not heard before by them, because of how they've now gained much more experience in working with each other. The song-writing, however, is relying less on emotion, more on logic. In other words, 'Eternal Kingdom' has a lot less heart than other Cult Of Luna albums, even though there's not really a bad song here.

 Somewhere Along the Highway by CULT OF LUNA album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.19 | 130 ratings

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Somewhere Along the Highway
Cult of Luna Experimental/Post Metal

Review by EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 8/10

Desolation In Its Roundest Body.

"Somewhere Along The Highway" is recognized as the magnum opus of Swedish Sludge Metal band Cult Of Luna. Although an album like "Salvation", which was the band's previous effort, would be a good competitor to the honorable title, this fourth album showed a quality that "Salvation" didn't have in great abundance: a distinct, extremely original sound that can only be of COL. Turns out in the end that "Somewhere Along The Highway" is not only the best Cult Of Luna LP so far, it is also THE Cult Of Luna album by definition.

This is one of those albums in which every song stands out for being different from the rest of the tracks, in some form or the other, and one of those albums that has an extremely peculiar structure. There are as usual strong, heavy moments alternated with softer ones, but there is a greater sense of dynamism and interplay than in what was heard in "Salvation", making it an even more elaborate listen. In its more atmospheric moments, the music brings to life feelings of loneliness and despair, without ever being depressing, almost as if it were an album that has accepted its solitude long ago, and is simply manifesting it to an audience.

From the syncopated claps that begin "Finland", the second track of the album, the listener already familiar with the band's previous work notices the change in direction COL has faced, and appreciates how high the level of finesse the band has reached in both production and song-writing. This song might just be the best thing Cult Of Luna has ever done, and this is just starting the whole experience. "Back From Chapel Town" is another excellent track, with a handful of smooth transitional moments and an explosive middle piece. "And With Her Came The Birds" is the song that separates the two halves of the album, a tense, quiet track that however unveils a sense of beauty Cult Of Luna probably never have shown before.

Now the second half of the album is inferior to the amazing first half, but it has the advantage of having " Dark City, Dead Man", probably the most well-arranged and structured song the band has recorded so far, extending across a impressing arch of fifteen minutes.

The so-called Atmospheric Sludge Metal/Post-Metal movement owes a lot to this album. It's one that many can find themselves loving even though not necessarily being fans of either the band or the genre. Calling it a landmark in 21st century Metal music would probably be close enough to enclose its stellar value with one sentence.

 Salvation by CULT OF LUNA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.84 | 52 ratings

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Salvation
Cult of Luna Experimental/Post Metal

Review by EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 8/10

Tides Of Distortion, Waves Of Emotion.

The first two albums from Cult Of Luna were interesting and promising, but missing of sophistication, maturity, and overall replay value. Many Metal bands start with releases of this sort, even the great bands. Cult Of Luna as a matter of fact might just be one of these bands; in 2004, only a year after their sophomore album, "Salvation" hits the metal community like a thunderbolt.

Like many Sludge Metal bands, the Swedish decided to fill their music with shades of Post- Rock and mixing them with their basic Sludge roots, resulting in a music that has been labeled by some Post-Metal, with acts such as Isis and Neurosis being principal pioneers. Cult Of Luna's music now is distinct and unique, despite not being particularly innovating. The length of the songs has stretched, the recording is clean and generous to details, but not clean enough to ruin the body-crushing riffs that domain most of this album. The songwriting here is the massive improvement, as songs such as the opening track "Echoes" clearly proves, an eleven minute monster that for the first five minutes beautifully builds up to an eventual climax. It's a perfect summary of what the remaining hour of the album has to offer, which is a complex pattern of Post-Rockish crescendos and bursts of crunchy riffage, occasionally veiled by bold electronic sounds to further enrich the music.

Other noteworthy songs include the towering, eleven-minute, rhythm-heavy "Vague Illusions", The long build ups of "Waiting For You" and "Crossing Over", and the shorter, to- the-point catchy and heavy songs like "White Cell" and "Leave Me Here". Then there's "Into the Beyond", the final settlement, one of the best moments Cult Of Luna has ever accomplished, full of ups and downs and emotional swings.

"Salvation" doesn't deny its influences from bands like Isis, but its sound is fresh enough and its level of musicianship is high enough for it to be generally considered to be one of the most successful, complex, and elaborate Sludge Metal albums ever released. Also, the fact that Cult Of Luna still today have other great things to say makes them one of the best Sludge Metal acts.

 The Beyond by CULT OF LUNA album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.19 | 32 ratings

BUY
The Beyond
Cult of Luna Experimental/Post Metal

Review by EatThatPhonebook
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 5/10

An Average Transitional Album.

Swedish Sludge Metal band Cult Of Luna release their second album, "The Beyond", in 2003, two years after the band's debut. Little however seems to have blossomed quality-wise: the band's style hasn't changed its ways, but some influences, such as Post-Hardcore and Metalcore, are a little less felt. Also a better production, and a greater focus on arranging the songs more ambitiously, are clearly a top priority. "the Beyond" is overall a step forward towards a more mature and developed sound (which will be acquired with 2004's "Salvation"), as the band clearly goes towards a more Progressive-related sound, with longer songs, greater relevance to slower moments, and interesting electronic/ambient sounds. The step forward is admirable and unquestionable, but the album itself lacks a lot of memorable material, furthermore, it drags on for an inappropriately long time (almost 75 minutes), and the sense of boredom might catch up on the listener more than a few times throughout.

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