Fear the time
Sometimes, keeping up with your favorite bands is hard. When their careers span years—and for some, decades—logging in hours of discographic history could be a full-time job. That goes even further for bands who attempt to make each album an opus, like Sweden’s Cult of Luna. For the past near two decades, they’ve configured post-metal into their own type of settings and code. Sometimes it’s more melodic, sometimes it’s sludgier and doomier but each time, it’s instrumentally heavy even during its more somber parts. Vertikal swift kick in 2013, and their 2016 collaboration with Julie Christmas (of Made Out of Babies and Battle of Mice fame) still remains one of the best releases in recent years in quite a few metal circles.
Mariner’s follow-up, A Dawn to Fear, is a lot to trudge through. It’s eight songs, 80 minutes, and contains enough ups and downs to be like some longwinded rollercoaster. Those peaks and valleys are exactly what make it somewhat difficult to get through but if you’re able to, it’s totally worth it.
The energy that starts the record off is trifold—grimy riffs and pulsing drumming offer a peak from the get-go with opener “The Silent Man,” setting a considerably high tone for the rest of it. “Lay It To Rest” doesn’t meet this intimidation, standing on its own with a brawny chorus progression and some snazzy synth work. The album’s title track takes it even further, transitioning between a slow, moody droniness and layered bits that come to a head about halfway through.
Then, there are tracks like “Light on the Hill.” At just over 15 minutes long, its effectiveness with maintaining attention gets lost along the way. It’s a great track, in all honesty, calling on the band’s post-rock tendencies with instrumental sweeps. The problem comes with the fact that it doesn’t hit until half an hour deep and knowing that there are songs to follow makes it hard to keep track of where your head is in it all. For some, this is a valley, but not necessarily one they’re not willing to travel through.
A Dawn to Fear is heavy and strangely delicate all at once. It reaches great lengths with intent, but it takes a little longer to get there. Seasoned Cult of Luna fans likely see nothing wrong with this, but a newcomer may want to dedicate some time to understand it.