Swedish band Cult of Luna was formed in 1998, and they are known for creating ear-bleeding, post-metal music. Earlier this month, the band released The Long Road North and the whole record has incredible instrumentation and vocals. Each track is filled with solid guitar playing by Magnus Lindberg, Johannes Persson, Fredrik Kihlberg and Andreas Johansson. Along with this is the thunderous drum playing by Thomas Hedlund, righteous keyboard playing by Kristian Karlsson and amazing vocal performances by Persson, Kihlberg and Karlsson. Cult of Luna shows who they are as a band on The Long Road North.
“Cold Burn” starts things off with rhythmic drum beats from Hedlund. Right off the bat, the sound of heavy drum beats emerges from the background with great authority, and Hedlund does a great job of mixing different beats while staying on a simple musical tempo. “Cold Burn” is a bittersweet kick-off that can cause people to drum along while listening.
The beautiful “Beyond I” is a track that features Swedish musician Mariam Wallentin. Throughout the whole song, Wallentin’s smooth and enchanting voice blends in with the delicate piano notes. In some ways, Wallentin’s vocals give an aspect of how she misses someone, and the emotion of wanting to hear that person’s voice can be felt through Wallentin’s powerful voice. “Beyond I” is only three minutes long but Wallentin’s vocal style captures a moment of missing a person who has died.
“An Offering to the Wild’’ is a well-written track featuring lyrics that have a strong meaning behind them. “Far have you wandered/Lay down/Close your eyes/Embrace the final rest/Long-lasting calls wither and die” mentions that when we die nothing else matters because we are offering ourselves to an unknown place. The words in this composition are filled with the feeling of what death could be like when we leave this world. “An Offering to the Wild’’ gives an insight into what the afterlife can be like when we are done living on earth.
Instrumental “Full Moon” is a bit different due to how the guitar playing from Lindberg, Persson, Kihlberg and Johansson steals the show. What captures the moments of strong emotions are the solid guitar riffs filling the atmosphere with electricity and the absolute best part is feeling the vibrations from the guitar playing because the shaky feeling contributes to the non-stop doom that is constantly lingering around. “Full Moon” has energizing guitar playing that can leave people wanting to hear more.
“Blood Upon Stone” features killer, hard-hitting vocal performances by Persson, Kihlberg and Karlsson. What contributes to the never-ending madness is the shouting from all three vocalists. Each shriek is filled with hate and the feeling of anger can be felt through each shout. “Blood Upon Stone” is an example of what post-metal singers should sound like through powerful vocals and strong emotions.
Cult of Luna knows how to create their own kind of havoc on The Long Road North by how each instrument and vocal performance is capable of causing listeners to headbang to the musical vibe.