CULT OF LUNA - Somewhere Along The Highway
The arctic temperatures of Northern Sweden must stimulate the creativity centre of the brain, or how can you explain that some of the best and most diverse Scandinavian bands come from that region? The Refused, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Meshuggah and also Cult Of Luna who just released their fourth album.
I was vaguely familiar with their sound before, but nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming sound on their new epic album. It's just too easy to dismiss Cult Of Luna as just another band inspired by the sonic tapestries of Neurosis, but once you spend a whole afternoon with Somewhere Along The Highway, you will recognise sooner or later that this album is something far beyond the musical capacities of any other band in that genre, meaning that even Neurosis, who undoubtedly were an influence, must work hard to top an effort like this.
The album starts with the short Marching To The Heartbeats, which adds nearly whispered vocals on a backdrop of slow distorted guitars, giving the piece the fragility of a Sigur Ros song minus the androgynous aspect. The eleven minute long Finland begins like a powerful doom metal song, but dont deceive yourself, as Cult Of Luna only use heavy moments to emphasise the fragile beauty of their overall sound. True enough, they are most post rock than doom metal, and on And With Her Came The Birds, we even get the pleasure of hearing a sweetly picked banjo, visualising the bareness they must have near the frosty Arctic Circle.
Its useless to tell you every detail of every song because words could never do this masterpiece justice. Somewhere Along The Highway is an intricately crafted atmospheric rock album, with the aggressive vocals only taking up a small amount of the running time, leaving the majority of minutes to the beautiful soundscapes that remind me very often of the majestic Godspeed You Black Emperor.
Where a lot of post rock bands often lose themselves in the too quiet atmosphere of their music, Cult Of Luna understand that their songs work best when they combine screamo doom parts with symphonic instrumental parts. Somewhere Along The Highway will certainly show up on many best-of lists at the end of this year!