Album review: Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North

Cult Of Luna continue their journey in the pursuit of heaviness with The Long Road North…

Album review: Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North
Angela Davey

The past few records that Cult Of Luna have released have all possessed names which are suggestive of a journey; A Dawn to Fear, The Raging River, and now The Long Road North. Considering that some of the material on this album was written back in 2016 when Mariner, the band’s collaboration with Julie Christmas, was released it’s easy to see and hear the connective path between each subsequent opus.

The Long Road North is a continuation of that musical voyage. The opening track, Cold Burn, is absolutely enormous, with the crash of the drums alongside colossal guitars and Johannes Perrson’s signature throaty roar feeling genuinely oppressive. While 'bleak and heavy' sits comfortably within Cult Of Luna’s wheelhouse, they’ve demonstrated on previous releases such as Vertikal that they are capable of a more subdued approach, and they work this nicely into the ebb and flow of this particular record.

Beyond I features vocals from Swedish jazz musician Mariam Wallentin, a fitting addition for the eerie, haunting atmosphere of the song, which offers a brief respite before the band launch back into creating further tectonic plate shifting riffs. The soundscapes that surge forth paint a picture of cold, desolate and unforgiving terrain. Incredibly apt, as Johannes has previously explained that while writing this album he was also exploring the remote countryside of Northern Sweden.

Having traversed the entire expanse of the spectrum of atmospheric sludge and post metal in their 24 years of existence, Cult Of Luna’s evolution shows no signs of slowing down. The Long Road North is another welcome addition on their quest to push sonic boundaries and is one of their hardest hitting releases yet.

Verdict: 4/5

For Fans Of: Amenra, Neurosis, Oathbreaker

The Long Road North is released on February 11 via Metal Blade.

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