Review: Cult of Luna – The Long Road North
National Music Reviews
Cult of Luna
The Long Road North
Metal Blade Records
Cult of Luna = Neurosis + Rosetta
Metal Blade Records has some of the heaviest metal bands signed to their label, one of the most progressive being Cult of Luna. Originating in Umeå, Sweden, Cult of Luna formed in 1998 with six current members that are involved in a mix of positions—Johannes Persson and Fredrik Kihlberg on guitar and vocals, Kristian Karlsson on keyboard and vocals, Magnus Lindberg on percussion and guitar, Andreas Johansson on bass and Thomas Hedlund on drums.
Cult of Luna has had many hit albums, their most recent being The Raging River (2021). Their newest, The Long Road North, is worth the listen for those who are trying to get into progressive metal. The versatile vocals and electronics throughout this album gave me major “eternal space” energy, an almost out of body experience. “Cold Burn” is the first track on this album and was personally not one of my favorites because there was no variation of vocals, harmonics and timbre throughout the song. The instrumentals overpowered the vocals, making the track hard to follow along. The first track might discourage listening to the rest of the album, but is essential as it sets the tone for the rest of the songs.
“The Silver Arc” was the next song on the track and will take you further into the void. This song was a woozy headbanger with a wide range of emotions coming from the vocals and the guitar solos that shift your whole mood throughout the song. This composition was such a masterpiece; the tone and timbre was perfectly tranquil.
To get the most out of The Long Road North, play this album the way it is arranged—don’t you dare shuffle it. The songs sync within one another, so much so that you can miss the simple transitions. The third track, “Beyond I,” was truly beyond me; coming in with such an eerie feeling was a nice break from the vicious unruly vocals. The transition from such a massive headbanging song to a floating, out-of-body feeling is what I live for. The album seems to follow a certain theme, a feeling of euphoria or falling further into an endless space. Mariam Walentin’s harmonic vocals fulfill this effect.
One of the coolest transitions is from “Full Moon” to my very personal favorite, “The Long Road North.” With such a subtle shift comes one of the heaviest songs you will hear in the album. This song was phenomenal—it had the most distinctive heavy riffs, brutal vocals, harmonic progressions and a dreadful, intense ending. Cult of Luna has really progressed into their own distinctive sound. This album is worth the listen, especially for those who love progressive metalcore. You can preorder the album at cultofluna.com and stream Cult of Luna on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and many other streaming platforms. Make sure to also check them out on Instagram and Facebook (@cultofluna) to see any upcoming concerts and any new updates on their albums. –Litzi Estrada