• Caroline De Lobel

Albums | Cult Of Luna, The Long Road North


De Zweedse post-metal band Cult Of Luna staat al jaren gekend door hun episch geluid doordrenkt van emoties, lange nummers waarvan elke moment telt waardoor ze zich onderscheiden van menige bands. In 2019 waren ze op weg naar het hoogtepunt in hun carrière door de release van A Dawn To Fear, deze reis verliep verder in hun ep The raging River en eindigt nu met The Long Road North. De titel symboliseert de mentale reis van zanger Johannes Persson die hij een paar jaar geleden heeft doorgemaakt. In deze bedwelmende plaat vol met hoogtepunten zit hun meest dynamische en mooi werk , ze lieten zich leiden door hun instincten waardoor er meer geschreven werd vanuit het hart.


De opener Cold Burn laat ons horen dat we ons bevinden in bekend maar toch wel verfrissend Cult Of Luna territorium. Opvallende nummers zijn Beyond I en Beyond II, want hier nemen ze externe artiesten Mariam Wallertin en Colin Stetson onder de arm om hun visie te realiseren en een kalmer geluid te creëren. Colin Stetson die onder andere ook gewerkt heeft met Arcade Fire, Bon Iver en Tom Waits laat ook zijn stempel achter op het nummer An Offering To The Wild, een opbouwend nummer van dertien minuten met een onberispelijk samenspel tussen drum en baslijnen waardoor je de stijgende energie voelt.


The Silver Arc laat het tempo even zakken na Cold Burn en bevat in de zeven minuten genoeg sierlijke melodieën om het momentum vooruit te helpen.

Full Moon is een kort vignet van drie minuten met folk westerse invloeden en een glijdend gitaarspel.

Op het oersterke elf minuten durende Blood Upon A Stone werd het karakteristieke gitaarspel van enkele leden van de band Phoenix toegevoegd.

Het prachtige Into The Night met sombere gitaren en melancholische zang ontploft na zeven minuten in een mooie woede. De titeltrack The Long Road North is een tien minuten durend nummer met rauwe zang van de bovenste plank.

Het is duidelijk dat de mannen een ijzersterke plaat hebben neergezet , een plaat vol met hoogtepunten waar je enkel maar kan van genieten en die elke verwachting overtreft , een filmische reis van zeventig minuten die je blijft boeien.


Releasedatum: 11 Februari 2022


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"I think one of the reasons why we have been able to be so productive the last couple of years is that we have been consistently writing from the heart. We have let our instincts guide us, and I think it's getting clearer where we are heading," says vocalist/guitarist Johannes Persson, who has been one of the primary driving forces behind the band since their inception. "Another key aspect of how we were able to speed up the process is that I have moved back to Umeå after fifteen years in Stockholm. It made it very easy to meet up and work together instead of writing everything in a few but very long sessions."


The title of the album has deep meaning to the front-man, tying into its predecessors. "'The Long Road North' is a title that symbolizes the mental journey I went through a few years ago. The lyric to the song was one of the first that I wrote when we started writing again after 'Mariner' (2016). The process that I've gone through has been challenging, but I've stayed true to the answers I found, so I'm in a completely different place now than I was then. If 'A Dawn To Fear' and 'The Raging River' were born from making sense of some sort of emotional chaos, 'The Long Road North' is an analogy for finding a way out of it and taking the first step towards where I want to be. Even though I'm not in that place anymore and the journey is ongoing, I feel that the title is a milestone that needs to be passed before we continue." The lyrical content is a mixture between where Persson was and where he now finds himself, since the words were written over such an extended time period. Over the years, he has grown fond of letting his instincts loose when it comes to lyrics, even if he feels he repeats himself, and he also took a slightly different approach this time out. "One thing that differs between this record and the two others in this series is that I for the first time have on a few occasions used concrete subject matters, matters that popped into my head and that I wanted to get out. I've travelled a lot in the northern parts of Sweden since I moved here, and the environment and the sceneries from the north have definitely inspired me to paint them with words."


Bringing some unfinished recordings from A Dawn To Fear into this record, which were tracked in Ålesund, Norway, the bulk of the sessions for The Long Road North were bound to Umeå, due to the pandemic. Pleased with the drum sound on The Raging River, they went back to Daniel Berglund and Sandås Studio to record drums and percussion, while the rest was done at Second Home studios, with the band as usual producing everything themselves. "Our intention was to try to work together as much as possible, as we did when we recorded 'A Dawn To Fear'. But instead, the process dragged out and the Covid situation forced us to work more on an individual basis and in more sessions. In some ways, the process dragging on for a longer time than we expected was a good thing, it helped us digest the songs much more and gave us perspectives of the songs and the record that I think only time can provide. We made some big changes in both the songs and the structure of the album very late in the process." Alongside Stetson and Wallentin, they also recruited friends Christian Mazzalai and Laurent Brancowitz from the French band Phoenix to add their characteristic guitar to titanic standout track "Blood Upon Stone". "They were generous enough with their time and creativity to help us out. All these amazing musicians have helped us create something that we definitely wouldn't be able to do by ourselves." With tours booked and the hope of making it onto some festival bills in 2022, Cult Of Luna are at this stage very much looking forward, while keeping their ambitions characteristically modest. "Everything we have done the last twenty years has been more than we could ever dreamt of. A goal as good as any is just to continue doing what we are doing on our terms for another year."