Cult of Luna – A Dawn To Fear
Released: September 20th, 2019
Cult of Luna lineup:
Magnus Líndberg // Guitar, Percussion
Johannes Persson // Guitar, Vocals
Andreas Johansson // Bass
Thomas Hedlund // Drums
Fredrik Kihlberg // Guitar, Vocals
Kristian Karlsson // Vocals, Keyboards, Samples
So let me tell you a story.
PS. If you don’t like stories just skip down a paragraph. We can still be friends.
Once upon a time, way back in the dark ages of 2013, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. There was a person who came across a record store and staring up at them from the piles of metalcore dreck was Cult of Luna’s, masterpiece Vertikal. Then 2016 saw the release of the Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas masterpiece Mariner and if that album didn’t just about disintegrate everything in their tiny mind. From the moment the needle hit that record, there was no going back, this person had been irrevocably and unquestionably changed.
In case it wasn’t blatantly fucking obvious, that person was me.
So yeah, Cult of Luna is a special band to me. Because this band is special and if that’s me showing my complete bias on my sleeve. Well fuck, I’m biased. So here we are once again with A Dawn to Fear, the latest from Cult of Luna and in my opinion, one of their best records to date.
Opening with ‘The Silent Man’, Cult of Luna go straight for the jugular this time around. The way the feedback in the opening gives way to one of their most energetic riffs is something to behold. It gets even better when the vocals of Johannes Persson hit your eardrums and bombard you with the aural equivalent of being eaten alive from the inside out and then maybe they play around in your limbs after rolling around in your blood on the floor.
From here on the record goes in some rather unexpected directions. But for the better. There is throughout this album a heightened use of atmospherics to convey the bands’ musical ideas. Take the second track, ‘Lay Your Head To Rest’ or the masterful ‘Lights on the Hill’.
The latter brings the vocals to the fore and elevates the atmospheric drama to peak levels, coming off like an ancient being calling forth the gods. The heavy guitars are even toned down. But don’t mistake that for being softer, because this song is still heavy as fuck. Whilst the former track may be one of the most emotionally affecting songs the band has ever committed to the world. I’m not kidding when I say this song will leave your jaw on the floor in absolute awe, it’s 15 minutes of heartrending beauty and pain and the way it combines brutality with regards to the vocals with the instrumentation is the work of true masters of their craft.
The true centerpiece of this album, however, is the title track. ‘A Dawn To Fear’.
This song is the glue the holds all the subsequent songs together. The guitar work in this one is just breathtaking in the way it evokes an emotional response from the listener and how it inevitably feels like it’s dragging you down into the depths of darkness and pain the band has weaved so masterfully into every inch of this sonic masterpiece.
I mean, fuck. This fucking song. Bravo.
Don’t worry though, if you’re more into the heavier side of the band. They’ve got your back in the shape of ‘Nightwalkers’ which is basically just over ten minutes of being smashed in the face with a really large axe while Persson strangles himself in the depths of hell and grinds your bones into dust.
The album closes with ‘The Fall’ and really it is a culmination of everything this record has to offer. It’s heavy, it’s got melody coming out of everywhere and it just wants to fucking destroy you at every turn. This is Cult of Luna maxed out in every capacity and breaking themselves into nothingness for their art and it’s astonishing to witness
Cult of Luna has created something that not only honours their past but has them firmly pushing themselves into the future. I have no hesitation in saying A Dawn To Fear is one of the crowning achievements of their entire career.
Now I’m going to hit play and take this journey all over again.
A Dawn to Fear is OUT NOW via Metal Blade Records. ORDER HERE
Reviewed by: Kaydan Howison