Cult of Luna

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Cult of Luna
Cult of Luna, Peace and Love 2009.jpg
Cult of Luna at Peace & Love in Borlänge, Sweden in 2009
Background information
Origin Umeå, Sweden
Genres Post-metal, sludge metal
Years active1998 (1998)–present
Labels Earache, Indie, Metal Blade
Associated acts Khoma, Convoj, Deportees, The Perishers, Riwen, Julie Christmas, Rorcal
  • Thomas Hedlund
  • Andreas Johansson
  • Fredrik Kihlberg
  • Magnus Líndberg
  • Johannes Persson
  • Kristian Karlsson
Past members
  • Marco Hildén
  • Axel Stattin
  • Klas Rydberg
  • Erik Olòfsson
  • Anders Teglund

Cult of Luna is a Swedish heavy metal band from Umeå founded in 1998. [1] They are known for post-metal music similar to the contemporary bands Neurosis and Isis. The band was signed to Earache Records in the early 2000s and released five albums, including the commercially successful albums Salvation (2004) and Somewhere Along the Highway (2006). After an extended period of inactivity, Cult of Luna returned with its Indie Recordings debut Vertikal (2013) and companion EP Vertikal II (2013), both drawing inspiration from Fritz Lang's 1927 film, Metropolis . In 2016 the band released their space-themed seventh album, Mariner , featuring American vocalist Julie Christmas.

Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the United Kingdom. With roots in blues rock, psychedelic rock, and acid rock, the bands that created heavy metal developed a thick, massive sound, characterized by highly amplified distortion, extended guitar solos, emphatic beats, and overall loudness. The genre's lyrics and performance styles are sometimes associated with aggression and machismo.

Umeå Municipality Municipality in Västerbotten County, Sweden

Umeå Municipality is a municipality in Västerbotten County in northern Sweden. Its seat is Umeå, which is also the county seat of Västerbotten County.

Post-metal is a style of music that is rooted in heavy metal but explores approaches beyond the genre's conventions. It emerged in the 1990s through the work of bands such as Neurosis and Godflesh who transformed metal texture through experimental composition. Associated with and inspired by post-rock and post-hardcore, the genre employs the darkness and intensity of extreme metal but emphasizes atmosphere, emotion, and even "revelation", drawing on a wide range of sources including ambient, noise, psychedelic, progressive, and classical music to develop an expansive but introspective sound. Post-metal songs are typically long, with loose and layered structures that discard the verse–chorus form in favor of crescendos and repeating themes. The sound centres on guitars and drums; any vocals are usually screamed or growled and resemble an additional instrument.



Formation and early releases (1998–2007)

They formed from the remnants of a Umeå hardcore punk band called Eclipse in 1998. They slowly garnered critical appreciation and underground popularity with early releases Cult of Luna (2001) and The Beyond (2003); however, it is 2004's Salvation that can be considered their 'breakthrough' release. This was followed by Somewhere Along the Highway in 2006, another largely well-received album.

Hardcore punk Subgenre of punk rock

Hardcore punk is a punk rock music genre and subculture that originated in the late 1970s. It is generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock. Its roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes in San Francisco and Southern California which arose as a reaction against the still predominant hippie cultural climate of the time. It was also inspired by New York punk rock and early proto-punk. New York punk had a harder-edged sound than its San Francisco counterpart, featuring anti-art expressions of masculine anger, energy, and subversive humor. Hardcore punk generally disavows commercialism, the established music industry and "anything similar to the characteristics of mainstream rock" and often addresses social and political topics with "confrontational, politically-charged lyrics."

<i>Cult of Luna</i> (album) 2001 studio album by Cult of Luna

Cult of Luna is the debut full-length album by Swedish post-metal band Cult of Luna, released in 2001. It was originally released by Rage of Achilles, and later by Earache Records after the band signed a record contract.

<i>The Beyond</i> (album) 2003 studio album by Cult of Luna

The Beyond is the second studio album by Swedish post-metal band Cult of Luna, released in 2003. The subject matter is dissent with authorities, similar in some ways to contemporaries Isis' Panopticon. This album sees the rawness of the self-titled debut channeled into a cleaner sounding and more crisply produced sound. The tempo is slowed and the feeling is of a more expansive, reflective album, which almost bridges the gap between Cult of Luna and Salvation, leaning more towards the former.

In August 2006, the band released a remake of "Marching to the Heartbeats" from Somewhere Along the Highway entitled "Heartbeats" solely on the internet community MySpace. The song was available for download for a few days and was later removed. The point was to see if the song would be kept alive by file sharing, and was also apparently a statement against the conservative music industry, said keyboardist Anders Teglund in an interview. [2]

File sharing is the practice of distributing or providing access to digital media, such as computer programs, multimedia, documents or electronic books. File sharing may be achieved in a number of ways. Common methods of storage, transmission and dispersion include manual sharing utilizing removable media, centralized servers on computer networks, World Wide Web-based hyperlinked documents, and the use of distributed peer-to-peer networking.

Eternal Kingdom (2008–2011)

In 2008 the band released its fifth album, Eternal Kingdom . It was released in Europe on June 16, followed by its release in the United States on July 8.

<i>Eternal Kingdom</i> 2008 studio album by Cult of Luna

Eternal Kingdom is the fifth full-length album from the Swedish post-metal band Cult of Luna. It was released in 2008 on Earache Records like the band's previous three albums. The album was recorded at Tonteknik Studios in Umeå where the band originates from between February to April 2008.

In 2009 they released the Fire Was Born DVD including a live performance from 2008, an interview with the band, as well as all of the band's videos. [3]

On October 18, 2009, the band released Eviga riket, a hardback book/audiobook covering the story and themes from Eternal Kingdom. The book and audiobook are bilingual, printed and spoken both in Swedish and English. The audiobook contains new pieces of music and soundscapes written by the band. Eviga riket was released the 23 of February 2010. [4]

An audiobook is a recording of a book or other work being read out loud. A reading of the complete text is described as "unabridged", while readings of a shorter version, or abridgement of the text are labeled as "abridged".

Vertikal and Vertikal II (2012–2015)

On October 8, 2012, the band announced the title of their sixth studio album as Vertikal , as well as the first leg of their upcoming European tour. The release dates were confirmed as November 5, with the European release on January 25, 2013, and the American release four days later on January 29, 2013. [5] A companion EP, Vertikal II was released on September 20, 2013. It includes the three songs with which Cult of Luna intended to conclude Vertikal as well as a remix of "Vicarious Redemption" by Justin Broadrick.

On December 17, 2013, the band announced that they'd be taking a break of sorts for the foreseeable future stating "2013 have been a very active year for us and neither do we want or think it is good to continue in that pace" they also said "Sooner or later we will return in one form or another".

In May 2014 the band curated the Beyond The Redshift festival in London, held across 3 venues with Cult Of Luna closing the festival with a headlining set at the Forum. [6]

New lineup and Mariner with Julie Christmas (2016)

During the recording sessions and supporting tours for Vertikal, Cult of Luna made two major lineup changes that weren't publicly addressed until 2016. While recording the album in 2012, keyboardist Anders Teglund "left the band unexpectedly" and later was replaced by Kristian Karlsson of Pg Lost. [7] Founding guitarist Erik Olofsson told the band he wished to leave, and his final live performance with the band became 2014's Beyond the Redshift festival. Cult of Luna stated that while he is no longer a full-time member, "he is still a part of the Cult of Luna universe." He has been temporarily replaced by David Johansson of Kongh. [7]

On April 8, 2016, Cult of Luna released its seventh studio album titled Mariner — a collaborative release with the American vocalist Julie Christmas, formerly of Made Out of Babies and Battle of Mice. Contrasting the industrial- and city-focused Vertikal, Mariner explores themes relating to outer space.

Before Mariner was officially released, Cult of Luna had already begun writing new music for their eighth studio album. Persson stated that the band already had the album's concept and theme in mind, stating: "The last few records have been this kind of continuous journey from the forest to the sky and I know where we're going after this." [8]

Johannes Persson stated in an interview in April 2016 that in 2013 he never talked about taking a break as previously reported, "what I wanted to say [...] is that we didn't have anything planned for the future" and added "for sure I never used the word hiatus". [9]

In December 2016 Cult of Luna announced new live release Years in a Day scheduled for April 21, 2017. A live bundle limited to 7000 copies would feature a DVD of a show in Paris from theSomewhere Along the Highway 10th anniversary tour in 2015, 2 CDs featuring the band's performances at the Roadburn Festival in 2013 and 2016, digital audio and some other bonuses. [10] Preorders of Years in a Day started on January 20, 2017 along with preorders of two live vinyl albums from the shows at Roadburn Festival in 2013 and 2016. These are the same as those included on CD in Years in a Day. The two live vinyl albums are limited to 500 copies each. [11] A live triple disc vinyl album from the show at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris, which is the same as on the DVD in Years in a Day, was also released on April 21, 2017. The vinyl is limited to 1000 copies on orange vinyl with yellow splatter. It was also released on black vinyl and CD. [12]

In November 2017 Cult of Luna announced the release of live album and documentary Mariner Live in April 2018. Prior to the official release, the band released a short version of the documentary on the making of the Mariner album and the tour in support of it on the band's YouTube channel. The live album features the entire performance of Mariner which was recorded in November 2016 in Kortrijk, Belgium . [13]

New album and tour (2019–present)

At the end of 2018 Cult of Luna announced the beginning of recording sessions and posted teaser photos from the studio on band's social media throughout 2019. A number of 2019 European summer festival appearances were confirmed along the way. On March 20, 2019 the band announced signing a deal with Metal Blade Records and first batch of European tour dates scheduled for Autumn 2019. [14] [15] On May 6, 2019 the new song The Silent Man became available on all platforms along with announcement of fall 2019 release of yet-untitled new album. [16] [17]

Musical style and influences

Cult of Luna's sound has progressed from early material being heavily doom metal influenced to one much less aggressive and more concerned with orchestration. Fans and critics have termed this sound post-metal. The band is considered to be at the forefront of the genre, along with contemporary proponents Neurosis and Isis.

Its songs are often long, slow, repetitive and crushing, heavy sections of distorted guitars often interspersed with orchestral interludes and extended, post-rock-esque forays. The group shuns conventional song structures, opting for a sound that evolves throughout a song, sometimes toward a climactic crescendo, instead of a verse-chorus-verse pattern. That style, incorporating sections of "light and dark" into their music, has led to comparisons with contemporaries such as Isis (with whom they have toured), Callisto and Pelican, as well as the significantly older Neurosis. Former singer Klas Rydberg, however, has stated that decidedly Radiohead are an influence. [18]


As the band progressed, the imagery they employed became less overt and less "doom metal". In some ways, the albums showed a shift from anger with modern society as in Cult of Luna, to disgust with the ruling parties in The Beyond and Salvation . The video for single "Leave Me Here" is concerned with propaganda and tacit governmental control over the individual. Similar concerns are addressed in contemporaries Isis' Panopticon , centered on the theme of Big Brother-like government surveillance. Early material made Christian references; to the devil, Faust [19] and the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Over the course of the following albums, these seem to have disappeared, though Salvation does have overarching spiritual themes.

Somewhere Along the Highway is slightly different from the previous releases in its thematic basis. It focuses on personal matters, specifically male loneliness, [20] instead of macroscopic concerns addressed in the previous albums.


Cult of Luna


Studio albums

YearAlbum detailsChart positions


2001 Cult of Luna
  • Released: 14 September 2001
  • Label: Rage of Achilles
  • Format: CD, Vinyl
2003 The Beyond
  • Released: 10 February 2003
  • Label: Earache
  • Format: CD, Vinyl
2004 Salvation
  • Released: 4 October 2004
  • Label: Earache
  • Format: CD, Vinyl
2006 Somewhere Along the Highway
  • Released: 24 April 2006
  • Label: Earache
  • Format: CD, Vinyl
2008 Eternal Kingdom
  • Released: 16 June 2008
  • Label: Earache
  • Format: CD, Vinyl
2013 Vertikal
  • Released: 25 January 2013
  • Label: Indie
  • Format: CD, Vinyl
2014Eternal Music
  • Released: 23 May 2014
  • Label: Pelagic
  • Format: Vinyl
2016 Mariner (with Julie Christmas)
  • Released: 8 April 2016
  • Label: Indie
  • Format: CD, vinyl, digital download


Live albums

Audio book

Video album

Music videos

YearMusic videoAlbumVideo directorRef
2003"The Watchtower"The BeyondPete Bridgewater [30]
2005"Leave Me Here"SalvationAnders Forsman, Linus Johansson [31]
2006"Back to Chapel Town"Somewhere Along the HighwayJohannes Persson [32]
2013"Passing Through"VertikalMarkus Lundqvist [33]
2016"Chevron"MarinerDave Longobardo

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  18. "Klas Rydberg interview". Retrieved August 25, 2006.
  19. "Beyond Fate": Take a seat next to thy devil[...]Still got so much more to give in this life/I guess I'm heading for regrets/Once I sold my soul/That's one sweet regret
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  21. Peak chart positions for albums Sweden:
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