Reviews Cult of Luna A Dawn to Fear

Cult of Luna

A Dawn to Fear

There is something incredibly special about Cult of Luna - no other band can touch their ability to meld weight with melancholy or aggression with melody - and the Swedish band has created many such beautiful moments on their eighth full-length (seven as Cult of Luna and one collaboration) since their inception over two decades ago. A Dawn to Fear is a record that showcases those preternatural skills - in the bombastic opening track “The Silent Man,” the sorrow-laden title track and the assertive tones of “Nightwalkers” - all while maintaining a sense of cohesion and strength.

Cult of Luna have built their own particular brand of post-metal over the years that they have been active and can easily bring sludge style tones and progressive atmospheres to the fore of the music. Their debut Cult of Luna was a call to arms while their collaboration with Julie Christmas on 2016's Mariner was a stroke of genius and stepped up their potential ever further. For a band already succeeding in so many regards, Mariner was another turning point and in A Dawn to Fear the band have moved into new realms of study yet again. More organic structures form the central points of the songs, giving words space to breath - “Lay Your Head to Rest” - and the musicians time to explore textures - “Lights on the Hill” - all while bringing a definite Cult of Luna tone to the record.

“Lights on the Hill” is truly a mesmerising journey that begins on simple strokes of guitar, soft, almost jazz-like drums and is initially an instrumental piece. As the fifteen-minute behemoth moves steadily on, though, it takes on new ideas and weaves mournful guitars around Johannes Persson’s powerful voice before cascading rhythms flow into gorgeous organs. The song takes on a more forlorn aspect during these closing stages and the conveyed message of finding beauty within abject misery hits devastatingly hard. Echoes of heartache colour these latter moments and there’s a definite sense of loss carried into the opening strains of “We Feel the End,” which offers grief and fatigue and a small amount of hope within its subtle walls of sound.

The breathtaking “Inland Rain” speaks of stone markers to lead the way, to set a path and to reflect on those left behind or lost to time. The closing seconds lend weight to Persson’s words before “The Fall” is ushered in on furious guitars and riffs that ascend to the heavens. There is a fragility in the words, an acceptance of what has passed and what may come yet - that through death there will be a rebirth. This infinite cycle is respected and given the necessary time needed to move through cleansing before life can begin anew. Cult of Luna appreciate that time can be great healer and A Dawn to Fear is less about despair and more about the acknowledgement of being vulnerable and the hope that it can bring.

9.0 / 10Cheryl
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9.0 / 10

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