Live Review: Cult of Luna

The Garage – 9/4/16

When people think of loudness at metal gigs, it tends to translate to anger and aggression. Crowds respond by jumping, flailing, running around in mosh pits, screaming until their lungs are on fire. Cult of Luna shows are at the same volume (if not louder), but the atmosphere is a world away from that attitude. This crowd could have been lifted straight from a Sigur Rós show, if it weren’t for the masses of metal t-shirts and black clothing.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of their Somewhere Along the Highway album by playing it in full, Cult of Luna go all-out for a captivated crowd as downtuned riffs and atmospheric synths demand everyone’s attention. The first thing that hits you is their gargantuan riffs and harsh vocals, but below that there is a hypnotic repetition and deliberate toying with conventional structure that means mosh pitting is replaced with wide-eyed captivation and physical tingles of frisson. ‘Waiting for You’ builds over ten minutes from clean tones by way of metal riffing to an all-out all-guns-blazing final minute where everything comes together. It’s impossible not to get caught up in it, not realising that you’ve gone from slightly nodding your head to moving your whole body back and forth with the power coming from the band.

Somewhere Along the Highway is Cult of Luna’s best album, and the chance to see it performed live is not only a pleasure, it is a way of allowing newer fans to experience an older body of work. An hour-long march through loneliness until the climactic ‘Dark City, Dead Man’, each track makes more sense when included in its whole. ‘Dark City, Dead Man’ has closed many of the band’s shows up until this point, but only now when preceded by the rest of the album does its towering and cathartic effect fully flourish.

This was no last-ditch attempt for relevance – the band’s recent collaboration album with Julie Christmas, Mariner, is another stellar body of work. It was a celebration of what has come before, a reminder of where the band has been, before they continue to march forwards.

[Scott Wilson – @HeartofFire]

Image – Wikipedia

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