THIS WEEK I'M LISTENING TO...CULT OF LUNA A Dawn To Fear (Metal Blade)
From the outset it’s apparent that a lot of thought and effort has gone into the creation of Cult Of Luna’s seventh (solo) full-length album, their first such studio offering since 2013’s ‘Vertikal’. The Swedes have honed their songwriting and performances to perfection and, as a consequence, ‘A Dawn To Fear’ is a hugely expansive and challenging body of work, seventy-nine minutes of epic metal spread over eight, thought-provoking, grandiose compositions. With a limited attention span I’m usually one to suggest streamlining albums wherever possible but as ‘A Dawn To Fear’ unveils its opulence there’s not a minute wasted nor an idea repeated, and there’s no fat to trim either. The fact that the band debated cutting a song, to make everyone’s life easier and bring the album in on one CD rather than splitting it luxuriously over two, but couldn’t do it speaks volumes. As vocalist/guitarist and lead songwriter Johannes Persson notes in the press release: “We sat down and looked at that song list and we couldn’t... These songs are the songs that make sense. If we cut this song or that song, it would screw up the whole dynamic of the record.”
And ‘dynamic’ is the watchword here. Within the album’s heart lies a dynamism, brought to life through the likes of the storming opener (and first single) ‘The Silent Man’, the strident ‘Inland Rain’ or the pseudo-ambient ‘We Feel The End’, that makes Cult Of Luna a band almost impossible to pigeon-hole. There’s a blackness prevalent, certainly, a malevolent strata underpinning the album’s core; but there’s also an uplifting nature to the material, a calm after the storm, a semblance of security that ameliorates the darkness within. But you have to immerse yourself in it: picking up odd tracks here and there will merely give you short-term gratification. ‘A Dawn To Fear’ is an album that begs to be heard in one sitting. It’s not an album to dip into, but rather to make time for, and to embrace, and to submit to. Dawn gives way to daylight. Surely there is nothing to fear...
© John Tucker September 2019