Cult of Luna has returned with a wonder of an album called A Dawn to Fear. The album runs over an hour long and is packed with melody, screams, riffs, breakdowns, punch and power. It is so grand that it should be considered as a movie score. It is theatrical, mystical and awe-inspiring. The deadly waves that the band rolls out are met with delicate calms and eerie emptiness. This is an absolute gem of a record by a band producing professional and creative metal music.
In true poetic justice, “The Silent Man” comes in to start this journey into a well crafted, heavy, and melodic experience. This ten-minute track will tuck you into the cradle and rock you into the trance required to feel the music properly. Tidal-wave-heavy distortion crashes down on to you and sweeps you into the rough current. Johannes Persson’s vocals come in so dirty, but so clean. The screams are so well executed and mixed, that together with the music it creates this immense, ominous, dark cloud of sound.
The title track lends itself even more to an aura of mystery. A heaviness hangs in the air of this song, and you could feel it in all of the emptiness. Much like you would hear in the score to a film, there is a true atmosphere created here. Monk-like chants slowly stretch across the building soundscape, accompanied by clean guitars, organ, and ambient drone notes. Some slide guitar comes in to further highlight the melodies that build into a hefty riff drop and vocal push. From this point on the music drags its ten-ton feet across the track while maintaining the initial mystique and morphing it into a heavy display.
“Nightwalkers” continues on the same walk with a crushing doom delivery. Big riffs, prog breakdowns and an ambient backdrop kick out an unrelenting track that stretches its minutes to the max. The flow from song to song on this tracklist is impeccable. It’s a very comfortable swing through patches of heavy and fields of silky smooth eeriness. It allows for the songs to breathe and gives the heavier tunes a chance to come in fresh and really take the cake. After hearing “Nightwalkers” the ears insist on some quiet space for a little bit. “Lights on the Hill” gives that courtesy and starts with an extended intro that is very hush and very eerie before it dives down into the depths of the song. The weight of this song comes packed in the melody. There is no riff per se, but the sauce thrown into the mix makes it a potent hit. The breakdown especially seems to empty the tank in an explosive explosion of ecstatic ecstasy. So much so, that you’d think the song would be over, but alas, it rolls on and rolls off into a silent oblivion.
As you near the end, you will feel the end. Tracks like “We Feel the End” lend a moment of grace that allows you to float quietly downstream for a while. A song that doesn’t lay down its heavy hand at this point in the album is very much appreciated and shows the variety of trips that the band could prescribe. It also serves as a momentary break to prepare oneself for the final stretch of the album. At this point, you’re over an hour in and you’d best be assured the fall is coming. The thirteen-minute outro to the record is a saga in itself. If you have any breath left by this point, you will definitely be short by the end of the song. It is a grandiose way to check out of a masterful album.
Written by Ben Cornel
*edited by Danielle Kenedy