Cult of Luna is a Swedish post-metal band from Umeå. 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.
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.
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.
In 2009 they released a DVD including a live performance from 2008, an interview with the band, as well as all of the band's videos.
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.
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. 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".
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. Lately the band as well as their contemporaries have been heavily influenced by Mogwai, particularly the use of guitar delay and melodic guitar playing.
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 and the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Over the course of 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, instead of macroscopic concerns addressed in previous albums.
Cult Of Luna's entire evolution in fact focuses on more social and philosophical questions that surrounds human existence. The sound evolves as a miasma and is backed up by every theme that goes into creating it. This certainly explains the more abstract approaches to theme making when Vertikal or Eternal Kingdom are looked at. Overall, the band just takes a more abrasive take on their sound which again is heavily proved by the nature of their sound and instrumental juxtaposition.