Cult of Luna

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Cult of Luna
Cult of Luna, Peace and Love 2009.jpg
Cult of Luna at Peace & Love in Borlänge, Sweden in 2009
Background information
Origin Umeå, Sweden
Genres Post-metal, sludge metal, progressive metal
Years active 1998 (1998)–present
Labels Earache, Indie
Associated acts Khoma, Convoj, Deportees, The Perishers, Riwen
  • Thomas Hedlund
  • Andreas Johansson
  • Fredrik Kihlberg
  • Magnus Líndberg
  • Johannes Persson
Past members
  • Marco Hildén
  • Axel Stattin
  • Klas Rydberg
  • Erik Olòfsson
  • Anders Teglund

Cult of Luna is a Swedish heavy metal band from Umeå founded in 1998.[1] They often perform post-metal music similar to the contemporary bands Neurosis and Isis. The band signed to Earache Records in the early 2000s and released five albums, including the commercially successful albums Salvation (2004) and Somewhere Along the Highway (2006). After an extended period of inactivity, Cult of Luna returned with its Indie Recordings debut Vertikal (2013) and companion EP Vertikal II (2013), both drawing heavy inspiration from Fritz Lang's industrious and political 1927 film, Metropolis. The band has released its space-themed seventh album, Mariner (2016), featuring American vocalist Julie Christmas.


Formation and early releases (1998–2007)[edit]

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.[2]

Eternal Kingdom (2008–2011)[edit]

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 the Fire Was Born DVD including a live performance from 2008, an interview with the band, as well as all of the band's videos.[3]

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.[4]

Vertikal and Vertikal II (2012–2015)[edit]

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.[5] 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".

In May 2014 the band curated the Beyond The Redshift festival in London, held across 3 venues with Cult Of Luna closing the festival with a headlining set at the Forum. [6]

New lineup and Mariner with Julie Christmas (2016)[edit]

During the recording sessions and supporting tours for Vertikal, Cult of Luna made two major lineup changes that weren't publicly addressed until 2016. While recording the album in 2012, keyboardist Anders Teglund "left the band unexpectedly" and later was replaced by Kristian Karlsson of Pg Lost.[7] Founding guitarist Erik Olofsson told the band he wished to leave, and his final live performance with the band became 2014's Beyond the Redshift festival. Cult of Luna stated that while he is no longer a full-time member, "he is still a part of the Cult of Luna universe." He has been temporarily replaced by David Johansson of Kongh.[7]

On April 8, 2016, Cult of Luna released its seventh studio album titled Mariner — a collaborative release with the American vocalist Julie Christmas, formerly of Made Out of Babies and Battle of Mice. Contrasting the industrial- and city-focused Vertikal, Mariner will explore themes relating to outer space.

Before Mariner was officially released, Cult of Luna had already begun writing new music for their eighth studio album. Persson stated that the band already had the album's concept and theme in mind, stating: "The last few records have been this kind of continuous journey from the forest to the sky and I know where we're going after this."[8]

Johannes Persson stated in an interview in April 2016 that in 2013 he never talked about taking a break as previously reported, "what I wanted to say [...] is that we didn't have anything planned for the future" and added "for sure I never used the word hiatus".[9]


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.[10] Lately the band as well as their contemporaries have been heavily influenced by Mogwai, particularly the use of guitar delay and melodic guitar playing.[citation needed]


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[11] 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,[12] instead of macroscopic concerns addressed in previous albums.

Band members[edit]


  • Johannes Persson – guitars, vocals
  • Fredrik Kihlberg – guitar, vocals
  • Andreas Johansson – bass guitar
  • Thomas Hedlund – drums
  • Magnus Líndberg – percussion
  • Kristian Karlsson – keyboards, samples (2013–present)[7]


  • David Johansson – guitar (2014–present)[7]


  • Klas Rydberg – vocals (1998-2012)
  • Erik Olofsson – guitar (1998–2014)[7]
  • Fredrik Renström - bass guitar (1999)
  • Marco Hildén – drums (1999-2002)
  • Axel Stattin – bass guitar (2000-2002)
  • Anders Teglund – keyboards, samples, trumpet (2003–2013)[7]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Chart positions


2001 Cult of Luna
  • Released: 14 September 2001
  • Label: Rage of Achilles
  • Format: CD
2003 The Beyond
  • Released: 10 February 2003
  • Label: Earache
  • Format: CD
2004 Salvation
  • Released: 4 October 2004
  • Label: Earache
  • Format: CD
2006 Somewhere Along the Highway
  • Released: 24 April 2006
  • Label: Earache
  • Format: CD
59 22
2008 Eternal Kingdom
  • Released: 16 June 2008
  • Label: Earache
  • Format: CD
2013 Vertikal
  • Released: 25 January 2013
  • Label: Indie
  • Format: CD
30 177 14 29
2016 Mariner (with Julie Christmas)
  • Released: 8 April 2016
  • Label: Indie
  • Format: CD, vinyl, digital download
28 193 29
76 16


Audio book[edit]

  • Eviga riket (2010)

Video album[edit]

Music videos[edit]

Year Music video Album Video director Ref
2003 "The Watchtower" The Beyond Pete Bridgewater [19]
2005 "Leave Me Here" Salvation Anders Forsman, Linus Johansson [20]
2006 "Back to Chapel Town" Somewhere Along the Highway Johannes Persson [21]
2013 "Passing Through" Vertikal Markus Lundqvist [22]


  1. ^ "Cult of Luna - Eternal Kingdom (album review ) | Sputnikmusic". Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  2. ^ "Cult of Luna testar gränser". Västerbottens Folkblad (in Swedish). Archived from the original on March 14, 2007. Retrieved November 5, 2006. 
  3. ^ "Cult Of Luna - Fire Was Born". Discogs. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  4. ^ "". Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  6. ^ "Cult Of Luna Announce London Beyond The Redshift Festival 2014". Rocksins. 2013-12-06. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Persson, Johannes (January 26, 2016). "Band Members In Cult of Luna". Cult of Luna Official Website. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  8. ^ Bienstock, Richard (March 29, 2016). "How a Swedish Metal Band and Brooklyn Singer Made a Heady Masterpiece". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved April 6, 2016. 
  9. ^ Sciaky, Davide (18 April 2016). "Interview: Cult of Luna (Johannes Persson)". Retrieved April 18, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Klas Rydberg interview". Retrieved August 25, 2006. 
  11. ^ "Beyond Fate": Take a seat next to thy devil[...]Still got so much more to give in this life/I guess I'm heading for regrets/Once I sold my soul/That's one sweet regret
  12. ^ Lozano, Francisco. "Erik Olofsson interview". Retrieved August 25, 2006. 
  13. ^ Peak chart positions for albums Sweden:
  14. ^ "Discografie Cult of Luna" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  15. ^ "Discography Cult of Luna". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  16. ^ "Discography Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2016. 
  17. ^ Peak chart positions for albums on the Rock Chart in the United Kingdom:
  18. ^
  19. ^ "MetalBite - Heavy Metal Webzine - No Records". Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  20. ^ "CULT OF LUNA - Leave Me Here". Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  21. ^ "CULT OF LUNA - Back to Chapel Town". Retrieved 2016-04-27. 
  22. ^ "Cult of Luna - Passing through - Music video / Promo". Vimeo. Retrieved 2016-04-27. 

External links[edit]