Somewhere Along the Highway

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Somewhere Along the Highway
The album cover is simplistic; the text SOMEWHERE ALONG THE HIGHWAY sits in the centre of a dark square, which takes up most of the frame. The image of a rose is subtly present in the dark patterning.
Studio album by Cult of Luna
Released April 24, 2006
Recorded Late 2005
Genre Post-metal, sludge metal, progressive metal, post-rock
Length 64:41
Label Earache Records
(MOSH 344CD)
Producer Cult of Luna
Cult of Luna chronology
Salvation
(2004)
Somewhere Along the Highway
(2006)
Eternal Kingdom
(2008)
Digipack cover
The cover to the limited edition digipack edition of the album, of which 8000 were printed.
The cover to the limited edition digipack edition of the album, of which 8000 were printed.

Somewhere Along the Highway is the fourth full-length album by Swedish post-metal band Cult of Luna, released in 2006 by Earache Records. A concept album, it revolves around the motif of male loneliness. It was warmly received by critics and accordingly claimed several awards.

The album followed Salvation in the band's chronology, and differed from it in terms of sound and feel. While Salvation was deemed "celestial",[1] Somewhere Along the Highway was characterized as "unpolished" by the band.[2]

Recording and release[edit]

To achieve the sound, the album's initial tracking took place over seven days in an octagonal wooden barn surrounded by what the band described as "Blair Witch" scenery close to the band's hometown of Umeå in northern Sweden.[3] According to drummer Magnus Lindberg, the remote location, coupled with the sighting of "Wicca witch women dancing in the woods" and the actual acoustics of the barn itself all contributed towards creating the perfect ambience to lay down the basic tracks which were done primarily live, as a unit.[3][4] Accordingly, the album has "a less polished sound – not as produced as Salvation – definitively a more rough sound."[5] The band had a relatively low budget and little time to record the album in comparison with the painstakingly produced Salvation;[5] a press release advised listeners to "expect a raw and unpolished album".[2]

The album was released on April 24, 2006,[6] by Earache Records.[7] Also printed were 8000 copies of a limited edition digipack with an alternate sleeve, as well as a two-disc vinyl edition, of which only 1000 were made. The band recorded and made available covers of Smashing Pumpkins' "Bodies", as well as Unbroken's "Recluse" during the album's promotion and subsequent tour of Europe and the UK. They were also limited edition; 1500 copies were shipped to indie stores across the UK, which were subsequently given away for free. A further 500 copies were sold during April and May's European tour.[7]

In August 2006, the band released a remix of "Marching to the Heartbeats", entitled "Heartbeats", solely on the Internet community MySpace. The song was available for download for a few days and was later removed. According to Anders Teglund (keyboards and electronics), the intention was to see if the song would be "kept alive" by file sharing, as well as serving as a statement against the conservative nature of the music industry.[8]

A video was shot for "Back to Chapel Town", directed by band member Johannes Persson. Shooting lasted five days, and the concept, according to Persson, is that of "a man waking up in a world he doesn't know, he knows nothing of his past or where he is, people treat him like air or are very suspicious of him".[9]

Theme[edit]

Cult of Luna albums tend to focus on a theme; guitarist Erik Olofsson states in an interview that this release focuses on "Male loneliness – I was very inspired by a book by J.M. Coetzee [Life & Times of Michael K] about a man in South Africa with a hare lip. [The character] escapes from everything and lives off the earth eating only pumpkins. Johannes [Persson] had similar ideas for the lyrics about loneliness, it all has a kind of countryside vibe to it."[5]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
About.com 4/5 stars[3]
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[10]
Decibel 4.5/5 stars[11]

Writing for Decibel, Andrew Bonazelli posited that the album "finally exceeded the American post-metal standard", after "early efforts Cult of Luna and The Beyond mirrored the aggro facet of the Neur-Isis template, and 2004's Salvation practically suffocated on its own infatuation with sustained tension, Highway makes its points straight away, evoking a rich gamut of bad moods, then marching purposefully toward the gray at the end of the tunnel."[12] He praises it as "far and away their most original and gripping effort", and complements the timing of the release being before that of contemporaries Isis' In the Absence of Truth, citing it as a reason that "nobody's going to call copycat".[11] For allmusic, Rick Anderson draws distinctions between Cult of Luna and Swedish compatriots Meshuggah and Amon Amarth, proffering that "the overriding concern seems to be more with building a carefully constructed soundscape rather than just venting spleen". His review is not quite as glowing as Bonazelli's, determining that "if the pattern gets a bit predictable and tiresome by the album-ending instrumental [sic] 'Dark City Dead Man', it's still a powerful and compelling one".[10]

It placed fifth in Decibel's top albums of 2006,[13] as well as it being awarded the best rock/metal album of the year at the P3 Gold awards in Gothenburg, Sweden.[14] The only region in which it charted was Sweden, where it peaked at number 59 on May 4, 2006.[15]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Cult of Luna.

No. Title Length
1. "Marching to the Heartbeats" 3:13
2. "Finland" 10:46
3. "Back to Chapel Town" 7:09
4. "And with Her Came the Birds" 5:58
5. "Thirtyfour" 10:00
6. "Dim" 11:46
7. "Dark City, Dead Man" 15:49

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hocking, Mat (2004-11-11). "Review of Salvation". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Cult of Luna recording new album". Lambgoat. 9 December 2005. Retrieved 23 August 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c Bowar, Chad. "Cult of Luna - Somewhere Along the Highway". About.com. Retrieved 25 August 2006. 
  4. ^ Harris, Chris; Wiederhorn, John (10 February 2006). "Metal File: Behemoth, Black Sabbath, Sodom, Zao & More In This Week's Hard News". MTV. Retrieved 6 October 2007. 
  5. ^ a b c Lozano, Francisco (6 June 2006). "Cult of Luna interview". Metal Storm. Retrieved 25 August 2006. 
  6. ^ "Cult of Luna » history". cultofluna.com. Retrieved 2009-11-10. 
  7. ^ a b "Cult of Luna: Somewhere Along the Highway - MOSH344". Earache Records. Retrieved 16 November 2009. 
  8. ^ Baudin, Olov (30 August 2006). "Cult of Luna testar gränser" (in Swedish). Västerbottens Folkblad. Archived from the original on 14 March 2007. Retrieved 5 November 2006. 
  9. ^ "CULT OF LUNA: 'Back To Chapel Town' Video Available". Blabbermouth.net. Roadrunner Records. 2 November 2006. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Anderson, Rick. "((( Somewhere Along the Highway > Overview)))". allmusic. Retrieved 2009-04-13. 
  11. ^ a b Bonazelli, Andrew (June 2006). "The Long Hard Road Out of Hell". Decibel (20). Archived from the original on 8 August 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2007. 
  12. ^ Bonazelli, Andrew (January 2007). "#5 Album of the Year". Decibel (27). Archived from the original on 5 December 2007. 
  13. ^ Mudrian, Albert (January 2007). "The Top 40 Albums of 2006". Decibel (27). Archived from the original on 14 October 2007. 
  14. ^ "Earache Extreme News". Earache Records. 1 February 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-12-31. 
  15. ^ "Cult of Luna - Somewhere Along the Highway" (in Swedish). hitparad.se. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  16. ^ a b Somewhere Along the Highway (Media notes). Cult of Luna. Earache Records. 2006. MOSH 344CD.