For more than two decades, Sweden’s Cult Of Luna have forged a sound that has grown incomparable to that of others. Ambitious, epic, visceral, and drenched in emotion, they frequently craft songs that clock in at over eight minutes but make every single moment count. With 2019’s A Dawn To Fear, they delivered a career highpoint, and on 2021’s The Raging River EP, they continued on the journey started with that record, one that concludes with The Long Road North, which stands as one of their most dynamic and beautiful works to-date.
“I think one of the reasons why we have been able to be so productive the last couple of years is that we have been consistently writing from the heart. We have let our instincts guide us, and I think it’s getting clearer where we are heading,” says vocalist/guitarist Johannes Persson, who has been one of the primary driving forces behind the band since their inception. “Another key aspect of how we were able to speed up the process is that I have moved back to Umeå after fifteen years in Stockholm. It made it very easy to meet up and work together instead of writing everything in a few but very long sessions.“
Bringing some unfinished recordings from A Dawn To Fear into this record, which were tracked in Ålesund, Norway, the bulk of the sessions for The Long Road North were bound to Umeå, due to the pandemic. Pleased with the drum sound on The Raging River, they went back to Daniel Berglund and Sandås Studio to record drums and percussion, while the rest was done at Second Home studios, with the band as usual producing everything themselves. “Our intention was to try to work together as much as possible, as we did when we recorded ‘A Dawn To Fear’. But instead, the process dragged out and the Covid situation forced us to work more on an individual basis and in more sessions. In some ways, the process dragging on for a longer time than we expected was a good thing, it helped us digest the songs much more and gave us perspectives of the songs and the record that I think only time can provide. We made some big changes in both the songs and the structure of the album very late in the process.”
Alongside Stetson and Wallentin, they also recruited friends Christian Mazzalai and Laurent Brancowitz from the French band Phoenix to add their characteristic guitar to titanic standout track “Blood Upon Stone”. “They were generous enough with their time and creativity to help us out. All these amazing musicians have helped us create something that we definitely wouldn’t be able to do by ourselves.” With tours booked and the hope of making it onto some festival bills in 2022, Cult Of Luna are at this stage very much looking forward, while keeping their ambitions characteristically modest. “Everything we have done the last twenty years has been more than we could ever dreamt of. A goal as good as any is just to continue doing what we are doing on our terms for another year.“