A Dawn to Fear follows on from the massively amazing Mariner, which was my album of the year for 2016, and deservedly so. Now, three years later, they return with 79 minutes of new material spread out over 8 songs.
Blending progressive rock/metal, post-rock/metal, doom, and sludge together into lengthy songs of epic proportions, A Dawn to Fear is a masterclass in exploratory, worldbuilding music. Crafting soundscapes with so many multifaceted layers and levels, Cult of Luna’s new album is astoundingly good.
The music, as you would probably expect, is heavily atmospheric and emotive, and also crushing when it wants to be. Creating textured mood with ease, the songs drip with substance and depth. Sculpting a musical journey that highlights the emotional impact of the album, and effortlessly conceals the songwriting skill that the band have, these songs appear to spawn themselves naturally and organically as the album unfolds.
The music delves into multiple rich areas and themes in search of inspiration. It finds it, and A Dawn to Fear is awash with new ground broken atop previously conquered terrain. The build and release mechanic has been mastered by Cult of Luna many, many moons ago, and here it’s deployed with weapons-grade effectiveness. Each song is highly effective at this, but also at many other different musical devices. The expected tools that Cult of Luna have deployed in the past are accounted for, with plenty of new ideas fleshed out too. The post-rock aspects of the band’s sound has increased in places, and it’s great to hear such an established band expand their style without losing anything essential of their core sound. In some ways this is an exploratory journey, Cult of Luna’s most experimental release.
These songs are among the best that Cult of Luna have ever produced. A Dawn to Fear is a masterpiece.