Review by Sonny for Cult of Luna - The Long Road North (2022)
I know I am supposed to bow down in obeisance and offer up my eternal gratitude that Cult of Luna have deigned to provide us with yet more proof of their superiority to us lesser beings in the form of their latest release. But, in all honesty, I just feel a bit... cheated.
I came late to the CoL party, only getting into them since joining Metal Academy and hearing that nearly everyone rated them very highly indeed. And, yes, they are a fantastic band and yes, The Long Road North sounds great. Yet somehow it has still left me feeling strangely empty. The reason why is that it sounds exactly how I expected it to. It is performed, written and produced to a ridiculously high standard, as is everything I've heard from the band and therein lies the problem. It feels like their music, despite being amazing, is so formulaic that you could remove all the covers from your CoL albums and just leave them on the shelf with Cult of Luna written on each in marker pen and it wouldn't matter which one you pulled out and put on the turntable as the experience would be the same.
I understand it sounds ridiculous to say that an album sounds great and then slag it off and I probably sound like a giant arsehole, but I genuinely feel disappointed in The Long Road North. I feel like I've pulled back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz and got wise to his trickery. I could, without feeling any sense of internal conflict, rate this album anywhere from 3.5 (any less would be churlish) to 5.0.
Reviewing it musically, I could go "blah, blah, blah slow build up... blah, soaring crescendo... blah, superb musicianship... blah, blah tight composition" but I can't be arsed if truth be told. For me, I think how highly I regard Cult of Luna albums will be in the order in which I heard them as I get a diminished return from each one, so Somewhere Along the Highway will probably always remain my favourite and possibly the only Cult of Luna album I will ever need.
If you don't share my misgivings then I would say, yes definitely go out and get this album because it IS indeed a very good one and you will love it.