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Cult of Luna

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Formed from the remnants of a hardcore band named Eclipse in the far northern Swedish town of Umeå (also home to avant-hardcore masters Refused and metal extremists Meshuggah and Naglfar), Cult of Luna have perfected an elaborate, extremely dark progressive style of metalcore largely derived from the pioneering work of America's Neurosis. Although hardly the only band to find inspiration in the Bay Area bunch (Isis and Rwake also numbering among their disciples), Cult of Luna are unquestionably among the most accomplished and distinctive in their own right, making an immediate impression upon metal fans with their eponymous 2001 debut through Rage of Achilles, and attaining further noisecore cred via a 7" release on tastemaker Hydra Head Records the following year. Their sophomore effort, The Beyond, solidified their standing a couple of years later and inaugurated a new relationship with Earache for vocalist Klas Rydberg, guitarists Erik Olofsson and Johannes Persson, bassist Andreas Johansson, keyboardist Magnus Lindberg, and drummer Marco Hilden. The last was replaced by Thomas Hedlund the next year, and Cult of Luna expanded to a seven-piece with the addition of Anders Teglund (samples) for 2004's critically acclaimed Salvation album. Released in 2006, the conceptual Somewhere Along the Highway drew more raves, with Decibel magazine ranking the LP fifth among their top albums of the year. Arriving in 2008, the dark and punishing Eternal Kingdom earned the band a Grammisgalan nomination (the Swedish equivalent of a Grammy Award), and 2013's Vertikal, released via Norwegian label Indie Recordings, drew inspiration from director Fritz Lang's classic sci-fi drama Metropolis. A companion EP, Vertikal II, dropped later that year, and in 2016 the band issued the space exploration-themed Mariner, a collaboration with American vocalist Julie Christmas (Made Out of Babies, Battle of Mice). ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

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Umea, Sweden

Years Active:

'90s, '00s, '10s