Review Summary: Timeless piece of post metal genius, rewarding in every way imaginable.
The majesty of Cult of Luna's music is almost unrivalled in terms of depth and beauty, as well as sheer monolithic greatness. Their signature brand of post metal, inspired by both predecessors and similar bands such as the mighty ISIS and Neurosis is altogether familiar with fans and critics alike. Since their inception into the scene with their self titled, they've matured from an incredibly heavy and dense sludge metal outfit into something even greater than the good goddess Luna herself - combining a fresh and invigorating blend of atmosphere, heaviness and raw emotion/fragile beauty that is encapsulated nicely on more than one record. However, whilst masterpieces such as their most recent output A Dawn to Fear, Salvation and Into the Beyond vary in sound, their strengths lie in their consistency and quality.
Somewhere Along the Highway is a magical journey and trip into a world filled with beautiful melody and dense songwriting/structure. Compelling and brilliant in almost every way, each track shows a band at the top of their game in terms of ability and flair. There is literally nothing bad about any of the tracks. Right off the bat with Marching to the Heartbeats, the listener is enveloped in warm ambiance, wonderfully simple yet devastatingly excellent riffs and of course their amazing ability to meld together traditional sludge with a more conceptual sound and atmosphere. Every piece of this puzzle fits nicely - but it can be observed from many different perspectives. Despite a typical gloomy and doomy sound, this record in particular boasts some phenomenal moments such as the ineffable album closer Dark CIty, Dead Man and the lonely, fragile And With Her Came the Birds. The vocals (both clean and unclean) are of a quality that shows so much power yet a restraint and control that feeds off of the band's uncanny chemistry and panache. Each of the seven tracks on offer here may be long in a sense of time but it feels so engrossing and fresh every time I listen. There are SO many special and rewarding moments such as the colossal opening drums of Finland, to the haunting yet strangely alluring Dim are moments of pure brilliance but overall flaws are pretty much non existent here.
Everything about Somewhere Along the Highway is of an excellent standard - the production, the songwriting, the progression from their previous albums and of course the very rewarding and replay value of the album. In the sense of timeless classic, this has stood the test of time in the post metal genre, alongside giants such as Rosetta and Pelican as well aforementioned pioneers ala ISIS. If you like your music with a sense of style and composure and your into heavy music, you cannot deny the brilliance of this album. Right off the bat the listener is trapped in a corner...but there is no room for error by the band and each member and their contributions. Imagine a scene and setting in their home of Sweden, with the sun burning down in a haze, floating from East to West. Upon the horizon you are travelling slowly but surely to a destination unfathomable. If God was an album - then this is the pinnacle of post metal. Regarded by many as their best (in my honest opinion, it is on par with Salvation and A Dawn to Fear), Somewhere Along the highway is a work of art. Beautiful to listen to, even in any time frame or season, Cult of Luna readily show that they are the kings of density and atmosphere here. Greatness comes in many forms - this album is only one great one out of all of their discography. Far removed from the darker Eternal Kingdom and Vertikal, this album shines like glowing stars twinkling on a fine still, yet cold and bright night. In essence, it is love at first listen. Many will agree and many more should know - this band can literally, it appears, do no wrong. A must have for any fan of post metal.