This concert took place more than an month ago but i have kept stalling it constantly, why you ask?
The hardest article to write (atleast to me as an hobby blogger without a journalism-degree) are the ones where you are supposed to criticize stuff that you like. This is one of those times.
No reason to be humble here, Cult of Luna is my favorite band of all time. This was the seventh time for me seeing them perform, and actually the third time seeing them this year. Thus how could i say no to seeing them perform their (soon to be) classic 2016 release called “Mariner”. Because Mariner was recorded and produced with the excellent vocalist Julie Christmas the thought behind it all was a album that the band were not supposed to tour with. Mainly because Julie lives in the US and Cult of Luna is based in different parts of Sweden. So rehearsals seems to be quite a task as it is.
After all we got five different shows in the Europe where Julie was going to play the entire album live together with the band.
I was hoping to catch them during their Stockholm show, but when that show happend i was still in Japan on vacation. There was slim chance in hell that i was going to miss a Mariner show so i looked up that the best option for me was to see the end of the tour in Athens. Under the festival monicre of “Smoke the Fuzz Festival: Post-Mortem”.
The excitement in the audience before the show was INTENSE. People knew that this was going to be something special. The show starts, outdrawn introductory notes of “A Greater Call” plays. Massive, cinematic, extatic and explosive is the feelings i got during this tune. Julie is just as good as a vocalist as i predicted. It was bound to be some confusion on how they were going to translate the extreme soundscape’s to a “do-able” live-setting. The answer is that they had a extra member on stage just triggering sound clips that would have been hard to perform live. Otherwise every single little detail was performed live. Kudos to them for pulling it off this way.
Next up is my favorite of the album. “Chevron” is a massive beast which will devour you whole. Johannes from Cult of Luna told me that Mariner was supposed to be less “Heavy” than the earlier stuff but to me. The moment when Johannes voice and Julie clashes at the first “chorus” i get goosebumps. Or, that is quite an underestimation actually. When Julie high-pitched screams, that are more frantic than “death-metal like” collides with Johannes mid-low animalistic roar’s i actually feel a combination of extatic and afraid. I have listen to “Extreme-metal” (spelled with all caps) for about 13 years now but “Chevron” is one of the VERY few times that i actually get afraid by two humans singing. The perfect coalition between melody and utter chaos is like poetry to me.
“The Wreck of S.S. Needle” is completly devoted vocaly to Julie, she gets to show her entire range (as famous from her previous projects). High, low. It does not matter. Julie can handle a really impressive amounts of notes. That combined with her impressive stage presence make me really want to see her in a new project soon. Music needs her to be active as long as possible. The song is one of the best pieces on this album and i need to hear this in a post-apocalyptic movie as the soundtrack of choice.
“Approaching transition” and “Cygnus” are drawn out masterpieces that blend even better live than on the album. The neverending soundscapes just sucks you in during a live setting that a pre-recorded version of the songs simply cannot match. And that comes from me that puts Mariner on top 5 of all time favorite albums.
And the icing on the cake is when Johannes comes back after the main-set and introduces that they will be playing a encore. I have never heard them doing an encore before and apparently this was a last minute decision. The band said it was due to it being a special occation.
The encore consisted of “I:The Weapon” and “In awe of”. My two favorite songs from the Vertikal album.
After the show the entire band actually came to the merchandise booth and signed stuff, talked with fans and took alot of selfies with them. That really mean’t alot to me that they took their time to do that. My fandom regarding this band gets bigger every day but nonetheless i have never gotten anything signed before. So having a signed Mariner album (with messages from the band personally to me!) from everyone (even Julie) was out of this world experience.
I am truly thankful for everything that i got to experience during this short, but intense weekend in Athens.
I have only talked about the bands performance in this article but that is because there was nothing at all to point out arrangement-wise. Everything from the audience to the bar-part to the entrance-guard, soundsystem, light’s. Just about everything was perfect. Cult of Luna had their infamous light-rig (which is HUGE) with them. And this venue had no problem getting the best of out this insane light-rig. The night could not have gone any better. Kudos to Elina (which i previously had the honor to interview) for making this weekend happen and to her entire company and crew making a kickass job. Swedish concert promotors really need to learn a thing or two about quality from this lady.
Thank you. Thank you to everyone that made this night happen.
Best concert ever.