This year’s four stage Damnation Festival ensured that the Eyesore Merch stage headliners, Cult Of Luna, didn’t clash with the main stage shenanigans involving Carcass. This meant the two heavyweights of the day’s bill both enjoyed bumper crowds.
Off the back of the crushing ‘Vertikal’ and the more recent ‘Vertikal II’ E.P., there is understandably plenty of interest in the Swedish post metal tribe. So, to say there isn’t room to swing a cat in the second stage arena is a little bit of an understatement. The place is absolutely rammed solid with sweaty and expectant punters.
Hidden away somewhere on stage are the seven members of Cult Of Luna. Far from a group of show-boaters, the minimal lighting provides the backdrop to an eerie and claustrophobic atmosphere. Front man, Johannes Persson, occasionally emerges from the darkness but the band have a stage presence that ensures that the music takes centre stage for the most part.
The music can certainly hold its own without any theatrics or posturing. The pummelling repetitiveness of the post metal soundscapes make the Leeds University building judder and rumble as Cult Of Luna unleash plenty of new material from the ‘Vertikal’ sessions. This is to be expected; it is an album that has welcomed the band back after a good five year break and one that has simultaneously elevated them to the next level. They’re up there with the likes of Neurosis now, as demonstrated by this more than healthy turnout.
The likes of ‘I: The Weapon’ right through to ‘Disharmonia’ have the attentive crowd hypnotised; heads are banging and there’s plenty of cheering between numbers, but for the main proportion people are a little transfixed by it all. So they should be…
Cult Of Luna may not be ‘in your face’ all-out aggression like Carcass or create the chaos and good times of a Shining show. They’re not as downright evil as Godseed; they simply mesmerize you with their majestic thump. It’s that alone that makes this one of the most talked about sets of the day.