Cult of Luna Credit: Pär Olofsson

The luminescent Swedes in Cult of Luna hold down a distinctive European corner of the postmetal landscape. Like their countrymen Opeth, they make their own way, and they’ve generally done a good job of surprising listeners on a regular basis, whether by going stripped-down when ornateness was expected or, in the case of last year’s Mariner (Indie Recordings), taking on a collaborator: postpunk vocalist Julie Christmas, front woman of Made Out of Babies and coconspirator with Mouth of the Architect and Spylacopa (with members of Candiria, Isis, and Dillinger Escape Plan). Christmas’s wild, eerie versatility adds new dimensions of drama and excitement to the album’s loose space-travel story—each long, varied, wandering track is the aural equivalent of a gripping page-turner. The band and Christmas recorded their parts separately, on different continents, which makes their seamless integration impressive—and makes the chance to see them performing the album in its entirely together on the same stage even more compelling.   v