In August 2006, the band released a remake of "Marching To the Heartbeats" from Somewhere Along the Highway entitled "Heartbeats" solely on the internet community MySpace. The song was available for download for a few days and was later removed. The point was to see if the song would be "kept alive" by file sharing, as well as being a statement against the conservative music industry, according to drummer Anders Teglund.
To achieve the sound, the album's initial tracking took place over seven days in an octagonal, wooden barn surrounded by what the band described as "Blair Witch" scenery close to the band's hometown of Umeå in northern Sweden. According to Magnus Lindberg, the band's drummer, the remote location coupled with the spotting of "Wicca witch women dancing in the woods" and the actual acoustics of the barn itself all contributed towards creating the perfect ambience to lay down the basic tracks which were done primarily live, as a unit. It has "a less polished sound - not as produced as Salvation - definitively a more rough sound." They had a relatively low budget and little time to record the album in comparison with the painstakingly produced Salvation; a press release advised listeners to "expect a raw and unpolished album".
The album was released on April 24, 2006. Also printed were 8000 copies of a limited edition digipack with an alternate sleeve, as well as a two-disc vinyl edition, of which only 1000 were made. The band recorded and made available covers of Smashing Pumpkins' "Bodies", as well as Unbroken's "Recluse" during the album's promotion and subsequent tour of Europe and the UK. They were also limited edition; 1500 copies were shipped to indie stores across the UK, which were subsequently given away free. A further 500 copies were sold during April and May's European tour.
A video was shot for "Back to Chapel Town", directed by band member Johannes Persson. It was shot over a period of five days, and the concept, according to Persson, is that of "a man waking up in a world he doesn't know, he knows nothing of his past or where he is, people treat him like air or are very suspicious of him".
Cult of Luna albums tend to focus on a theme; guitarist Erik Olofsson states in an interview that this release focuses on "Male loneliness - [he] was very inspired by a book by J.M. Coetzee [Life & Times of Michael K] about a man in South Africa with a hare lip. [The character] escapes from everything and lives off the earth eating only pumpkins. Johannes [Persson] had similar ideas for the lyrics about loneliness, it all has a kind of countryside vibe to it." This is a step away from the overarching concerns of previous albums; previous works have been macroscopic, existentialist, vitriolically political statements. In relation to previous themes, male loneliness is a highly personal subject.
Writing for Decibel, Andrew Bonazelli posited that the album "finally exceeded the American post-metal standard", after "early efforts Cult of Luna and The Beyond mirrored the aggro facet of the Neur-Isis template, and 2004's Salvation practically suffocated on its own infatuation with sustained tension, Highway makes its points straight away, evoking a rich gamut of bad moods, then marching purposefully toward the gray at the end of the tunnel. He praises it as "far and away their most original and gripping effort", and complements the timing of the release being before that of contemporaries Isis' In the Absence of Truth, citing it as a reason that "nobody's going to call copycat".
It placed fifth in Decibel's top albums of 2006, as well as it being awarded the best rock/metal album of the year at the P3 Gold awards in Gothenburg, Sweden. The only region in which it charted was Sweden, where it peaked at number 59 on 2006-05-04.