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Cult Of Luna - Vertikal CD (album) cover

VERTIKAL

Cult Of Luna

Experimental/Post Metal


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5 stars An album loosely based on Fritz Lang's science-fiction classic 'Metropolis'. It's a dark, brooding, heavy and synthesizer-laden epic. Yes, it's just another post-metal album, but it's in a style I've not quite heard before; certain parts wouldn't sound out of place in a Nine Inch Nails album, others Godspeed You! Black Emperor, then the slow-burning epic riffs that Cult of Luna have become known for. But what's most original about an album of this genre, is it's use of synthesizers; the closest I can compare it to is Klaus Schulze or Tangerine Dream.

I've always found post-metal albums a little hard to digest. The way they interchange from instrumental/post rock to sludge metal often means I struggle to find a 'mood' that can accompany the music. However, Vertikal is almost all I've played for the past few days. In between the mostly 8-to-20 minute songs I find myself involuntarily and almost hypnotically swaying my head. The way they've managed to portray this dystopian soundscape in each and every song, truly is, something very special.

In my eyes, or by my ears, this is the best Cult of Luna album to date, and perhaps even the best post-metal album that I've ever heard. 5 stars out of 5.

Report this review (#889998)
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013 | Review Permalink
EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 7/10

Pixillated Sludge Metal That Still Rocks.

At their sixth album, Cult Of Luna once again keep their roots solidly untouched, experimenting more with sound and exploring new sonic territories they'd yet to venture in. 'Vertikal' hasn't pleased all fans because of these reasons, or because it's been thought that these new ideas haven't been developed in a better way. Opinions vary, but in my eyes this is one of the better albums by the Swedish band, and it's good to see that experimentation in Metal bands today is still very embraced.

On this new album, Cult Of Luna take a step forward especially with the sonic decorations, these bursts of electronic layering that in the past were present, excellent, but not essential, are now pretty prominent, and sound quite different as well: the rough production creates these razor-sharp synth pulses that come and go throughout the album, some of them are not at all accompaniments and play a major, if not completely essential role for a track. This peculiarly rough production compliments also the crushing guitars, here more crushing than any other Cult Of Luna LP so far, and that is saying a lot.

But Cult Of Luna have not distanced themselves from their original style enough to not sound like Cult Of Luna: the riffs are overall crafted in the same fashion as their previous compositions, and anyone who has heard their previous work can confirm.

As for the album itself: it's an album that at first feels a little generic and familiar, but with further listens, it reveals a sophistication that was heard only on the band's better albums. Every song has its unique role, and they all do the job done well, some times, excellently. 'I, The Weapon' and 'Synchronicity' are the catchiest and at the same time better structured songs, in spite of the eighteen minute monster 'Vicarious Redemption', which is nicely arranged and structured but doesn't quite justify its length. 'Mute Departure' has nice, heavy moments, 'The Sweep' is an interesting divisive interlude of the album and 'Passing Through' closes everything quite well, a calm, tense piece that ends it all with a suspended note.

'Vertical' is the living proof that Cult Of Luna have not stepped down their game just yet, and are willing meander into new paths and directions, sounding a whole lot more interesting than many Sludge Metal bands today, who merely model a sound that is perhaps too familiar nowadays.

Report this review (#958547)
Posted Sunday, May 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's been five years since Cult of Luna published his latest album. Five years is enough time to create expectations (false or not) and feed hope (false or not). But the fact is that Vertikal is an outstanding album for any lover of the genre. There's nothing new in here really, but Cult of Luna want to take a further step and venture into unknown territories for them. At least we get an album that sounds fresh and mature.

I didn't want to talk about any song in particular, but hell, Vicarious Redemption is terrifying (in the good sense of the word). I really like how these guys construct that monster. The first part reminds me a funeral jazz sound.

So yes, a fantastic album. Maybe you have to be in the right mood to digest it, but if you are it is a great experience.

Report this review (#1008094)
Posted Monday, July 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars The three Cult of Luna albums I'd heard preceding this - the run from Salvation to Eternal Highway - had all presented enjoyable post-metal soundscapes, but I'd always felt that there was the potential for them to raise the bar a little, and on Vertikal they had just done that. Juxtaposing their trademark sludge metal-derived rants with bleak instrumental passages which really capture the bleak, monochrome sound the band are going for. It particularly comes together on the epic Vicarious Redemption, which comes into slow, juddering life like an engine firing up and doesn't let go once it gets rolling. In short, it's Cult of Luna's best yet.
Report this review (#1108289)
Posted Sunday, January 5, 2014 | Review Permalink

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