Cult Of Luna - Vertikal (2013)

Vertikal
1 The One
2 I: The Weapon
3 Vicarious Redemption
4 The Sweep
5 Synchronicity
6 Disharmonia
7 Mute Departure
8 In Awe Of
9 Passing Through
10 The Flow Reversed*

Introduction

Cult of Luna. This band has been around since the early 2000s. Rising from the ashes of Hardcore band UmeƄ, they played slow and aggressive doom metal, which incorperated more and more elements of Post-Rock into their sound. Nowadays they are seen as one of the leaders of the whole Post-Metal scene. Vertikal is their sixth album to date and it's probably their most accessible one, yet.

The Sound

So let me admit it. "Vertikal" is my first Cult of Luna album. Let me also get this straight. It's good. It's so good that I got their back catalogue as well.

If one should characterize Cult of Luna's Sound, "aggressive" and maybe "disturbing" will most likely be words you hear. And initially I would agree. The guitars have a somewhat dirty sound, the overall tempo is sluggish and the vocals consist of roars rather than singing. But something else is there. It's not instantly recognizable, while the first song is playing. In fact it's not evident until the second song "Vicarious Redemption" hits the eleven minute mark. That's the moment when you suddenly hear a hint of dubstep which is soon replaced by a lead guitar line that sticks with you instantly. This line is accompanied by a building up of sounds - several layers of guitars, some keyboards and then... the harmonies end again. But this moment marks the first point one can relate to, if new to this kind of sound.

The next instant moment is probably the song "In Awe of". Here the situation is different though. While not really different from the rest of the material, this one is an instant ear-catcher. The keyboards creating the base for the haunting atmosphere, again accompanied by aggressive vocals. But it seems more strucutred than previous songs. And what is this? A vocal melody around the 4 minute mark. The only one on the whole record.

If you managed to cope with the pressing nature of this record, you will soon come back for another round. And start to notice all those small melodies hidden in the layered guitars. You begin to realise that those riffs are quite catchy and that the missing verse-chorus-verse structure is actually what makes this kind of music interesting. Welcome to world of Post-Metal.

What sets Cult of Luna apart from others of their kind? They can write interesting song strucutres for a start. At least three songs on this record are outstanding (I: The Weapon, Vacarious Redemption, In Awe of), the rest is still pretty damn good. For me this was the best Post-Rock/Metal release of 2013, right behind Russian Circles.

And now I should start listening to their older records...

9/10

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