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Cult Of Luna - Vertikal II review

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Band: Cult Of Luna
Album: Vertikal II
Release date: September 2013

01. O R O
02. Light Chaser
03. Shun The Mask
04. Vicarious Redemption [remix by Justin K. Broadrick] [CD bonus]

I must start off this review with a confession.

I'd never listened to Cult Of Luna before.

Yeah, I realize that a post-atmo-sludge band is pushing the envelope outside the box in my wheelhouse, but never bothered. Was too busy exploring elsewhere and perhaps somewhere deep down I feared the band would sound all too similar to many of the post-it notes I've been reviewing for the last several years. (And, truthfully, I've checked out some of their tunes during the course of this endeavor and it seems I wasn't terribly far off the mark? they were a primary influence on those I reviewed, after all.)

But Vertikal II was a revelation.

It's a long EP or short album, four tracks with over 30 minutes of music. And it seems a lot more Post-Atmo than anything metal.

For the most part it seems like they distilled the introspective, ambient, atmospheric elements and opted to create a rather chill-yet-slightly-creepy-at-times sonic expression.

"O R O", with minimalist developments, reverbed and slightly tense clean tones, echoing percussive noises and soft sung vocals give the feel of walking the city streets late at night, through alleyways in a shadier part of town. The walks home from the pub, when your "Spidey Sense" is constantly tingling. When the occasional and sudden bellowing and bludgeoning of strings takes place, it's the encounter you hoped avoid.

With simultaneous shimmering and industrio-tribal percussion, "Light Chaser" seems to connect with R'van's thoughts on the Metropolis theme of Vertikal. While the workers toil in the factories and machines below, the chosen party it up above in their penthouses. The discontent of the downtrodden seems to grow as the song goes on, gradually drowning out the above in their fury.

"Shun The Mask" carries along in a martial manner, with occasional drop out moments where everything goes mostly silent and one instrument takes lead for a few introspective bars.

The album closes with a remix of "Vicarious Redemption" courtesy of Justin (Godflesh, Jesu?and many more?) Broadrick. He trims it down from nearly 20 to just under 10 minutes and cuts the pain away. The remix has a decidedly more melancholic happy feel to it than the original. Even the outburst section seems muted. Jesu seems to contain a frail hope missing from the oppressive Godflesh, and Broadrick has succeeded in working some of the same sonic magic here.

So all in all, Vertikal II was a pretty good initiation into the Cult Of Luna.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 8

Written on 15.09.2013 by BitterCOld has been officially reviewing albums for MetalStorm since 2009.


Comments: 6   Visited by: 194 users
15.09.2013 - 03:12
Rating: 7

Surprised you haven't heard them before. Salvation and SAtH are must-listens! Great review.
15.09.2013 - 12:29

Funny, cause (in reference to your first paragraph) it is kind of the same for me. Except I listened to Salvation and Somewhere... a lot, but for some reason I never bothered to check Vertikal even though I fucking loved those two albums and everyone was raving about it. I don't get it why but I still don't feel the urge to do it.

I should though.
15.09.2013 - 15:49
Rating: 8
That album cover had me refreshing this page a few times This band is really excelling themselves with that industrious atmosphere in their music, has me completely convinced. As has your review, I need to listen to this one too.
15.09.2013 - 22:38
Velvet Thorns

I love Cult of luna for years, and JK Broadrick for many more, I'm really looking forward for this
restless oblivion forever
16.09.2013 - 00:27
I've only caught their videos from the past - "Leave", "Chapel Town"... sweet stuff for the eyes & ears, though not really my thing. Good review
death ? thrash ? death/doom/prog ? Hail Zoldon!

he's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays
20.09.2013 - 16:26
Rating: 7
Au Pays Natal
"I'd never listened to Cult Of Luna before".....


Holy shit Craig, I would have never guessed! Now let me pull myself back onto my chair...ok, better. Do you intend on checking out the rest of their discography?
Thanks for the review.

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