CULT OF LUNA – ‘Vertikal’

cultoflunaCULT OF LUNA – ‘Vertikal’
When a band known for intricate and challenging records takes five years to release an album, you can be sure it will be something of an event and that’s exactly what Vertikal is, from Cult of Luna.  An awkward, moody and dark opus, inspired by the science fiction film Metropolis it challenges the listener right from the outset and proves the band has lost none of their power, or ability to surprise since 08’s Eternal Kingdom.  Opening with ‘The One’,  a vacuous spacey sound that could be lifted from any Sci-Fi soundtrack, setting the scene for an epic event to follow and the perfect pre-cursor to ‘I The Weapon’, which fuses hardcore vocals and buzzsaw guitar with atmospheric electronica.  While all Vertikal’s tracks have their merits, ‘Vicarious Redemption’ is the standout cut with moments of near silence that erupt into power laden, repetitive riffs and more weighty electronic scene setting.  The screaming electro lead of ‘Synchronicity’ provides an alternative to the behemoth guitar that straddles the album like a colossus.  ‘Mute Departure’ blends an outpouring of brutal anger that slowly unwinds itself into a more resigned loop and ‘In Awe Of” brings the sheer power of this band to entirely new depths of despair.  ‘Passing Through’ even sounds like Depeche Mode’s finest turned up to eleven, or even twelve; it’s all there in one of the deepest and most interesting albums in a long time.  You get the impression this might just be their meisterwork; the album they’ve always tried to create.  The stifling awkwardness and haunting air making for genuine unease and it will take time to appreciate the full depth and savour every element.  The Swedes may have taken a while with this one, but the real impact of Vertikal will be felt for years to come.  (9)
STRINGFELLOWE HAWKE

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