Cult Of Luna - Vertikal

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In the world of post metal and drone based metal, Cult Of Luna are regarded as respected elders, revered by many. As a band who've been around for fifteen years, they know how to produce music both beautiful and tremendously heavy, and have outlasted many of their peers in the genre, including the legendary ISIS. Cult Of Luna's latest offering Vertikal arrived a couple of months ago, and despite the slight tardiness of the review, it is an album that would warrant bringing to the attention of our readers no matter when it was heard or discovered, even if it were years after the release. 

At times Vertikal is very minimalistic in its approach, but is all the more enjoyable a listening experience for it. Moments such as with the beginning of the opus that is Vicarious Redemption, an almost nineteen minute epic, use only a very simple beat with little accompanyment to brilliant effect. That's not to say the heavier moments are any less pleasant than their quieter counterparts. Particular highlights include "The Weapon", which manages to be simultaneousy utterly ferocious (mainly due to the vocal assault provided by Johannes Persson) and sonically hypnotic courtesy of the riffs and tones employed by the rest of the band. Any fan of this type of music will also find that the previously mentioned Vicarious Redemption makes twenty minutes feel like it has disappeared in the blink of an eye with its gradual build to the finale of punishing drums and growled vocals. 
Into the second half of the album, the mesmorising Synchronicity is another song where many listeners may find themselves hitting the repeat button to zone out with its trance inducing riffs. In Awe Of may strike a chord with Pelican fans in particular with the riff work, but the final word from the perspective of individual songs must be reserved for the album closing Passing Through.  It is a six minute mournful lamentation with a twist on the usual Cult Of Luna sound due to vocals being provided by guitarist Fredrik Kihlberg as opposed to Johannes Persson, but the song works fantastically well and will surely become a favourite with many. 
On previous albums this reviewer has found Cult Of Luna's sound a bit too raw or unbalanced for personal taste but this is not an accusation that could be made at Vertikal. On what is their sixth full length album their sound has arguably never been harnessed as potently as on Vertikal, which is an album brimming with creativity and wonderfully dark pieces of music. An absolute must for any post metal or drone fan.
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Lover of most things with a foundation of rock or metal. Totally bypassed the grunge movement and was introduced to metal by Metallica and the nu-metal revolution of the early 21st century. Extremely keen photographer (music and otherwise).