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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, 6 Feb 2013
This review is from: Vertikal (Audio CD)
So, 5 years have elapsed since Cult of Luna were writing and recording Eternal Kingdom, and now they have returned to the studio to dish out another 60 or so minutes of cathartic goodness.

'Vertikal' manages to carve out a new direction for the band in style and production, and yet retain their unmistakable brand of crushing post-metal, and it all comes off as effortless and natural as usual. The dystopian imagery and art that they have surrounded themselves with and cited as inspiration for the album is apparent after just a few seconds of intro 'The One', which brings to mind the brilliantly ominous intro 'Inside Fort Meade' from 2003's 'The Beyond'. [A decade ago already? I know.]

Dark synths then give way to a brutal and familiar wall of distortion and anger, which we have come to know and love down the years. 'I: The Weapon' is one of the strongest and instantly catchy tracks on the album, a true headbanger. We then again explore slightly new territory in sprawling 19 minute opus 'Vicarious Redemption', which does not outstay its welcome nor sound forced. If Alfred Hitchcock were alive today, I can imagine him enjoying the suspense here! Arguably the focal centrepoint of the record and also perhaps one of the finest songs they have ever written. A voyage.

There is time to catch your breath during interlude 'The Sweep', which comes and goes without offering much other than cementing the dark cold and sci-fi atmosphere. The sound of repetition and fear continues through the track 'Synchronicity', which carries a quite brilliant riff for seven minutes through subtle variations. The second half of this song in particular is a personal highlight: trademark chugging guitar riffage over careful and precise drumming, which is easily one of the catchiest sections of music they have written. The album continues going from strength to strength with 'Mute Departure' which is a lesson in dynamics. The stark theme of Vertikal perhaps calls for less moments of beauty than previous releases (particularly masterpiece 'Salvation') so it is most welcome here.

'Disharmonia' is a challenging and unsettling interlude that breaks up the second half of the record before 'In Awe Of' again demonstrates why this band are now deserving of their legendary status amongst underground metal fans. The album then draws to a close with 'Passing Through' which will wind you down and help you to come to terms with what you have just listened to.

It is too early to tell how well this stands up to their finest hour of 'Salvation', or indeed the incredible 'The Beyond', 'Eternal Kingdom' or 'Somewhere Along the Highway'.. but one thing is immediately clear. They have done it again. An agonising 5 year wait now seems completely worth it somehow. Thanks again CoL for showing everyone how it's done
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early contender for album of 2013., 25 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Vertikal (Audio CD)
I drove to Sheffield in dangerous snow to see this band and then failed to get back, as the driving conditions were too dangerous, getting stranded at a cheap hotel near Wakefield! Cult of Luna at their best and what particularly stands out here is that the synths have really been used to great effect, as well as the inclusion on more clean vocals to give a stronger emotional depth. Get this album!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars majestic, 4 April 2013
This review is from: Vertikal (limited edition) (Audio CD)
It took some time in coming, but worth every second of waiting. If you are already a convert, fear not and purchase as you will not be disappointed. If you have yet to explore the sounds made by these great musicians, this is as good a place as any to start and I can assure you the back catalogue will soon follow this into your collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising, 2 Mar 2013
By 
Lee Goudie (Belfast, Antrim United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Vertikal (Audio CD)
Best listened to in one sitting, Cult of Luna have returned with yet more goosebump inducing music.
I thought it would be hard for them to top their last but they have achieved that and then some.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 29 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Vertikal (limited edition) (Audio CD)
Is it post-rock or is it heavy metal? When is a carrot not a carrot? Is the new Cult of Luna album any good. Grumpyrocker Editor Harry answers at least one of these questions. Hopefully not just the one about the carrot.

It’s not really metal, I’ve seen written. It features many of the tropes of metal, but it isn’t metal. But if Cult of Luna’s epic – yes epic – new album Vertikal is not metal then Black Sabbath isn’t metal, and that means there never has been any metal. Suddenly the carrot isn’t a carrot and nothing makes sense.

Sorry. I have a banging headache. Coherence isn’t my strong point this morning. Can we start again? Wait a moment while I find some paracetamol.

Taking direct inspiration from sequences within Fritz Lang’s silent masterpiece Metropolis, Cult of Luna’s Vertikal offers the sprawling, beautiful, haunting soundscape of a dystopian future.

Not that you have to be familiar with Lang’s film to fully appreciate Cult of Luna’s achievement here. The brooding science fiction soundtrack – from moments so minimalistic that we have barely a sound to others of crushing doom riffing and screamed vocals – is an emotional journey of itself.

The synth work often recalls Vangelis’ wonderful Blade Runner soundtrack. But it’s the rhythm section that takes things to the next level. The importance of bass guitar in post-rock/metal can’t be underestimated and the low end rumble’s integration with the percussion gives Vertikal its momentum, preventing the the slower sequences from stopping any progress.

Joined by powerful guitar riffage and those very metal vocals we have an album that at times is quietly beautiful if unsettling and in parts throbbing with classic metal guitar. Cult of Luna’s great achievement in Vertikal is bringing all this work together into a cohesive whole.

The twin punch of I: The Weapon and Vicarious Redemption is one of the finest double acts you’ll find on a modern album. But the album is strong across the board. Like many ambient post-rock/metal albums you’ll find nods to the giants of the genre – Pink Floyd. But Vertikal isn’t a softly softly album, it retains that power and that anger you might expect from Roger Water’s finest moments, not the sleepier elegiac passages of Gilmour/Wright collaborations. Anger isn’t the only emotion featured within. The often brutal picture of the future painted by Vertikal is brought to a more human and emotional end by the final track Passing Through. A fine end to an excellent album.

2013 is already shaping up to be an excellent one for fans of progressive music. Cult of Luna has set the bar very high with Vertikal. The first essential album of the year.
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5.0 out of 5 stars gift purchase, 19 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Vertikal (limited edition) (Audio CD)
this was brought as a gift, it went down really well as he wasnt aware this edition was out there, it was listened to constantly for days
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Their best in a long time, 5 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Vertikal (limited edition) (Audio CD)
Still listening in the first couple of weeks, but already a clear improvement since Eternal Kingdom.
Might be their best ever...
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Vertikal (limited edition)
Vertikal (limited edition) by Cult of Luna (Audio CD - 2013)
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