Review Summary: Cult Of Luna add to an already extensive catalogue in a convincingly consistent fashion with a trick or two up their collective sleeves.
Cult Of Luna’s sixth outing comes with little in the way of surprises but manages to triumph in its consistent approach to an already established sound in today’s music industry. Since the bands inception in 1998 there has been an array of line-up changes, shifting the band’s sound to focus on pushing everyday soundscapes and traditional workings of a post-rock/metal group into something more without displaying a contrived sense when writing music. Now down the track a fair bit and Cult Of Luna display much of the ingenuity shown matured and more consistent than ever on their sixth outing Vertikal
. But where Cult Of Luna step up they are regressing on a different level. The music, for the most part is instantly recognizable but at the same time Cult Of Luna allow the music to come across fresh, without repeating themselves too much.
First things listeners’ will notice is that the sound is unmistakably Cult Of Luna. Vertikal
dabbles in every facet shown in previous records and while not completely new or innovative by any means but here under the flag of Vertikal
, Cult Of Luna have indeed shaken things up. For as many similarities there are to be found when comparing this particular record to anything the band has produced in the last fifteen years, there are others; not always clear – but there all the same making this release a step above the last few releases of this established young talent ensuring that these guys can prevent themselves from falling into, too much of a rut. This nine track display idolizes distinct levels of contrast drawing the listener in. Take the longest track for example ‘Vicarious Redemption’ at a moderate eighteen minutes and fifty-one seconds uses a majority of minimalistic passages almost void of actual instrumentation, throw in a couple of electronic wobbling and ambient effects and this track alone becomes an exhausting, almost suffocating listen. This is before some simplistic down tuned riffs proceeded to be the headliner for the ever unchanging vocal talent of Klas Rydberg. This mid-tempo track is an excellent example of what the band has to offer. Although minimalistic in nature and not without a few bumps here and there ‘Vicarious Redemption’ has a bit of everything metal, rock, electronic and post alike.
It seems come 2013, Cult Of Luna are steadying up the routine, but not without creating an interesting listen. The bands itself has nowhere near run its course over the last fifteen years and with Vertikal
are only building steam. Despite being based conceptually in the records design, the appearance of any contextual grandeurs adds little to the albums overall reception. Whether the listener can take something away that connects at a primal level the story-line remains rather hear-say. It’s there but for the most part there is no need to care for it. Overall, Vertikal
makes as much from the listeners as the listeners make from the album. Coming in at just over an hour this display of creative talent crossed with a willingness to keep pushing (even if you’re not sure what you’re pushing for) makes for an enjoyable but far from mind-blowing listen. Using a combination of synths, screamed vocals and minimalistic soundscapes does not make for a stellar listen; rather the albums grabs, and then let’s go of the listener like a dog chasing a car – it might catch up but then what happens. Vertikal
holds as much interest as the previous records without conforming to the bands own rule book. For an album that can occasionally be a chore to get through the highlights do make up for it. If you’re a fan of their last few records this is something to check out and for those who are a little nonplussed about Cult Of Luna’s catalogue there’s a fair chance that this release isn’t going to change any minds.