Cult of Luna – Vertikal (Indie Recordings)

The “post” in post metal… How subtle changes can change everything.
Release Date: 
24 Jan 2013 - 11:30pm

Sometimes a band (mainly those who become succesful, I've been told) struggles to breed something new, I mean really new without compromising their main structure, without changing everything, so the fans would get in a choleric rage against them and only then, when everything is said and done, they fold, or return to their old “style”. And, as I heard in a movie I saw yesterday: “Style, my dear, is mere self-plagiarism.”

This would appear to be the case all the more when the band loses its previous vocalist - that  would cause rioting in the streets!

Fortunately this isn’t the case on Vertikal, so the fan base (whether die-hards or not) wlll be relieved to know that Cult of Luna made just some adjustments on Vertikal, but not real changes.

All the structure was left intact: There's more than 60 minutes of music here, long tracks (one of them just clocks in at 19:00 minutes) of doomish to progressive metal and so on and so on.

But they left behind a lot of heavy burden of the “self plagiarism”, like that irritating label that sticks to bands, in this case “post hardcore/sludge”. They prove that one doesn’t have to follow a formulaic American way of resonation to sound “doom” or whatever. The production is in-the-face, it’s heavy without compromising the original outline of the ensemble.

And perhaps the more important thing: where long songs on albums like the classic Somewhere Along the Highway or their previous full length Eternal Kingdom sounded unnecessary, here they have an utter significance and symbolism. Every inch of sound is important to create the mosaic which constitutes Vertikal. E.G. in the aforementioned 19 minute track named Vicious Redemption, every single note add heaps to the whole, as the progression goes on and on. 

There are other snail paced pieces like Mute Departure, but they are so good that you don’t want them to end and paradoxically the album seems to go much faster to it’s end, such is the myriad of new ideas that keeps flowing on and on, as they walk to and fro between the thick and wintery soundscapes. 

It would have been easy to sit on their laurels and enjoy the fame, but it’s hard to take a break of 5 years and return more relevant than ever. 

Furthermore this is a tour de force of a band that is far away from their crepuscule and it’s getting to a new level of productivity, sometimes imperceptible, where even fans won’t notice it. That’s what I call progression and evolution. Vertikal is exactly where they set themselves free from any labels.