Record label: Indie Recordings
An epic and dense vision of futuristic dissolution from Swedish metallers
The future is an undeniably frightening concept for any individual, even on the most base of levels. When coupled with the fear of a world so far elapsed into the fire and smoke of the ever present growth and expansion of industrialisation, it can seem an endlessly bleak notion. Swedish post- metallers Cult of Luna (no newcomers to the idea of darkness themselves) could have worked this out for themselves, but in the case of their 6th album “Vertikal”, it was Fritz Lang’s 1927 film “Metropolis” that spurred them on the path to record a concept album revolving around “machinery, repetition and clear, linear structures.”
Not that said inspiration had any detrimental effect on “Vertikal.” This album is a sprawling, heavily built and sometimes nightmarish vision of descent into a grey, mechanical future, best summed up the impressive array of styles on the 19- minute “Vicarious Redemption.” Its ritualistic 5 minute intro reeks of horror movie intensity. There’s even a wobbling dubstep- tinged excursion 11 minutes in, and the sad, clear cut beauty of the final 7 minutes is moving.
Things get even darker on the motoric, guttural grind of “Synchronicity” showing that the band can operate thrilling results on a ground level. Things soar back up again on penultimate track “In Awe of”, which sees rushes of soaring synths and dense riffage reach an epic pinnacle.
There are times, like on “I, the Weapon” where the band fails to reach the amount of impact they attempt, but for the most part “Vertikal” is a demolishing beast that is as determined in its path as the oncoming mechanical storm it seems to fear. A contradiction in terms perhaps, but one that upon listening to the album makes complete sense.
Key Tracks: Vicarious Redemption, In Awe of, Synchronicity
For Fans of: Neurosis, Isis, Opeth