Cult Of Luna

Vertikal II EP

Written by: AP on 10/12/2013 23:11:18

Earlier this year, Cult of Luna released their sixth studio album "Vertikal", which, despite leaving a positive impression overall, left me somewhat ambivalent due to the inclusion of a number of odd and, in my opinion, misplaced songs. Those songs distracted my being wooed head-over-heels by the stunning mini-album of four songs nestled within: "I: The Weapon", "Mute Departure", "In Awe Of" and "Passing Through", and drove me to award the album a 'mere' 8/10. It turns out that Cult of Luna actually shaved off three of the songs originally written for "Vertikal" - a wise decision, in my humble opinion - and assembled them into an EP entitled "Vertikal II", released some nine months later.

The EP additionally contains a remixed version of "Vicarious Redemption", courtesy of Godflesh's Justin Broadrick, but its primary purpose is to leave the harsh and monotonous cityscape explored on "Vertikal" and direct the listener's gaze toward the "vast void above" through the lighter, loftier and more spaced out trio of previously unreleased tracks "Oro", "Light Chaser" and "Shun the Mask". Out of the three, just "Light Chaser", with its patiently developed suspense and gradual increase in volume, detail and texture, manages to form a truly lasting impression and would, were it not for the thematic disconnect, have made an excellent substitute for one of the less interesting tracks on "Vertikal". It is, if you will, the redemption; the escape from the cold and grey of that album, Anders Teglund's keys and samples in particular orchestrating a majestic, uplifting and cathartic atmosphere. "Shun the Mask" sounds every bit the insinuated entry into the mystery and vastness of space, but while it isn't a poor song by any stretch, it never gets as scintillating as its predecessor - it's slower, heavier and somewhat less arresting, despite eventually escalating into a triumphant finale.

When it was initially announced that "Vertikal II" would be a logical continuation of the album, it seemed to have all the potential to redeem the criticism I angled at "Vertikal" earlier this year: the EP might have been made of the same quality as approximately 70% of the album, and as such could have emerged as exactly the sort of compressed, no-nonsense piece of music that I felt "Vertikal" should have been. Alas, this is not the case, and despite the thematic continuity, "Vertikal II" is very much anonymous.


Download: Light Chaser, Shun the Mask
For the fans of: The Ocean, Pelican, Rosetta
Listen: Facebook

Release date 17.09.2013
Indie Recordings

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