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'Vertikal II'
(Indie Recordings)

jools green

Jools Green

cult of luna

In January 2013, Cult Of Luna released 'Vertikal', five years after their last offering, the concept album, 'Eternal Kingdom'. Now just eight months later they return with 'Vertikal II'.

As 'Vertikal' marked the beginning a new chapter for the band, with the trimmed down line up of seven members and vocal duties being covered by guitarists Johannes Persson and Fredrik Kihlberg, 'Vertikal II' now almost seems to mark the end of that era.

It is once again distilled throughout with themes of machinery, repetition and clear, linear structures honed to the visual imagery of Fritz Lang's classic expressionist science-fiction film 'Metropolis', brooding and boiling for a second time in true Cult Of Luna style as always without being over complex.

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It also seems to be more of a companion, a conclusion EP, as well as being another mood and thought creating endeavour and this time around there are three new tracks and a shorter remix of 'Vicarious Redemption' from 'Vertikal'.

The album opens with 'Oro', a beautiful atmospheric piece with pulsating electronics that build with the gradual layering of guitars, then clean vocals, with more harsh tortuous vocals in the latter part. 'Light Chaser' has hypnotic pulsating rhythms that build and are overlaid with harsh vocals, an interesting track that is dense and smothering but at the same time has an effervescent quality.

The longest track of this release at twelve minutes, giving ample time to build and develop, the darkly psychedelic 'Shun The Mask' has distorted waves of sound that wash over you repeatedly, heralding the arrival of the pounding drum rhythms that build in intensity and the harsh agonising vocals, a track with a beautiful yet tortuous quality to its construct. The drum work across the track plays a very prominent role particularly in the intense sections of the track and is executed to precision and there is also a hauntingly beautiful mellow section midway breaking up the intensity.

cult of luna

Then original version of 'Vicarious Redemption' was an absolute marathon at a mighty nineteen minutes long. Here it has been trimmed and remixed down to half that length by Justin Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu) This time it's not quite as desolate or darkly haunting, the original opener which had the suggestion of an almost bleak, barren and unnatural landscape is gone so now it has more of a beautifully atmospheric and melancholic feel to it and a slightly cleaner sound than the original. Once again there are no vocals until midway and Justin has kept the same strong distortion on them, as with the original version.

It is very difficult to choose a favourite track because they are all excellent and coexist with each other so closely. If you have 'Vertical' in your collection you must have 'Vertical II', the perfect companion.

I was absolutely entranced with 'Vertical' and I am equally so with' Vertical II'. This is another masterpiece from the atmospheric progressive Metal septet from Umeå.

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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