The previously released, critically acclaimed 'Vertikal' and 'Vertikal II' are now gathered in a digital sampler, also including the bonus track from the limited edition 'Vertikal'.
The version of 'Vertikal' that was up on Spotify was not the album version but the individual songs, one by one without the right transitions. Cult Of Luna couldn't just replace the songs with new files so they decided to upload a new album version for the whole 'Vertikal' session called 'Verikal I & II'. So now you can listen through all the fourteen tracks in a single listen, if you have about a hundred and eight minutes to spare.
Boxing them together certainly does make sense as 'Vertikal II' is very much a companion release to 'Vertikal' and the shorter of the two releases. 'Vertikal' was originally released in 2012, five years after their previous offering, the concept album 'Eternal Kingdom'. It was two years in the making and in many respects marked a new chapter for the band.
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Their line-up was trimmed down to seven members after the departure of former vocalist Klas Rydberg and the vocal duties have been covered by guitarists Johannes Persson and Fredrik Kihlberg. The inspiration for the album comes from the Fritz Lang 1927 sci–fi movie Metropolis.
The time care and effort that was taken to create' Vertikal' is very evident, a tight cohesive sound, that is a blend of beautiful soundscapes, crushing guitars and brutal vocals all culminating in nine breathtaking tracks distilled throughout with themes of a mechanical nature, repetition and clear, linear structures, based on the imagery of the previously mentioned film, brooding and boiling in true Cult Of Luna style without being over complex and the whole album, a mood and thought creating endeavour of epic proportions.
Eight months later they returned with 'Vertikal II', just four tracks but continuing the theme of machinery, repetition and clear, linear structures honed to the visual imagery, once again, of Fritz Lang's classic expressionist science-fiction film 'Metropolis'.
This shorter companion album to 'Vertikal' also contains a version of 'Vicarious Redemption' this time remixed by Justin Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu). 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 and now it has more of a beautifully atmospheric and melancholic feel to it and a slightly cleaner sound than the original and with the Spotify sampler you get the opportunity to compare the two versions.
'Vertikal I & II' is sludgy doom laden progressive Metal with a touch of finesse, another masterpiece from the atmospheric progressive Metal septet from Umeå. However, personally I think the albums are that good; I prefer to own the hard copy.