Cult Of Luna didn’t really have to do anything else for a while. Vertikal is already one of the best albums of the year, so they could have done the odd show, bathed in their due glory and then returned in a few years with another classic. That they’ve released an EP sequel to Vertikal that’s arguably stronger in just a few months is just rubbing it in.
Vertikal II consists of three new tracks and a remix of Vicarious Redemption by Justin Broadrick, and it shows just how forward-thinking the band have become. They’re still heavy, but it’s a more brooding, atmospheric approach. The first two tracks show pretty clearly the influence that bands like Mogwai have had on them, opting to build and take their time rather than pulverise, hymnal vocals and keyboards temporarily displacing the sludgy guitars of old, not that they’re gone completely.
The undeniable centerpiece, though, is Shun The Mask, which is everything fantastic about the band wrapped up in 13 spine-tingling minutes. Dark, melodic and completely self-assured, few can touch them right now.