In Awe Of
Cult of Luna is Sweden's answer to the peak-valley axis of post-metal: i.e., brutal but brainy bands like Neurosis and Isis. The band broadens its palette on Vertikal, a concept album that covers the same man-vs.-machine ground as Fritz Lang's seminal silent film Metropolis. That's the idea, at least; if you were to play these prickly, synth-laced songs over the film, it'd seem less of a meditation on an uncertain future than an expressionist horror flick featuring bloodthirsty robots, a masochistic ruling class, and steam-powered killing machines. Good luck gleaning anything from Cult of Luna's lyrics, though. While frontman Johannes Persson sings in English rather than Swedish, his venomous vocals could still use subtitles. That way you'd be able to sing alongside uplifting lines like "I can't move, can't turn back/Out of reach, my heart is black." Not that it matters; like the movie it's partially inspired by, Vertikal is all about establishing and maintaining a mood, which this does right down to the final muffled notes of "Passing Through."