Best Metal Albums of 2013



7. Cult of Luna – Vertikal

January 25 on Indie Recordings
Umeå, Sweden

If you did what I did the first time you listened to Dark Side of the Moon – i.e., you put on hi-fi cushy earphones, hit the lights, got nice and comfy and proceeded to travel through space and time – I recommend you do the same for Cult of Luna’s Vertikal. I’m not comparing the two albums, mind you (come on, now – I’m not that drunk). What I’m saying is there’s a benefit that can be reaped with a close, attentive, immersive listen. The dramatic two-minute intro “The One” hints at bigger things to come, but it doesn’t prepare you for the bold assault of “I: The Weapon”, which clocks in at over nine minutes and dives deep, mid-paced, into the post-metal universe. Even though this thing should really be enjoyed front-to-back, check out the otherworldly “Vicarious Redemption” if you only have twenty minutes to spare. There’s some universal truth in there.

(I recommend that only hardcore obsessives delve into Vertikal II (released September 17), as it reeks of leftovers and really doesn’t stand up to the cream on Vertikal.)