Arts

The PepTides

Revenge of the Vinyl Cafe | Self-released

4 / 5

REVENGE OF THE Vinyl Cafe, from Ottawa’s own nine-piece outfit The PepTides, is an unusual album. What’s important to realize is that it isn’t really an album; it’s a soundtrack, written and recorded to coincide with each short story in Stuart McLean’s book of the same name. The diversity of each track means that The PepTides definitely succeeded in their attempt to make an effective and unique soundtrack.

Many of the songs are campy and unconventional, just as you’d expect of the stories in McLean’s book. Each song is able to evoke a specific mood, and they seem disjointed when placed next to each other. All the stories are self-contained, so it makes sense that the songs would be as well.

A particularly beautiful track is “Le Morte D’Arthur.” If you know anything about McLean’s short stories from his long running Tales of the Vinyl Cafe series, then you know Arthur is the beloved family dog. Even though the dog is fictional, “Le Morte D’Arthur” is a lovely send-off for the canine companion.
Overall, this album is an excellent complement to McLean’s work and is more than worth a listen.

—Brennan Bova

 

Cult of Luna

Vertikal | Century Media

4 / 5

AS LONG AS they have been a band, Sweden’s Cult of Luna has never received the recognition they deserve. Despite releasing memorable and atmospheric sludge metal albums in the form of 2004’s Salvation and 2005’s Somewhere Along the Highway, they have always been written off as a lesser version of groups like Isis and Neurosis. Now that the latter has split up and the former’s latest few albums haven’t been quite up to par, Cult of Luna can finally make their mark on the metal landscape with their latest offering, Vertikal.

The band was always unique for being more hardcore-leaning than their contemporaries, mostly thanks to vocalist Klas Rydberg’s powerful delivery. When they’re not pummelling the listener with their brand of sludge metal, they also manage to distinguish themselves with quiet, atmospheric sections, which on past releases have included the use of acoustic guitars and subtle electronics.

Vertikal sees the band implementing their electronic elements more than usual, as every track contains sound effects or lengthy introductions. The new approach tends to work well, with the haunting ambient introduction of the 18-minute “Vicarious Redemption” successfully creating a frightening atmosphere and ultimately resulting in one of their best songs ever.

Despite the good mix of atmosphere and heaviness, the song lengths can be a bit exhausting at times, especially considering they tend to follow a similar formula. Regardless, Vertikal is a good release by the band that manages to show off Cult of Luna’s strengths along with their weaknesses.

—Max Szyc