A bloodstained murderer with a schizophrenic look on his face, waves his machete towards unsuspected bystanders ,as he runs the streets at night. He is set on a murderous, manhunting path that will not stop unless he is killed because his thirst for blood cannot be sated. If that was the intro scene for an 80s slasher film, then Vulture’s latest album, “Ghastly Waves & Battered Graves” would be the perfect soundtrack.
The second album of speed/thrash metallers Vulture was released on June by Metal Blade Records and it stays true to the recipe of destruction that was first conceived by bands like Exciter, Razor and the Teutonic German Thrash scene ( and just a tad of Exodus and Testament here and there). It is an avalanche of headbanging that sticks with you and doesn’t stop to excite your neck hurts to much to continue. But you keep at it despite the pain.
Not much has changed since the debut album The Guillotine in terms of stylistic approach of the recording. The band seems to be sticking with their standard delay effect laden barrage of riffs complimented by dual guitar solo intervals, which work perfectly as melodic infusions to the songs. However it is a double edged sword, since the production, while crystal clear, might not appeal to some people who are not used to the 80’s thrash aesthetics, but to each his own – fans of the previously mentioned bands can safely purchase the album that is one of the best, if not the best album of the year so far of the speed/thrash subgenre.
The lyrical theme of the album is of “good ol’” murder, violence and horror, and we must compliment Mr. Sleeler’s theatrical talent in bringing to life scenes of someone being “Fed to Sharks” or strangulation by “Garrotte”, he is perfectly capable of causing a persecution complex to even the most perfectly healthy listener. But then again, perfectly healthy listeners are not gonna listen to this album I suppose, it takes a certain level of mania (metal mania still counts) to fully understand it.
One attribute of Vulture that must be recognized is that they have mastered the art of writing some of the most engaging intros to their songs; sometimes it’s synthesizers like in “The Garrotte” , sometimes is creepy piano like in the “Stainless Glare” or no frills bombastic drums like in “Murderous Militia”, but every single leaves an aftertaste of steel and blood in the end. And the intro guitar leads and solos in “B.T.B” and “Dewer’s Hollow” are simply elevating the songs on a whole other level.
Highlights of the album include the intro song “Fed to Sharks” which has some of the greatest speed riffing interchanges I’ve heard in a long long time as well as “Beyond the Blade” (B.T.B) and “Stainless Glare” with the haunting horror-like feeling they provide. There isn’t a weak or an uninspired moment in the album, though I feel like it would have been great without the Thin Lizzy cover on “Killer on the Loose’,- the lyrical concept matches that of Vulture, but the overall vibe of the song feels like a stretch.
The verdict of the album is that it is one of the better releases of 2019, it’s an oasis in the barren speed/thrash field and feels like the Germans are advancing to become one of the most prominent bands of this musical style right now. And it seems there is only one way to go from here…
Favorite track: Fed to Sharks
Album rating: 80/100